Thursday, July 26, 2007
565: This is The End
Sir Monroe checks in
The four of us—Sir Bradwyn, Sir Cynfyn, my brother and I—were in high spirits as we rode off from the Duke de la ROUSse's manor. We joked that Cynfyn should perhaps add tiny mouse-ears alongside the bull horns adorning his shield or, if that was too confusing, perhaps affix the ears to his helm...we took a bend in the path and it seemed to me and the others that we were in Camelot-wood in the southern reaches of Salisbury, not Anglia. Before we could become overly concerned our attention was taken up with a large body of riders overtaking us on the road east. Brother suggested getting OFF the road, but that most upright and respectible of knights Sir Bradwyn, son of the Great Duke, would have none of that and instead hailed the group as they came within earshot.
The riders halted and we were hailed in return by a voice most rustic and uncouth...Sir Doon! mounted on the largest destrier I have ever seen, and encased in what seemed solid steel armor. We pressed forward, raising our helms so that he might recognize us. He did, somewhat incredulously, but when the men with him then asked "Baron Doon, do you know these men?" it was all we could do to stay in our saddles. Baron Doon?! And he looked aged, and smaller than I remember. Quite a bit smaller. Gerin the Weaker was there, and Sir Tulga and a knight who turned out to be little Ragnar, Leo's boy, all grown up and dressed as a knight. In a rush they told us that we hadn't been seen or heard of in twenty-one years. Twenty-one years! By the pickled balls of St Alban! They also said that:
- Lamorak was dead at the hands of the Orkneys...
- The Orkneys were all dead at the hands of Lancelot;
- The King had spent the last two years on the Continent warring against Lancelot and his cousins (including Bors!), because...
- Lancelot had been caught defaming the King in the person of the Queen and had fled with her to Ganis lands...
- Lancelot had returned the Queen, whom the King welcomed with open arms;
- Our friends Doon, Gerin, and Ragnar were the outriders of the King's returning army, headed for war in Camelot because...
- Loholt was dead [at this Lancrius let out a cry and began to weep]...
- Mordred was declared the King's natural son...
- Mordred had attempted to usurp the throne of Logres while Arthur was away on the Continenet and was now holed up in London.
We rode with our old comrades as fast as we could toward Camelot.
Neither Bradwyn nor I had any news of our families. No word from the Great Duke or Father, though the King said that Mordred had been assassinating enemies, and he said that both men were quite aged, and that Father was taken to his bed these past few years, with the running of Silchester county in the lands of my brother Elliott. Poor Bradwyn had no way of knowing whether his family lands—nay, his family!—was intact, as there was some dissent about inheritance even before Bradwyn disappeared into Faerie. But the King seemed somewhat heartened at our unexpected return, and had messengers sent out to those lords still loyal to him to announce that he had returned, and to muster all available troops. In a few days we had our answers: the Great Duke still lived and was riding south at the head of his army, and my brother-in-law Reynald was marching south with Silchester and Robert with Salisbury.
We also learned on that hurried ride that Mark of Cornwall had, a decade ago, invaded Salisbury, nearly taking Camelot but for the heroic defense of the castle by good old Sir Leodigrance the Lesser and Sir Clydno, who saved the day with his family's relic, the finger of St Alban, but that both had perished in the effort. All of us were sore grieved to hear that news. Both were good men, and Leodigrance was well-loved in these parts. He might not have been the best battlefield general, but his way with his fellow knights and the men-at-arms under him was unequaled. A great gift for choosing the right man for the job. We could really have used his skills for this contest!
That night his son Ragnar had a dream in which Sir Gawain appeared to him, imploring him to warn the King not to march out and meet Mordred on the morrow, but to wait a few days as Lancelot was on the way with an army from Ganis.
Ragnar looks uncannily like Lady Raeburgh, and has developed her unfortunate taste in axes to an art. He told me he even prefers to wield that great axe of his on foot rather than fight from horseback! Fortunately, he appears to not have followed her taste for alcohol.
We rode toward Camelot two days later, with the King determined to parley a delay.
The Battle of Camlann
Some quotes from the battle:
"Gawain is surrounded by happy people..."
"He must be in Gwaelod."
"Ohh...we're fighting faerie knights."
"Does my book of law help me here?"
"Oh...9 on 4d6."
"Wait—that was a crit. You roll double dice."
"That was double dice."
Player: "Can I inspire myself with my Loyalty (Arthur) here?"
Other players: "Oh, save it. There's worse stuff coming, believe me."
Player: "Well, okay...ooh, 20. Fumble."
GM: "Ooh! I crit!"
Other players: "Sorry."
"53 points? I need chirugery just to be presentable in a coffin."
"You need a seamstress."
Sir Monroe one last time
Wow, what an incredible collection of riff-raff assembled under that traitor's banner. When the parley went badly, most of the men rallied 'round Arthur to get him to safety, but with a look Lancrius and I, and wild-eyed Cynfyn, charged Mordred. I would have happily been hacked to pieces if I could have gotten that son-of-a-bitch. But his men got between us and we could only thin their ranks before the armies clashed all around us. We fought Welsh bowmen, Welsh "knights," Irish kerns (always!), Cornish knights, Malahautian footmen, Saxon berzerkers, Genoese crossbowmen, trolls...and damn, look at that, Uno, the last son of Ulfius, the Original Logres Traitor. He and Ragnar went at it most fiercely, and I'm sad to say that it was Ragnar's lifeless body that hit the ground first. That's the way of the world sometimes, but then I rode that sorry excuse for a man down and lopped his head from his shoulders, finally finishing what dear Leodigrance, Marshall, son-in-law, friend, started so well those many years ago.
At one point we got off the field to patch ourselves up, remount and regroup before heading to the front lines again when a sad event occured on this day full of sadness. Bradwyn had been off his mark after engaging the footmen, as though the passion had gone out of his fight, when both Belias and Gerin the Weaker had attempted to rally his spirits. Instead, Bradwyn very quietly stood up and thrust at his cousin with his sword! Even worse, marvellous Uren the Timely at that point interposed himself among the three and took the blow meant for Gerin. Poor Gerin's reunion with his father was to hold him dying in his arms as the Great Duke's usually stalwart and pious son ran off screaming Lady Cliane's name.
We suited up and rode to the front, weeping at this terrible scene of a family wrenched apart, to engage with a pack of five-headed dogs.