The year began with Ector coming to visit me to see if he could assist me as I began to run Earl Roderik's lands, and to warn me; he was in Ainsbury at Christmas and heard thatBishop Dewey was mad that I, a pagan, was ruling in Roderik's stead.
Meanwhile, Giles heard that a large entourage, headed by Baron Sextus, was headed toward his estate. Sextus invited Giles to make war on the weaker lands without kings--particularly Exeter and young Prince Mark. He told Giles not to speak of his plan to me.
In the spring, the Brotherhood of the Band met before the court times. While Luceers rode to the meeting, he met Merlin in a forest, and Merlin told him that a Saxon called the Knight of the Tusks would be traveling with some very important cargo to Essex from Malahaut, and he must not be allowed to reach his destination. If he went after the knight, Luceers might find information about who killed Uther and the other kings.
A Saxon visited us at Salisbury, Prince Aeswine--son of Aethelswith demanded 100 pounds of silver or an equivalent amount of cattle before summer. Jenna told us that we have a spare 100 pounds a year and could raise more if we taxed the banner knights. We also have three unclaimed holdings. The walls of Sarum have not yet been finished--costing 20 pounds to finish for the castle, or 100pounds for the whole city.
Lykus told us that he had been approached by Sir Bernier, who had been meeting with the Eastern bannerets, and their oaths have been broken with the Earl, and we should swear fealty to Ulfius. Giles told us about Sextus. We agreed to have Ektor take Elid's position as trainer of knights. We sent Akalon to find out which other lands have been propositioned by the Saxons.
A week later, he told us, right before the muster, that Brastius had signed with Hengest. Ulfius had vowed to fight Aelle. A new Saxon king, Cerdic, had arrived in the south. Leodegrance had agreed to pay tribute to Aethelswith, but not fealty.
Akalon talked to Luceers, and gave him a message from Lot at the behest of Lot's wife. He also told us that King Lot is not to be trusted. The note tells Luceers about Lots high regard for him, and warned him of the dark times coming in the South, and invited him to take five manors from him and swear fealty to him.
We had three guests--Brastius, the Countess of Rydychan, and a courier from Duke Ulfius. Only about half of the knights showed up for muster; most of the absences are from the Eastern knights. Luceers addressed the knights. We noted that Sir Lesar was notably upset. We met with the Countess, and she told us that the Wallingford brothers have taken her lands. Sir Hanzel volunteered to fight the knights, but we told him to wait until we decided what to do. Brastius told us about the sword in the anvil in London and encouraged us to join with Hengest. The courier from Ulfius told us that we need a king and that the Colegium would decide on a new high king that summer.
We decided to send Hanzel to help the Countess. We sent Callus and the knights to take care of Bernier. The rest of us headed off to find the knight of the tusk. I left Jenna to run the kingdom. We stopped by the abbey to see Countess Ellen, and Luceers convinced her to return to help Jenna. Luceers brought Ellen and Father Bastile back to Salisbury, for the Father to baptize me, fulfilling my oath to Luceers, and hopefully putting a further briar in Dewey's saddle.
Giles tracked the knight of the tusk. We found him and his entourage-a handful of archers and some slaves- at a tower. We attacked his archers and swel them, and then turned to face the knights. Giles faced the leader and unhorsed him and then killed him. We found that one of the slaves is Sir Valinar of Linsey., and he swore fealty to Giles. We retrieved a parcel from the tower and two small barrels of poison. The parcel contained gems and jewels--like household jewelry from a noble--and a note from the Centurion King of Malahaut thanking Aethelswith for the use of his men.
When we returned home, we found that Callus had battled Bernier and been forced to retreat. Hanzel also was repelled by the three brothers.
We heard gossip:
*King Lot has a new son.
*The Irish are warring in Gales.
*King Clovis the Frank has converted to Christianity.
*The Colegium could not make a decision on who should be king.
*Aethelswith attacked King Leodegrance for not paying tribute, but lost.
*Ulfius allied with Aelle.
The winter was mild, and we all made improvements to our homes--mainly fortifying against the inevitable wars that will come.