Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sir Galonors Writes to His Sister

To the Lady Guinerant at Woodford Manor, in Salisbury, be this letter take.

In the year of our lord Jesus Chrystos, five-hundredd and thyrty-fyve.

My dearest sister I brynge greetynges from Camelot and have a tale of wonderment to relayte. Whilst were I servinge the court as Justicier, our glourious Kinge Arthur, Rex Imperator of Britain, France, and Roma, didst call all His Nobles to council to beare witness to the comynge of the Kyng of Overthere and his Retynue. My sister never wouldst you have imagined such a hoste! All wert dressed in the finest Samite of colours gay and becrusted wyth jewels of manye hues. Even the courtiers of the Holy City of Roma, when I wert there in convelescence, did not dress as fyne.

I also brynge straynge and wondrous news of grayte importe. You, my dearest sister, who art in my confydence and who knowest all my secrets, shall alone in our family know that I didst see she whomst I met long ago, before ere I met my dearlye departed wyf Allys of Burcombe. Yes, with the Hoste of the Kyng of Overthere was the Lady Eleanor le Fey, of the Citye of Glass, in the Kyngdom of Listeneisse. Apparentlye she is of a howse that is vassel unto the Kyng of Overthere and she didst come in train with the ladyes therein. I had discourse wyth the faire Lady Eleanor le Fey and she didst ask me to follow her unto her own land. To be sure, my dearest sister, I had grayte intention and desire to leave wyth her, but my obligayshuns to my lord, Sir Robert, and to you, my family, were too grayte. Thus, it is my goal to fynde my lady faire and bring her unto Woodford to be my wyf. Even now I am off on adventure with a goodlye companye of knights on behalfe of a vassel of the Kyng of Overthere. I am hopeful that the successful completshun of this quest will brynge me closer to Lady Eleanor le Fey.

I hope this letter fynds you, our brother Owen, and our sisters three in goodly health, and more oft I pray that the wet nurses for my children Allyn and Henia give goodly suck. Know also that I am ever in search for a goode husband for you, and know that your paytience shall be rewarded thricefold.

God make thee a goode woman and keep to the tendyngs of Woodford.

Always your


Saturday, January 20, 2007

536: Homecoming

Monroe laments

Home at last! Back to the world of men and steel and deeds of derring-do...and divorce.

After my lord Arthur's feast, where I was finally able to leave the retinue of the Faerie King for my own people, my father told me of all that had passed in the ten long years I was gone...though to me it seemed not quite a fortnight since I went from here to there...

Father finished the castle at Portchester and started on another at the King's request...during a campaign where our Lord Arthur became Emperor of Rome, Arthur had the good sense to promote Father to the Round Table...Leodigrance the Lesser, stalwart of Salisbury (and now its Marshall), killed two of the three sons of Ulfius, praise be!...the Count of Winchester's long-standing debt to Father was also settled when King Arthur made Father Count of Silchester; Father has been working prodigously to get the Silchester knights up to speed, as they were a sorry lot when he took over...I have three new nieces and nephews, my Aunt Linnabel wed, my cousins Clarian and Caius both wed fine noblewomen...my grandmother died of the grippe...cousin Alinor prospers in Amesbury...and I have three new sisters and a brother: Oriana, Ersilla, Prudence, and Darinel whom I am sure will make a fine knight when his day comes. Lancrius and Clarian, who call Mortimer Father, were knighted by Arthur and have left Durnford for a life adventurous; may they find it outside Salisbury!

The last bit of news Father imparted to me I took sore hard: my lady Elaine, the mother of my lovely daughter Rosemeade, had me declared dead by Arthur's Justicier and took her manors to marry another knight! Sir Pergamore is a decent-enough fellow, and I hold no grudge against him, but Elaine, well! Constancy certainly is not her strong suit if she could not wait even ten years for my return. I rode post-haste to Upavon, lately my home, and collected Rosemeade and Zenobia back to Durnford and prepared to settle in as a household knight in service to my father, as my lord Arthur had reassigned his gift to me to another worthy knight. No grudge there, either, though it will be sore difficult to raise two tender daughters in the hubbub of a manor as a household knight...but Arthur, seeing that his judgement regarding my fate had been premature, told me to ride north and take over the management of a manor in Lonazep, a charming little place by name of Werrington. After a few weeks of visiting our family in Salisbury, we rode north and settled in.

Friday, January 19, 2007

535: Reunions

Earl Mortimer says

Back in the day, when we young bucks roamed Logres and fought only the Saxons and each other, we traveled with a squire. Even Sir Ebble kept fewer than five servants. Very small groups.

This spring, as I rode to Camelot for Pentecost court, I traveled with Buford (my squire these past ten years); my sons, Lancrius, Clarian, Elliott, and Darinel; my wife, Lady Betty, and her five ladies-in-waiting and my dear daughters, Anabel and her husband Sir Roderick, Oriana and little Ersilla and her wet-nurse, and my ward Lady Brandimante; my cousin and chief steward of my Salisbury lands Sir Caius, and his staff of nine; my Silchester chief steward, Sir Gasabal, his personal staff; and all the assorted butlers, chamberlains, castellans, foresters, cup bearers, not to mention all the dog-boys, mews-men, pavillion-hoisters, groomsmen...we numbered almost one hundred souls as we rode through those splendid stone gates.

I barely know everyone's name!

But once all the ladies gathered under the queen's care, and the servants got to work, it was just the knights of the realm left to socialize and enjoy the company of the martially-minded. Ah! And those of us whose habit is to not search for the bottom of every mead-horn and pint-mug noticed the absence of the Duke of Clarence. Troubling. But before we could discern just how much trouble that duke may be, a most unusual host arrived at court: King Today, who many say is lord of the faerie-folk. If you had asked me yesterday I would've scoffed at such tales (despite the source of many of them being my dear, departed brother-in-law Sir Trently and his tales of fighting demons in the service of the Fisher King, pshw). But today...imagine the shock in the hall as the men and women in Arthur's court began to recognize the faces of long-lost family members and lovers from their youth, riding in King Today's train!

Sharp-eyed Elliott, the dear boy, spotted my brother Lancrrius, missing these dozen years; Sir Uren the Timely and his unearthly wife Lady Ga; and Monroe. My son, my son! Had you been imprisoned in the underworld almost ten years? If I had known I would have come got you!

As soon as King Today had greeted my lord Arthur, his retinue dispersed through the court, and I was finally able to hold my child again.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sir Galonors Write to His Brother

To Sir Dafyd ap Henias, in Guinnon, be this letter take in all hayste.

Be noted that it is the Year of Our Moste Graycious Lord, Jesu Christus, 534.

My moste noble brother, in this letter find grayte sorrow in the news of the untimely death of my wyf, Allys of Burcombe, who in byrthing did die. The childe, a son, wert born in good health, and he shall hight Allyn ap Galonors, in due honor of Allys who art in Heaven with Jesu and the Ayngels.

I am in hayste to dictate this note to this here scrybe, for I am to be inducted to serve as Justiciar in the Court of Kyng Arthyr, Imperator Rex of All Britain, France, and Italy. It is a grayte honor, but one tempered by the loss of my dearly devoted spowse.

I look to our meetynge again soon, and prey for my health, for our brother Owen's health, and for the health of our sister's four. Also give spaycial prayer to my children, Allyn and Henia, who art in grayte innocence.

With brotherly admyraytion,

Your brother,


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

534: Adventure of Love's Labors

Sir Clydno, Chevalier du Doight
Sir Clarian (Suzanne)
Sir Brevis of the Dike (Fergie)
Sir Blois (Aaron)

I have spent another two years in service to my dear brother, the Count. He relies on my leadership so much to help him run the domain that I scarce have time for adventuring. Indeed, I sometimes yearn for such, but duty calls. I spent the summer escorting the Lady Clina, my niece, to nearby counties for her personal business. At least I had opportunity to attend a small tournament in Wuerensis. But I had no time to attend the tournaments in Salisbury, celebrating the new castle and Sir Leodegrance’s promotion to Marshall there; nor in Silchester, celebrating the promotion of Sir Mortimer to earl of that land; nor was I part of the escort to the new wife of the King of France. I don’t begrudge the duties of being left behind, to help in the daily affairs. Earl Charles, of course, attended all those things while the lands were overseen by my niece, Lady Clina, when my brother is gone.

Winter was upon us before I had even missed the season for adventure. I was glad to be released for the season to travel to Camelot to prepare for my brother’s attendance at court there. It is one of the duties I perform regularly for him.

I was upon the road, travelling through neighboring Salisbury. I went with three others, Sirs Clarian and Brevis of Salisbury, and Blois, from Aquitaine.

Sir Clarian is one of many sons of Sir Mortimer, the new Earl. He’s got a large family, and Sir Clarian is one of them. He is not a big man, nor terribly healthy in appearance, and hampered by a deformity of his foot. In truth, his paternity is of open question since he was born while the count (then but a knight) was a knight prisoner for years—but since the Earl makes no truck of it, neither do I. Sir Brevis, another knight of Salisbury, is a cousin of the great Sir Leodegrance. Sir Blois a foreigner, from Ganis in Aquitaine, Lancelot’s land. All are new knights and so I regaled them with tales of my own adventures in distant Anglia.

Upon the road we met a strange woman upon a white horse with red ears. It did not exhale frosty breath like we and our steeds did. She announced herself as Dame Adventure and asked if we would follow her. Of course we did! She brought us to a fountain which was, we were told, in Estregales. Far, far from Salisbury where we'd been just scant hours before! Three dames awaited, one young, one middle aged, and one old. Each offered us adventure, and we chose to go with the eldest, for it seemed to offer the most adventure.

She too had a strange steed. After this I will always be wary of white steeds with red ears, or tail, or spots upon its hide. We were brought to a castle where reigned Sir Garhaus, an unmannerly fellow with a most comely daughter, named Cleayne. The old dame told us we needed to help the daughter to join with her lover, Sir Rowan. We sat among the soldiers to eat.

Two of us, Sir Blois and I, decided to bear the message to Sir Rowan, while the other two would help the lady sneak out of the castle to meet him. She gave us a note to deliver. We left first, and achieved a difficult ride through a snowy field of treacherous weeds, and when Sir Rowan received the note he was elated and invited us to sip wine with him. It was from Aquitaine, and Sir Blois told me many interesting things as we sat, awaiting the arrival of the lady and the completion of our task. Alas, she did not come in time, and so we hastily set off to the castle again. The field was, as I said, treacherous, and we both suffered badly from the wicked weeds that lashed us and poisoned us with their thorns and stems. When we arrived the drawbridge was lowering, and we saw in the court our companions lieing upon the ground, obviously defeated by the monstrous ogre whose wounds showed the results of out companions’ combat. We lowered our lances and charged in, slaying the creature handily, and turned to face the men at arms there. But no further fight followed. Instead, the residents of the castle all cheered us for freeing them from their ogre overlord.

We then escorted the lady Cleayne to her lover, and we saw them to a magnificent structure erected by giants of old that was called “The Chapel of Love in the Wilderness.” The elderly dame congratulated us, and told us we’d completed the Adventure of the Nursely Burden, for she had been nurse to the Lady Cleayne.

Next day we returned to the fount, and there we accepted the challenge of the middle dame. Following her upon yet another strange horse, we went to a castle where the lady’s heart had been frozen in sorrow. We were challenged to thaw it with deeds of romance and love, not to win her, just to remind her of the wonders she could know once again. No combat here! These were a series of challenges of courtly skills of the type most loved by lovers. I felt haunted by the stories and fantasies of my dear niece, who was raised in Guenever’s court and is fascinated with romance and its trappings. Indeed, though, it was difficult for none of use were lovers. Better we had been asked to fight! We spent days there, trying unsuccessfully to thaw the lady’s heart. Some days I might sing well, but not play the harp. Another I could fly the falcon, but not compose. But at last Sir Brevis proved his devotion and performed all the necessary deeds. The lady was pleased, and indeed, so was Sir Brevis, for afterwards he professed he’d acquired some attraction to her. He told us he plans to court her. That was the Adventure of Womanly Virtue.

We returned to the fountain again. There was only the youngest lady to offer us challenge. She took us to a thicket, within which a lady was being held prisoner by the Knight of the Hare. We were astonished to discover it was our friend Lady Cleayne! The knight was a surly fellow and told us he was keeping this lady and that that he would have his way with her when he wished. Unmannerly fellow! She was most unhappy. He challenged us to combat, or to be gone. After so much frustration in courtly things, I readily accepted, for this was something I knew and felt I could accomplish.

We lowered lances and charged, and though I am skilled at it, he was better. And though unhorsed and wounded, I challenged him to combat by sword, which he honorably accepted. I fought well and hurt him some, but he hurt me more and I passed out from my wounds. I’m sure that if I had not suffered already from wounds in the wicked field of weeds I would have prevailed. Sir Brevis, like most of his kin, is a great fixer of wounds and after a time I was conscious again. But defeated, I could only watch as my fellows fought in their turn.

This Knight of the Hare proved to be more than formidable. He slew Sir Blois! Alas, just shortly before we had been sipping wine by the campfire and discussed knightly things. No more. Then he nearly slew Sir Brevis as well! I despaired for the fate of Lady Cleayne, for it left only the sickly Sir Clarian to defend her. Well, God must love him, for the fight was fierce, but after ten or twelve passes with lance he at last struck a timely blow and laid that wicked knight low. I supplied aid to his wounds, for he’d been honorable to me. We asked what the Lady wished to do with the defeated, unconscious knight, and though she was undecided, Sir Clarian was not. No mercy from him! He struck the dastard’s head off. Shortly thereafter he declared his love for Lady Cleayne, even though we all knew he had a rival in Sir Rowan (whose absence was conspicuous). This had been, we were told, the Adventure of Youthful Folly.

We brought her back to the fountain with us, and there we saw Dame Adventure once more. She congratulated us, and within a few steps had us once again back on the road to Camelot, where we had first met her. We went on to Camelot, and though my good brother was angry that I had not prepared the way for him, he nonetheless when King Arthur told him to be calm, and gave praise to me and my companions for our adventures. We spent the winter telling and retelling these stories. In no time people dubbed us the “Knights of Love’s Labor,” and I myself spent many hours telling and retelling our story for the lasses of the court. The High King was pleased, the Queen herself made us tell it to her ladies, my niece was pleased and lavished words of praise upon me, and most importantly even my dear brother was kind and said I did well.

Became notable in Generous and Love (Family)

Adventure Glory 80

Annual Glory 142

Daughter born, sickly

Skill Increase: 1 point to Spear Expertise (now 19)

534: Adventures of the Left Behind

Meet Sir Clarian

I think you know my brothers, Sir Monroe and Sir Lancruis. I'm sure you've heard of Earl Mortimer, Castellan of Portchester and my dad. Father took me to winter court at Camelot, and now I am a knight! I was so excited, especially since I got to go to two tournaments right away: Leo's tourney of roses, and father's tourney of justice. But father did not let me sail to the Continent for our Queen's cousin's wedding there, though my brother Lancrius got to. So very disappointing, that!

Looking for adventure, cousin Brevis of the Dyke and I hooked up with the Knight of the Finger, who also did not go to France, along with a knight with a heavy accent. I believe his name was Blois. Since everybody of note was away at the tournament, we offered the lady our help. She took us to meet the three damosels of the fountain: a maid, a comely woman, and a grandmotherly type. So, not just one lady to rescue, but three!

The first damosel in distress was the young maid Cliane and her lover, Sir Rowan, kept apart by her ogreish father, Sir Garhaus of Estragales. [We never did figure out how we got from Salisbury to Estragales and back. None of us is much up on Geography, anyway.] With the help of Cliane's nurse, we devised a plan: Clydno and Blois rode to Sir Rowan to arrange a tryst while Brevis and I were to spirit Cliane and her nurse out of the castle and to the rendezvous.

I foolishly said aloud, "Is this the secret way out of the castle" [sometimes I do that] and before Brevis and I knew it, the four of us were surrounded by Sir Garhaus and a score of spearmen. With the women safely behind us, we fell to it, hacking and slashing ferociously at the now-quite-literally ogreish Sir Garhaus. We battered away for what seemed like hours, eons, and, while in the courtyard just inside the gate, we almost had him at our mercy when Clydno and Blois rode through the gate with lances lowered. That was the end of Sir Garhaus and any objection to the lover's tryst. After Brevis and I got a little first aid, we rode off to the Chapel of Love in the Wilderness. If I ever get married I want to get married there; it was quite lovely.

We then went in search of Sir Garhaus's sister, the Baroness Griane, whose husband had died for Arthur at Badon and had since that day locked her heart away in a strong stone tower of despair and loneliness. Or so we were told. I'm sure the lady's husband did die at Badon, but jeez, that was sixteen years ago. How great a husband could he have been, anyway? Neither am I sure how great a wife she was, because her interest in us extended only to torturing us with pointless games of romance such as in fashion among the ladies of court these days. Oh, you should hear my old man argue with my mother about it! After meeting the Baroness, I can see his point. We spent a looooong time trying to "woo" her with our bad poetry, singing, oration, composition. Good old Brevis finally pulled out a win for us, and we were allowed to go on our way with the lady's thanks. Ugh.

More to our liking was, when we returned to the damosels of the fountain, they told us that the maid Cliane had run into further difficulties. Say no more! Off we go. A renown cur going by the appelation Knight of the Hare had kidnapped Cliane, and challenged us to one-on-one jousting in order to save her from having to skin and cook the knight's rabbits over a campfire. Can you imagine those little white hands covered in blood and soot? No way.

Clydno jousted him first, and went down. Sir Blois was next and he, too, went down, but did not get up after being knocked off his horse. Dead! Poor man. I was next and, I'm not to ashamed to admit, a bit scared at the prospect of ending up dead at the hands of the Knight of the Hare, but God was with me and I bested him. I'm not particularly forgiving or vengeful, merciful or cruel, but standing over the prone form of my opponent, looking over at the body of my unintelligible companion, I made a move toward cruelty that day and cut off his head!

I then had the great pleasure of escorting most dear Cliane back home, seeing the look of radiant worship in her eyes when they turned toward me, before riding back with my two companions to Camelot.

I wonder how one normally gets to Estragales from Salisbury?

Best lines of the night:

"Can we combine our damage?" [Brevis and Clarian together do 6d6 damage with a sword...when we manage to hit.]

"Wow...if the Knights of the Finger, the Dyke, and the Hare got together, it could be quite a party."

"And this is why we weren't invited to the wedding."

"I'm glad I'm dead."

Friday, January 05, 2007

534: Tournament Triple Threat!

[Greg just posted his notes on last year's Court of Love. They display below this post, so don't miss it!—Suzanne]

[Here're some links to large file-size jpgs of the cover/contents of Greg's Advanced Character Generation and Player's Book of Winter Options so you all can be totally jealous of us.—Suzanne]

[Players Book of Winter OptionsAdvanced Character Gen coverAdvanced Character Gen contents page]

Mortimer says

The winter's hard work paid off as, despite the cold and wet weather, I paid a call to all the manor-holders in Silchester-county. Scribes and priests may argue otherwise, but speaking to a man face to face is the best (and only) way to judge his character, and for him to judge yours. I encouraged the less-desirable and/or intractable into other duties, even errantry in a few cases, and moved the more promising of the Silchester lot into positions of authority. On the whole, I'm feeling better about these Silchester men, and after last year's bountiful harvest I believe the feeling may be mutual.

After winter court in Camelot, dear Sir Leodigrance started the year off with a bang, holding a tournament at Sarum, on the grounds outside the newly-built castle inside the old motte-and-bailey. I must say, I'm really happy with the way it turned out! This is now the second square-built keep I've constructed, and it showed. The countess and her court were pleased as punch when they saw the gardens I had constructed outside their second-story quarters. My lady Queen Guenivere helped with the arrangement of plants and birds, and the effect was quite pleasing.

Leo and Lady Raeburgh titled their tourney the Tournament of Roses. Since Sir Ywain was still in the area, he attended and ran away with the joust but, surprise surprise! young Sir Galonors defeated all and sundry in the melee. Sir Leodigrance, with a nod to Sir Ywain, awarded the tournament championship to Galonors, a valiant (and home-grown) knight.

As promised, I too held a party to celebrate my change in fortunes, though Lady Betty nixed my idea of the party in the old jail. Instead we held one of these new-fangled tournaments outside Silchester-town, dubbed the Tournament of Justice; again, Lady Betty's idea. I'd wanted to call it the Tournament of Ransom Finally Paid. Quite a few of my Round Table companions attended, much to my delight—the courtiers that followed on their spurred heels less so. Oh, the rules and protocol they imposed! I just sat there, smiling and waving. Sir Griflet handily won the melee, while (surprise!) King Anguish won the joust and was declared overall champion of the tournament. He seemed mightily pleased, which should make him even more disposed towards our Emperor, King Arthur.

Young, wan Sir Galonors surprised us all with his stunning victory in the "tournament of justice" event we staged midway through the almost-weeklong event. Later, after the battle of law was over and Galonors declared the winner, the man he defeated, Arthur's chief justicier, pulled me aside to inquire about young Galonors. Us greybeards have admired his sharp wit for years now, and I told the justicier as much. I admit I heavily tinged my admiration with affection for the man who so sweetly revenged us against Sir Turquine. We shall have to put a good word in the king's ear to find that goodly knight an appropriate wife as, my dear lady tells me, Galonors wife died in childbirth this year past. Such a shame, but we hear the child yet lives.

Later in the year we accompanied Lady Elizabell, the queen's cousin, to her wedding to one of the innumerable kings of Paris, a King Childebert. There was, of course, a tournament following the wedding feast. I feel sorry for Elizabell, watching those Parisian "knights" gorge and leer in their most-disorderly hall. At one point during the feast a pair of knights proceeded to "dance" upon the tables amid uproarious French laughter! Sigh. She will have her hands full with that one.

I would like to hurry back to Silchester, but Lady Betty and the children would like to see more of the Continent. We shall see.

Lancrius chimes in

Well, the year got off to an inauspicious start: a trio of tournaments, and yours truly barely out of rags and wearing banged-up, borrowed armor. Old borrowed armor. Reginald did a bang-up job, but it's still clear that Pansy's harness is cobbled together from scraps and spare parts.

We look awful.

I'm still upset that Earl Robert pretty much shrugged his shoulders and as much said "Oh well!" when I came back to court for the winter with only my charger and the shirt on my back—not even a saddle! And after killing a giant, too. Jeez, what's a knight gotta do around here? Some of the other knights in the hall gave me last year's clothes and a spare sumpter, which Reginald must ride perched atop our very small bundle of goods. I don't know where I'm going to get the six librum to pay back Cynfyn...especially since all these celebratory tournaments were for glory and not for goods. Galonors did surpassingly well at the tourneys Sir Leo and father held, though I lost track of his performance once we all took ship to France for a wedding tournament in Paris, because...

Get this! During the festivities Galonors spotted Ufo among the crowd of French knights! (You know, Ufo! One of Ulfius's sons.) Leo and I insisted he point him out to us, and after much hemming and hawing over dinner he did. And damn, there he was, unibrow and all. Well, Leo and I took off after him straightaway, but because of the great crowd in the hall we took to the table tops in our pursuit. We cleared six tables before taking a spill, though in the hall the French kings keep, no one really noticed. But we lost sight of Ufo.

The next day we posted a challenge to the scoundrel, and in the long afternoon light he finally showed at the head of his pathetic retinue. Oh, Leo was hopping mad! They took to the field after a minimum of hard words and gestures, each enraged at the sight of the other. It's been ten years since Leo disrespected Ulo, but it could have well been that morning by the hatred radiating out of Ufo's helm. I was worried that Leo might not be up to a fight to the death, but that wily old campaigner struck a skillful blow with his lance and laid Ufo right out on the dirt. Leo paused over Ufo's prostrate form, though it was clear he wasn't yet dead as a young woman tended him through her tears. It took some harsh words on my part before Leo took his sword and separated Ufo's head from his shoulders. All the Salisbury knights then hoisted Leo onto their shoulders and paraded him around the tourney grounds, cheering. Two down, one to go!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?