The Knights of the Medlar
To play in my GPC campaign has two extra requirements. One is to contribute to the blog after you play. Two is to be a part-time GM sometimes, so I can play. I love playing. After 530 the heavy historical stuff is finished, and the nature of the campaign shifts towards discreet adventures and events. That is, a great time for everyone else to GM.
This section is about my current player character. And his family.
It will have the same entries that I post to the campaign blog, where this character's view is just one of many.
In addition, it will have some comment by me, Greg, ABOUT the character. I'll share some thoughts about why he does things, and explanations behind his actions, etc. I hope this will be amusing to other players, and provide some transparency about how I play the game.
And in case it is not clear, as a GM I generally play nearly all NPCs from Tradition, with nobles mirroring the real historical world of entitled class, personal prejudice, social fear, petty jealousy and fawning admiration. Maybe my player knight is going to be different.
Links About Sir Cynfyn
Predecessors to the PC
Sir Cyngarn, Butler of Leicester
This noble ancestor is entirely an artifact of character generation using BoK&L. When I generated Sir Cynfyn I got the information about his father, and I built the family history from that. His origins were actually after I made up Sir Breunor, whose paternal data I never accumulated.
The Knight of the Medlar
When I first considered creating a player knight for the Liecester Campaign I was looking for some kind of a handle to hang him on--something like the saint's finger was for Sir Clydno. While reading a book by the Geises (I think) I came across the medlar plant. I had never heard of it before (45 years of reading, and I am still delighted!) and so did some research . After that I just could not pass up the opportunity to somehow use a fruit that requires bletting to be eaten.
The medlar (whose images of fruit, flower and plant decorate this narrative), I learned, was a very popular fruit in the Middle Ages, but it practically unknown now. I'd never heard of it. That appealed to me! Furthermore (I read), it is a fruit that is hard and inedible when ripe, but after it rots it bursts open (that is, after it blets) and is sweet and yummy, "like applesauce" say some. Oooh!! Way wierd for us now, and I could just pretend it was a normal thing back then, in character. Cool.
Furthermore, that fruit cycle sounded like it could be a possible character arc! I suddenly saw it-- a hard character, unyielding who is rotting inside and (if he lives long enough) will have opportunity to blet and, afterwards, maybe be sweet and well loved. I like that. (Of course, let's see too what the dice say. I've seen many a character concept gone awry.)
So I checked with the GM (me) and then designed Medlar Manor, a holding that was short on staple crops (£2), but long on medlar orchards. It gets an average of 6 libra income from this. I don't have a copy of the first form, but here it is, adjusted after some investments paid for with loot from France and Rome. Fun!
Sir Breunor, the first Knight of the Medlar.
I generated a character for the climax of the Saxon wars. I attached the above medlar handle to him, and discovered he had been a squire to the great Sir Brandegoris, Knight of the Ham Bone. He was knighted.
Sir Brunor, Knight of the Medlar, was killed in his first adventure in 510, at the Battle of Bardon. It wasn't until 13 years later that I got a chance to play another PC.
Sir Cynfyn, Knight of the Medlar
When I had a chance to play again, I created sir Cynfyn, about whom you can learn much, below.
By the fighting Jesus I swear this is all true. Brother Odio here promises to write everything down that I tell him. And yes, yes, I agree that he’ll get the 10 shillings in the autumn to pay for food and supplies, and another 15… no… all right, 12 shillings in the springtime for clothing. And he doesn’t have to go to church any more than I do, and he can sleep in my hall too,--damn you Odio, I’ll throw you out like the last clerk if you don’t stop that now. So you can eat at my board but damn you and your quill. Keep writing that! Write it I say, say it: you’ll sit with the lowest servants in my house.
By the fighting Jesus I swear this is a true account, to as good as I can say it. I am Sir Cynfyn, Knight of the Medlar, son and rightful heir of the good Sir Cyngarn, Butler of Liecester.
526 was a good year, THE good year I say. That’s when Count Edar returned to Britain and Justice came again to our land. Six years without my inheritance! Six years it was, in the hands of that big-bellied Robert le Gros. I’ll never forget what he said to me: “You’ll have this land when Hell freezes over, or I’m dead.”
Well my good friend Odio here says that we don’t have to worry about what the priests say about Hell, then. Because le Gros is alive, so Hell is froze over now. But he had my land, and refused it to me after my dear brother Sir Breunor was killed in battle, but le Gros turned us out into the cold. Six years I served as a mercenary, and damned lucky I never went bad and did what those sergeants did. But I'm a man of my blood and know my obligations, and would never do what commoners do. So I worked those dirty mercenary campaigns and stood my shifts in the rain and starved most of the time. Odio here says that fighting Jesus must have watched over me. I guess so. Odio's explanation of Fighting Jesus is the first time I understood Him, so I guess it might as well be Him.
Then Count Edar returned from exile there it was, my chance, and you can be sure I was the very first person to greet him when he stepped ashore to pay homage. Yep, right there on the docks of London I was, and he remembered me and took me into his entourage. What joy! I was glad to be there, hopeful that he'd make me a knight and that I’d get Medlarwood Manor back, and I did now at last. He made me a knight! No one in the land could do better honor except the King himself to make a man a knight, and the Candlebee Count is my liege. He made me a knight, and I had no cares in the world when he said, “Let’s see what happens in the war, my good man Sir Cynfyn, and if we both return home, then the manor is yours, I swear it.”
As a knight of Leicester I served Count Edar through the French and Roman wars. I fought in 32 battles and skirmishes, and was with Count Edar at every great battle. I killed many Romans. The once great city of Rome is a fetid dump full of disease and prostitutes.
A man of his word, that’s my good lord Count Edar. No sooner had we reached Leicester before he held court, and to me and those others he granted our rightful fiefs and so at last--six years I tell you—our land returns to the family. I’ve made my brother Cranthan the steward and my sister Cryanne oversees the famulia.
At counsel I shared with my good lord some observations I had about the lands of his that had been seized during his absence, just as another point that he might bring before the King when they spoke of this again. How gratifying for me when good King Arthur immediately granted to Count Edar those properties, when he heard this! When the count told me of his success, I mentioned that I had some other ideas too, that might help him recover some other properties too, like Lambor. And Lindsey, maybe. He’s kept me close on all councils, now.
I used the Book of Knights & Ladies and generated a character. That's good for the numbers. Most things I generated were randomly rolled, except for things that I knew beforehand--like that he was from the county of Leicester.
I need more than numbers. I never even got to use the Knight of the Medlar concept and so this guy would pick up that schtick.
Now, the truth is that in all the campaigns I've managed to play, I basically always play the same character. Most people tend to play the good guy knight. I try to play the guy who follows all the rules, but in many ways is not the modern concept of a good guy. With a real sense of rightousness and, well, usually a sharp tongue. He is absolutely classist--he doesn't despise commoners, as long as they keep their place, and if they don't, and especially if they are foreigners, well, ride 'em down. Show them where their place is.
I spent a lot of points on giving him a Crossbow skill. He would never use it against a knight--it's not noble to do that! But he'll use it on deer, boars, foreigners and commoners. It will help emphasize his superiority over them. The other knights are already shocked by this.
The Fightin' Jesus came about because I read an historical account about a knight who was pillaging a nunnery, and as his men were burning it down he ordered meat brought to him.
But they kept pillaging a nunnery. On Good Friday. And I thought, "OK, that guy has a Religion of 2." That is, a minimal knowledge of religion. Which made me think, well my knight has a Religion Skill, a knowledge, of 2. What's he know, really? I finally decided that a knowledge of 2 is this:
Finally, I had to figure out how in the world this illiterate knight gets his stories onto the blog. I decided he hired a clerk to do it, and that he wanted a particular kind of scribe--one that would just write down exactly what he said. I decided that he spent his £1 to find the guy (as per BoM) and then fired hem for being so pesky. Then he spent it again to find another clerk, who is the one that writes this down. His name is Odio. He's a bit of a scamp, as I think his manuscript shows. I decided somewhere along the line that Odio gave Sir Cynfyn the idea of the Fighting Jesus. He wants to have a little chapel somewhere with a stipend when he can.
The Year I visited Camelot and rode with our Round Table knight Sir Bledri to Wretched Pomitain(528)
By the fighting Jesus I swear this is all true, as good as I can say it. I am Sir Cynfyn, Lord of Medlarwood, son and rightful heir of the good Sir Cyngarn, Butler of Liecester, faithfully recorded by Brother Odio, servant.
Camelot! At last, I have visited here in the company of my good count. I was astonished to silence by the palace and then learned a greater one is being built. The court is filled with knights, foreigners and ladies of every description. The king’s regal bearing bore itself to me when I saw him at feast or court. But his wife was… was beyond compare.
The humble Odio adds here that his lord never lacks for speech but was here rendered speechless only by the appearance of our beautiful and gracious highness, Queen Guenever. This infatuation appears to be a common effect.
I am ever at the duty to my lord Count Edar, and I know the history of our fair city! So when the lords of Lambor became abusive towards my count I intervened, as is the duty of every noble-bred knight. Their churlish taunts were childish. My noble reply enraged them so it ended with a challenge from one Sir Gregor, a member of their infamous usurping family. We fought for the honor of my good Count Edar against that of the House of Lambor. Odio told me that Fighting Jesus would be on the side of Right. I threw Sir Gregor down and killed him fast. That is what the honor of the lords of Lambor means to me! And to all noble Leicestermen!
I am ever at the service of my count, and foremost to volunteer for dangerous tasks, and so I was among the few chosen to ride with Sir Bledri, our Round Table Knight, as he took the measure of the pirate king, Sir Galeholt. Sir Galeholt’s kingdom is a collection of every dismal island inhabited by savages. His household is made up of cast offs from every race of the north. Yet, even though he’s an Irishman he comports himself in a courtly manner, and has Cymric blood on his mother’s side. His behavior proves that he is, despite his origins and his followers, one of us.
It was Pomitain that we went to, a strange isle of the Irish Sea. It is a magical cess pool. The naives there frighten even the Irish pagans with their witchery. Demons disguised themselves as false knights of our own Round Table to defame Logres, and beside a lake of blood we were compelled to perform impossible adventurous tasks.
Fortunately for me my objectives were noble, and overcame the foul spells. A woman, whose husband was just murdered, needed defense from three churls in armor. I killed two, but the third was the magical Irish elf and he got me. I thought I was dead. But fighting Jesus did rescue me from death itself. When I was wounded I felt him come and drag my body to the beach where I awoke. Odio says it must have been Him. I guess so.
Sir Bledri of the Round Table and the others were unlucky too, but he had the information he needed, and we took ship from cursed Pomitain and returned to Leicester. Sir Bledri and Count Edar conferred for one night, and the next day our companion of the Round Table rode to Camelot to report to the king.
Steve GM'd this. It's really the first game that I played my new character in, and just began to get a feel for Sir Cynfyn. I was just starting to work out his personality and had a great time both sucking up to Count Edar and insulting the foreigners.
I see up above I said "Maybe my player knight is going to be different (from my usual traditional PCs.) Quick answer: Nah. I role play to let this guy strut the stage.
I swear by the fighting Jesus that this is all true, as good as I can say it. I am Sir Cynfyn, Lord of Medlarwood, son and rightful heir of the good Sir Cyngarn, Butler of Liecester, faithfully recorded by Brother Odio, servant.
I am ever at the service of my lord the count, and am proud to serve as garrison and out guard for his lands. Bandits no longer plague us, the wolves have taken no sheep, the deer chase is thick with animals, and I had time to spend on my manor. The orchards looked good. Some of the piglets looked too wild to me, and I petitioned Count Edar to come hunt boars around my manor. The medlar wine is the best in all of Britain. My brother says things go well.
I was out of town this session. Adam GM'd an excursion into Faerie, and a return with horses and apple seeds.
By the fighting Jesus I swear this is as true as I can say it, though it is sad to say so much of this. I am Sir Cynfyn, Lord of Medlarwood and Bunny, son of the good Sir Cyngarn, Butler of Liecester, and Odio is writing this.
Truthfully recorded by Brother Odio, servant.
Things were very great at the start of the year. Everyone celebrated, for at last my great Count Edar married his foreign wife. Valery is her name, Countess Valery. She is comely enough, in that Nordic way, and already proved her fertility with his two bastards she brought to court. Sir Lucius says all the Trond women were lascivious, but he’d have intercourse with a woman with horns, if he met her. But this foreigner is just the typical bad luck that such women bring. Her witchery doesn’t bode well for my good Count. The Countess Valery has already brought shame to my good Earl’s name with some kind of hysteria where she ripped all her clothes off in front of the great and magnificent Queen Guenever.
But that was a little later. It was good at first. The whole getting ready for the wedding time was one of joy and generosity, and I pressed my petition to marry the Lady of Bunny, for whom the Good count Edar held the wardship. He finally agreed, and I paid him the relief and that much again the next day. His countess laughed and said, in her funny accent, “Look how eager he is for her.” Indeed, I was. Her estate of Bunny is practically next to Medlarwood. The manor house is quite nice, and it’s assessment is at £6. Count Edar, ever thoughtful for the welfare of his vassals, agreed to take £4 per year as a scutage fee, rather than a knight’s service.
Brother Odio writes now, to mark for myself some other events of note, will add here while my lord pisses, that my own good lord Sir Cynfyn was also married at this time. His wife’s name is Lady Lizabet, the only child of a knight who served Count Edar well many years ago. My Lord was eager to fulfill his conjugal obligations. He then shipped out with the Earl for Ireland under comman…
I am ever eager to serve my lord Count Edar, the paragon of chivalry. When King Arthur sought brave men to go to foreign lands he naturally chose Count Edar, while many other lords and knights just paid scutage instead. I question their courage, even now. I asked to go along and was chosen, with 49 others, to travel to Ireland at the king’s expense. We were already at Carduel, and were among the vanguard to sail to the city of Dublin, which had been seized by friends of the king. We destroyed four little armies gathered against us, and when the Pale was secure the King and the rest of the army arrived. Upon the dock Count Edar greeted his arrival.
Odio intrudes to mention that King Anguish of Leinster was there, as well as the leaders of the Cymric families living nearby, and many other chieftains and folk.
The hordes of Irish act in concert for only one thing: to attack whoever is strongest among them. With the Count here, it was clearly King Anguish who deserved that attention, and so the goat herders gathered together at Tara, their ancestral capital. Thousands of herdsmen, skirmishers and militia came, from every kingdom and tribe and clan of that miserable island. I have never seen such numbers of savages in one place. There was barely a horse visible among them, not a knight to single out. I imagined that this must have been what Bardon looked like to my father, though those were Saxons and way worse than the Irish of course. But I doubted that my father looked upon more foes that we did that day outside of Tara.
The fight went as expected. Their cowardly arrows and javelins were as numerous as ravens on a dead cow. We took many losses, especially among our horses, but once we closed with any of them they couldn’t stand before us. Always close to my good Count Edar, I hacked and slew as arrows and spears and swords bounced off me, harmless. We finally encountered a noble-like foe on horseback, and one of them who had a spear enchanted by his witch sister struck me hard, screaming his curses, but it was not enough to slow me down. We drove for where we saw a banner waving, and hacked our way among their best, even to their commander who Count Edar slew with his own hand. I seized one of his men as a prisoner for ransom. That broke them and the cowards turned and ran away off the field as we cut them down like hounds among coney.
Suzanne GM'd the above session, which began in Carduel and went to Ireland, and to test the Battle System I've been working on. The events are taken from the GPC and nicely worked in for the characters. As usual, Cynfyn tries to hog the spotlight next to Edar and does everything that a good knight, not afraid to die in the service of his lord, is expected to do.
Cynfyn is eager to advance his case and get to marry an heiress. After a short stint of conjugal intensity, off he goes to Ireland with the army, leaving his wife behind with the court of Count Edar (where she had been, prior to the quickly arranged and executed marriage.) Bunny is an actual place within Edar's domain, though it was called Bune or something in the Middle Ages, but that's not nearly as amusing.
July in Ireland
My prisoner told us that the lord that great Count Edar slew was the King of Oriel, a land to the north. King Arthur granted to my good lord Count Edar title and vassal rights to the kingdom. A friendly Leinsterman said Count Edar needed only to ride to the capital of that savage kingdom, declare that he was king, and then it would be his. Count Edar, ever wise, thought about it. I suggested to him that he could name an overseer for this land, and just collect an annual fee from it, while he hunted and jousted in Leicester. Wise Count Edar finally chose to go there because he knew it would enhance his esteem and glory to be a King. At last! I’ve heard our Knight of the Round Table, great Sir Bledri, say that before King Arthur came there were many noble men who wanted Count Edar to be King of the Britons. I was excited to be present to see his ancient honors come to him now.
Count Edar took his travelling household, and all his knights, and set off. Regrettably, we ate Irish food that caused a flux among our company, and many were forced to stay behind at the various forts we visited. My own greedy chaplain was of course among those who overindulged. We temperate men, Darin, my squire and Kent, my crossbow loader, were not struck down and accompanied Count Edar.
The lands were open to pillagers, who had seized everything they could. No villages were left unburnt. Every fort and tower was in the hands of some bandit or self-made boss. At the forts the men honorably swore allegiance to their rightful Lord, my good Count Edar. One band, villains from Lambor, refused to let my good lord enter his own holdings, thereby proving their base origins. Each night and on the march we were attacked constantly by raiders and madmen. I killed everyone who came in range of my spear. After a week we came to one fort that was held by Irishmen. They offered us hospitality, so the entourage and most knights camped in the bailey, as usual. Count Edar chose me to be among those who escorted my lord into the keep. The hosts were Irish, what else need I say? They insulted Count Edar, King Arthur and all Britons. Count Edar retired the chamber he was given. Sir Morion and I, with our and the count’s squires, stood watch all night, and despite the many ensorcelments that the Irish sent our way, protected him from all harm.
Now I grieve to speak of events. Our noble knights, all of them with their squires and horses, lay butchered across the bailey. Few signs of struggle showed. Murdered by magic in their sleep, a vile death most foul. Damn the Irish and damn their magic. We survivors armed, and though without horses, began the grim task of revenge. The evil lord who betrayed us and all his men faced us across the courtyard of carrion that had been our companions. Alas, Sir Morion, though proven good knight, succumbed to the horror of it. He began trembling beyond measure, then screamed, turned and clambered over the battlements to the ground. We have not seen him since.
Then, my friends, the marvel occurred. This was the marvel: Sir Edar of the Saxon wars came out then, the one I had only heard about who is cold and furious and relentless and a great slayer of men. I am proud to have stood at his side and kept some enemy off of him, and to have killed my share but mostly to have witnessed him slay men three at a time until we had killed them all, save their leader, who was direly wounded.
We searched the wooden castle and discovered five other of our men still alive, but unable to walk. We patched them and bandaged them and set them gently next to the food we’d gathered. The squires poured cooking oil upon the other bodies, along the walls and throughout the filthy keep, then lit it all. Tall flames and black smoke from the bodies of noble men and beasts announced our defiance to the world. The squires dragged stretchers, each with a knight and some food, and we set off by foot for safe harbor. We had been attacked on our way in, and so it was on the way out. We slew many, me out of duty and Sir Edar an avenging angel destroying everyone who harmed his people. And we lost some.
Alas, my own good squire Darin was killed on the way back. He was a good lad, who had received the best training a man could want, and would have been knighted next year. A cowardly poisoned arrow struck him as he took care of the wounded. I halted our movement until he was properly buried. I mourn him now. Dilan, Morion’s former squire, has taken his place in my service, but is an inferior worker. I will have to teach him harder.
We are now in the little port of Strongview, and it is miraculous that my lord Count Edar is still alive. I am proud to have accompanied him and protected his great life, and I am proud of those squires who made it this far. They bore three knights to safety. We await Sir Bledri and other reinforcements here now. The enemy lord escaped. I will not spare any more of them, and will kill the vermin that I have as hostage back in Dublin.
Fight’n Jesus,he weeps for his squire. Brother Odio adds that. And to note facts for my own future reference, I record that my own lord, Sir Cynfyn, neglects to mention the dire wounds he suffered during the return trek. And I’ll admit that I first thought shitting my guts out was terrible, and I mourned to miss my chance to go to Emain Macha, but now indeed, am alive where my fellow, Clark of Kent is a pile of ashes in the wilds of Ireland. Also, every servant in the count’s entourage that went off was murdered. I hope we leave this miserable island soon.
This was a brutal scenario, once again run by Suzanne, with a lot of combat. We are still in Ireland.
Based on Suzanne's comment after reading the blog, when she asked if Cynfyn had a Proud of Edar, I (quite arbitrarily) added a +6 Directed Trait.
Damn this island and everyone in it. Oh, except for Sir Aedon I guess, and that king I struck. Except I’m not so sure about that guy. King! He’s got less land than me. But damn him if my lord Edar says so, then it is so. And the king of course too. I am shamed to be disparaged by my liege and by the king, for I’ve never failed him in a task. When he gave me command of the footmen and volunteers I did the job perfectly, and no one will starve in our garrison this year, and even though it was the bewitched fort I took those men there, and my good cleric gave them a burial blessed by Fightin’ Jesus. And then we bore his standard right to Emain Macha, where no British lord has trod ever before, and we planted it there and said the words that Sir Aedon said we should say to claim it for my good lord Count Edar. Some local peasants came and surrendered to us, but refused to come to meet their new Lord and ran away. I sent the knights after them, and Sir Aedon returned with one a prisoner. But three of his own Irish men, they might have been warriors but they were certainly not knights, did not return either. We took him to Count Edar and the king, and when he dared speak familiarly with my lord and our king I buffeted him for his impudence. That’s when the strength of the Irish curse struck true, for my own lord and our king claimed the man was royal and out ranked me, a knight of Leicester. Yet is my place to obey my lord and, upon his instruction, apologized to the fraud as if he deserved it.
Infuriated, I decided to undertake what I had hoped to avoid—the quest for the spear of Malodrin. That enchanted weapon would help Count Edar become king. The bearer of it was an outlaw who had already defeated Leicester knights in a fight, including our own Round Table knight, Sir Bledri! Yet I needed to redeem myself, and with a few others—Sirs Edmund, Gherrin and the Irish guy, we went and fought the bandit again
Indeed, this time the fighting Jesus was on our side, for we slew the bandit and the spear disappeared after telling us I would be back at Emain Macha. We rushed back to Dublin to inform my lord Edar, and the king himself dispatched an army to accompany Count Edar to the ancestral capital of Oriel, where he took the oath and received homage from a few of the people there. The others will be conquered.
Compared to Britain, this is a wretched place, yet Oriel is an ancestral kingdom, legitimate in its title and honor, which is now our own lord’s title: King Edar. Sir Bledri was the first to swear loyalty to the king, and I am proud to say that I was second. After he was sworn in, he swore for his lands to King Arthur, High King of All Ireland. The occasion was viewed by Sir Brastias, the last survivor of King Edar’s Iron Men who liberated Britain from the Saxons. Sir Brastias has been named Lieutenant of Ireland, to look after King Arthur’s holding here, and has promised his old friend to help find a suitable lieutenant for Oriel as well.
After a long summer in Ireland, the royal fleet sailed from Dublin for Gloucester, where we will be joined by our entourages and families for winter court with the king. The journey was under good weather, despite the lateness of the season. Myself, I am anxious to get to Bunny and to visit my new holding.
Odio here—my lord Sir Cynfyn fails to note the wounds he took while fighting Malodrin the Outlaw. I will confirm that the catiff that he struck was no king, and the fact that King Edar upbraided my honorable lord was a fixture of the evil vapors that permeate this wretched island.
Suzanned GM’d this again. She says she actually likes it now. Woo hoo, we will draft her some more. After a break, I mean.
Zev and Adam, who play Edar and Bledri, our natural leaders, were both absent today. Steve played the son of old, long-dead Brandegoris (Knight of the Hambone) who actually has as much Glory as Cynfyn, but my knight blustered his way to the command position for the cleaning up of Oriel. I’m afraid I was quite difficult, since Cynfyn clearly hates Ireland and would not have wanted to return to Oriel without the guidance and luck of the county’s natural leaders. Cynfyn willfully avoided many troubles, ordering the other knights to chase down foes, but remaining with the army himself.
Cynfyn’s own rashness provided the game motivation to undertake the adventure. Striking a prisoner before Edar and Arthur was not a polite thing to do. Cynfyn and went and killed his own prisoner, to make sure all the enemies from Oriel were dead. These cost him some Honor, which is what set him off on a mad rush to redeem hiself by doing exactly that which he had been studiously avoiding before. We were lucky to kill Malodrin, frankly. And it makes a very fitting end to our adventures in Ireland for Count Edar to become King Edar.
530, Mid-Winter Revels
Blood always shows true. You can give a man a horse and train him to lance, but he’ll always be a peasant if he was born one. That damned Sir Amadis is the living case in point! That villein-born cur bears nothing but malice for all good knights, and no one will be surprised when he bursts himself with envy.
His jealousy spewed upon me, the favorite of King Edar now, who has stood by our lord in the most dire circumstances. I was speaking with our Round Table knight Sir Bledri when he mentioned old Sir Padern, which of course brought up the Candlebees, which brought up their great deeds and he lamented that so few men joined the brotherhood now.
“Of course,” I said, “So few men qualify at all! Knights prefer to pay scutage to fulfilling their knightly obligations. Only a person of the highest moral and martial character could qualify to be a Candlebee.” And that is so—the men of the Candlebees are legends. I saw them when I was a boy--Sir Padern and Gwair, Brandegoris and of course Edar and Bledri and the others on the Pillar. They crushed Saxon resistance and led the boy king to victory at Bardon.
We were amidst the festivities at Leicester, recently home from the cursed enchantments of Ireland. It was a time of great celebration, for Edar is now a king, he conquered Oriel, brought home treasure and fame. He shared his treasures with his knights and lords, and he especially rewarded those who helped him. He gifted to me a princely robe, an annual lifetime payment of £6 per annum, and his appointment to be his Under-treasurer of Oriel next year. Well wishers swarmed about us. Oh yes, my wife is pregnant—Jeramiah, remember to leave a saucer at the old tree. But most glorious of all, King Edar invited me to join the Candlebees! Naturally I questioned whether I was worthy, and though everyone laughed when Sir Bledri said, “You’re a little small, but you’re one of us” I accepted the compliment, then the invitation, and then was welcomed by the great Sir Edar himself into the sacred brotherhood.
And THAT is when Sir Amadis burst with jealousy and accused me of cowardice, oath breaking, of unknightly acts and other felonious behaviors, right there before King Edar and the entire assembled court, and challenged me to a duel. Me!
Now, this man is a churl born and a churl every day, yet it was the great King Edar who for whatever reason seized him that day chose to make this churl a knight. Knighthood is not mine to give or take, nor can I ever judge King Edar’s wisdom even though I can’t understand why he’d do such a foolish thing even though he loves his peasants beyond all sensibility, and so he said Amadis the Cobbler was Sir Amadis the knight, and so do I. I do, and will, treat Sir Cobbler as a member of this sacred brotherhood even though he is living proof that the mantle does not make a man, and a villein can’t escape his upbringing, and that knighthood itself is not virtuous.
Now look, I’m a man of honor and blood. Normally I wouldn’t even deign to fight such scum, being such a commoner, but then
long pause…A's father not cobbler tho…--o
HE INSULTED KING EDAR! Everyone heard it. That cobbler shouted, “Fish always stinks from the head,” and who is our head but our great King Edar! OK, I thought, if he claims to be a knight I’ll treat him as one.
So of course I accepted the challenge, and chose as weapons the new lances, and to fight for the love of fighting. Amadis insisted on blood, to the death, and I’d have taken it but King Edar said no, it was for love. My lance was a jousting lance, without steel, without edge, my sword was rebated. Sir Churl has no honor—he bore pointed steel in that joust, and he drove that point through my side to my great damage. I rode to the box and protested to the king and Sir Bledri, who ordered Amadis to halt. As I showed them my wound Amadis attacked me from behind and struck deep again, knocking me to the ground. King Edar ordered him back and he struck again, then other good knights intervened and held that frothing cur down. Then the fool demanded I never insult his father again. I will not, I swear it. I will instead save my insights and contempt for the cur himself. Jeramiah helped me from the field, and my wife tended my wounds. My friends at court have told me that King Edar is still considering how to punish Amadis. I hope I’ll be there to see his spurs hacked off.
When I was able to get around again I burnt my apiary, a sacrifice to fightin’ Jesus. I had once heard my father laughing about all their burnt apiaries when I was young. It’s what gave them their name. When the apiary went up, burnt like a wax candle, it was like all Britain which was aflame with Saxon wrath. But like the angry bees from the hives, the Candlebees rose up and fought back. THAT is who I have joined.
And this burning bee is rising up and is off to Ireland, who murdered my 30 friends, my brothers at arms, my nation of Leicester. Sir Eliddyr leads the knights who guard this chest of silver, which I will spend to hire sergeants and footmen in Dublin. Odio will keep accounts and talk to those clerks that the Treasurer is sending along. We ship out at dawn.
It is time to collect taxes for the king.
Odio, are you allowed to wear a jerkin made of that? Stop writ…
Later. A feather is easy to break, but not a man’s quest for truth. Fightn Jesus yea, I got a new quill. Jeramiah is my lord’s body squire, Gwyllfyllachlewalambrae is the new second squire, little Hank hardly more than a page, but of good blood; and of commoners Kyle is the groom, Bull is the loader a professional, Ken the varlet, Sagan is my personal aide, and Krystofer is my lord’s personal Dresser. –Odio, Chief Clerk to the Under-treasurer of Oriel
It was my turn to GM again, and was doing this Edar stuff above as a warm up when suddenly Amadis did pretty much what Cynfyn describes up there, and I was back to playing Noble Sir Cynfyn. The actual events were not quite as Cynfyn perceived them. The wound was from a Jousting critical hit. Cynfyn did whine to the king but when attacked drew sword and challenged to continue with that weapon, because of course if Amadis switched to sword he’d lose his Passion bonus. But Amadis used his (rebated) lance and critted again. Ouch indeed!
I guess I better post my “Dishonorable Deeds and Apologies” data before next session.
After that Cynfyn went off to Ireland and I went back to GM a TPK. Not really. It would have been TPK except… well, let them tell you.
Cynfyn’s out of play, gone off to Ireland. His next entry will be about his year as Under-treasurer of Oriel. In preparation I read my (unpublished) rules for “Appointments” and “Graft.” I learned this:
He’ll have gotten his stipend, which is about £5, and part of which paid for his retinue. Clydno is pretending that Sir Eliddyr is under his command, but his friend’s loyalty is naturally to Edar, who gave him his orders. He also has a little staff of clerk priests that was attached to him by the Treasurer "to help out." Father Paul, their leader, is a dyed-in-the-wool no-nonsense materialist, currently in the Black Monks.
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