Session One Hundred Fifty-Three - June 22, 2019

Wherein the ongoing story of the FtF campaign may be found ...

Session One Hundred Fifty-Three - June 22, 2019

Postby Matt » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:49 pm

Nolus 5, 733
Overcast and rainy

Goreg arrived at Ternua late on the 4th. In the morning he sent a message to Kolorn, recalling Sir Dickon and his men to Tashal by way of Ternua. Goreg then spent the day taking an accounting of the knights gathered at Ternua before departing back to Tashal on the morrow. For a good part of the day he muttered to himself about the possiblity that others might think that his mother was the mistress of Lord Ewen. He could think of no worse slur on her reputation – to think he had obtained his position through his mother’s skirts. He also wondered if he should mount some sort of rescue to ensure the safety and proper treatment of his mother, as he is not sure that the Lady Thilisa is treating her as befits her station or even just common decency.

Lord Ewen rose before breakfast to clairvoy the former king. After seeing to his necessary ablutions, he spent a few moments trancing. Feeling well rested and ready to search the aether for the quondam monarch, he closed his eyes and intuited the warbling effect placed by the meddling Shek P’var led by Aethel Atan.

Sir Baris snapped awake in his new matrimonial bed. The second attempt at fully legalizing the marriage had occured with success, of sorts. Baris’ thoughts immediately turned to breakfast and the inevitable what next? Baris considered that he should introduce the lady as his wife to his liege lord as a provident first step. Lady Erane agreed and soon the pair were ready to leave for Raven Hall and an impromptu wedding breakfast. Baris detoured to the kitchen to bring some scones from the Elf and Dwarf. Amelia greeted Sir Baris in her usual fashion, but the news that the Lady accompanying him is his new-wed wife, she prepared a few extra special scones. Overhearing, Barton laughed, and poured an ale (it became two) for Baris as congratulations were given.

Eventually, Baris and his new special lady stroll down Maranos way, Baris holding a tankard of ale and scones. Passing Lady Cheselyne’s house where the steward is at the gate receiving an early morning delivery. The steward observes with interest as Sir Baris passes. The burly knight nods a greeting and the pair continue.

Arriving at Raven Hall, Baris decides the occasion must call for some formality, and he knocks on the door for a change. Walin appears at the door and upon seeing the knight who is single-handly depleting the pork sausage stores, asks “Why are you knocking?”

Baris introduces his wife to Walin, who opens and closes his mouth a few times in shock and then takes the ale tankard from Baris, retreating to the kitchen. Cekiya is sitting on the stairs as Baris and Erane come in.

“Cekiya, can you get Lord Ewen?”

“No,” Cekiya replies.

Baris, not pleased by the negative response to his perfectly reasonable request declaims,” I have important news; it cannot wait.”

“No. He’s listening at the voices.”

Baris thinks to himself, this is not how this supposed to go. He turns to Erane and leads her to his usual place at table for breakfast.

Walin’s wife Bernethe pokes her head out the kitchen door, and Baris hears “No, they’re still out there.”

Cekiya walks down to Erane and Baris and peers at Erane. “Pretty ribbons ...” Before Lady Erane can answer, the trio sees Ewen descending the stairs and he joins them in the hall.

“Good morning! Lady Erane, how good to see you again. I hope you will join me at my table if you have not already broken your fast.”

Sir Baris stands and trys to thinks about the proper way to introduce his wife. He fails as this is not something he ever thought to be doing, and in making sure the ale did not spill itself upon Maranos Way, he attended to it, giving no thought to a speech. Thus he shrugs, and turns to Ewen, “My lord Ewen, I need to announce, that I and Lady Erane are married, she is now Lady Baris Tyrestal.”

Lady Erane smiles patiently at her new husband, “Lady Erane Tyrestal.”

Baris’s smile grows and he gives a slight gesture of ‘ta-da.’

Ewen chuckles, “My congratulations to you both.”

Walin comes out with tray and flagon and several goblets, “I thought you might need the aquavit this morning.”

Ewen nods his thanks to Walin. “Sir Baris, I had no idea that Lord Prehil becoming a father had had such an impact on you.”

Baris, not following the joke but jumping on another aspect of the announcements, “Speaking of being a father ...”

Baris is interupted by a banging on the door.

Cekiya cocks her head, “You summoned Prehil.”

Prehil bangs the door fully open in his usual fashion, but Walin has learned to use a quick sidestep to avoid the door hitting him and even better in his eyes, to stop it from crashing into the wall and making the most unpleasant bang.

Prehil, seems more excited than usual, “I found the best actor ever! This guy could be my twin! I could do this forever. Ewen, I am unattended!”

Ewen smiles and gestures to the goblets on the table, “Excellent, I shall put your unattended status to good use. Oh by they way, Lord Prehil, may I introduce to you Lady Erane Tyrestal, the new wife of our dear Sir Baris.”

Prehil, his smile and smugness at deceiving his father’s guards, falters just slightly, “ WIFE!!!!! I thought I set a better example than that.”

Baris turns to Prehil, “It happened before I knew what happened.”

Ewen, immensely enjoying his morning and feeling expansive, says “Come join us Prehil and we will hear the tale from the bridegroom’s lips.”

Baris takes a drink and a breath and explains just what happened, with Lady Erane filling in spots when Baris falters as he is still not entirely sure just what happened.

Prehil, almost understanding what went wrong, intones, “Not necessarily the usual order of things, but these things happen.”

Lady Erane gave Prehil a smile, “It was wonderful.

Baris looks to Prehil and Ewen, “I wish you guys would have had been there.” Both Ewen and Prehil grasp what Baris really meant.

Ewen merely smiles and raises his goblet, “You have my blessing and best wishes for a fruitful future.”
Arva comes down and the entire story is told again. She excuses herself and soon laughter is heard from the stairs. Then the group at the table hears more laughter as she informs the the men at arms in the upper levels.

Ewen turns to the couple, “I am to understand that this ceremony took place last night and I do perceive that the lady is lacking a ring upon her finger. I would encourage you to fix this as soon as possible, Sir Baris.”

Baris, “Yes of course, this just happened so fast, I wasn’t expecting, of course I shall ...” As he sputters about the lack of ring upon his new bride’s hand he is waging an internal debate of should he give the Khuzan ring worth a whole lot or does he go and attempt to buy a ring from one of the jewelers. As the last time he was in a jeweler’s shop was a disaster, he decided to take the path of least resistance and takes the Khuzan ring out of his purse, and turns to the Lady Erane, “I am not sure this fits. Did you wish to go to the jeweler’s to pick out one that suits?”

“My lord that will be just fine,” Lady Erane says as she takes the very expensive ring from Baris and fits it to her finger.

A discussion occurs of where Erane and Baris will be taking up residence now that they are married. Erane declares that of course she will be coming with Baris to Olokand. After all her son is now his squire, and really her daughter is no trouble at all. Baris attempts to discourage her, but she points out they are not going on a true war campaign but to a castle. She is quite sure that Baris will protect her and the family will be safe.

While the couple are debating the merits of the whole family traveling north, Ewen turns to Prehil, “Still going up to Olokand with us?”

“Yes, I should bring those men my father set upon me. Odd that I didn’t need them as Alderman. Oh that reminds me, Lady Cheselyne all came to nothing on the whole alderman thing. She didn’t have the touch. Apparently she kept annoying people rather than get them to do things without realizing they are doing it. She nearly broke the council; pissed everyone off. Truly remarkable really when you think about it.”

Baris hearing this, “Why aren’t you on the council?”

Prehil, “I left it to make room for Cheselyne after my father became earl, but now I am back on. They kicked her off. I guess the Queen has an idea of a new position of some sort to mollify her.”

Lord Ewen interjects, “Have you been to the castle yet?”

“No, I spent the morning getting the double up to speed. It was eerie watching my movements mirrored by this guy.”

After breakfast, with Prehil departed, Ewen left to inspect the new company that had arrived, lodging at Dickon House. Sir Karnis Baral, a heavyset red-headed man, has been waiting to meet the Baron. Ewen learns that the company was formerly of the XI legion, and comprises twenty men, all medium foot, with no bowmen. Ewen informs him that they will be departing for Olokand on the 7th for a possible siege against the Harbaalese troops, on their second annual viking incursion. Sir Karnis assures Ewen they will be ready.

Later that afternoon, Marhet of Lak meets with Ewen to tell him that Lord Bastune does not in fact own the house and as it is not collateral, Ewen has no legal claim on it. Marhet says that to get any legal recourse from the current Baron of Kolorn Ewen would have to bring suit. The proper venue would be the chancery court and the Lord Chancellor Tarken Hirnen would likely preside. Ewen asks about the chances of a positive outcome. Marhet avows the chances are good especially if the Lord Chancellor is well-disposed towards the peer. Ewen orders the litigant to press the suit. Marhet muses he will need a co-counsellor and would recommend Mykel of Meriel. Ewen agrees and tells Marhet to get the wheels turning.

That evening Arva and Sir Rollard go out to dinner. Sir Rollard arrives to escort Arva. Lady Cheselyne is at the Iron Bell as is often the case. Arva finds the discussion and the dinner surprisingly enjoyable. Sir Rollard mentions that the Lady Thilisa was pleased at the unexpected ease with which the situation resolved – an unusual occurrence.

Ewen spends the evening with Rahel at Hag Hall. He mentions that the little adder she had given as a gift is sometimes seems guided by a hand more mysterious and malevolent than his own. Rahel chides him that the gift was not given by her, and then relates that in the castle they believe Haldan killed the men and the guardsmen are distubed by this. It is seen, even for a mad king, as a deep betrayal. The authorities are trying to keep the escape quiet but most of the staff and all of the guardsmen know. Although they instituted a search immediately, nothing has been found so far. No one is sure how he got out of the castle. Ewen tells Rahel of the secret tunnel in the now Queen’s chambers that the former king used.

Nolus 6, 733

The day passes with the party making preparations for the trip to Olokand. Baris takes his new squire, Ronen, out for another shopping trip to get him outfitted with a new short sword and clothing. This day’s excursion takes a pound out of the leather of Baris’ purse. Baris notes that the shopping trip the day previous took a pound plus 5 shillings out of the same. Ronen has taken to the squirehood like a duck to water. He is eager to please, trying to anticipate, and Baris has noticed that his hand is never empty of a tankard of ale. Ronen has decided that Sir Baris must never be more than five feet from a full tankard.

As Lady Erane makes her preparations she asks how long they will be at Olokand. Baris doesn’t know, so he leaves to go ask Ewen, who says until late summer. Lord Ewen wonders why the knight is bringing his new family. Baris mutters something about Erane would have it so. Ewen reminds Baris that he will be needed to take the field and perhaps bringing a family into a critical situation may not be the best idea unless he has some idea of disposing of them safely. Baris nods of course and takes himself back to Erane and tries again to talk her out of coming. The lady will not be dissuaded. Instead, she tells Baris that they will need to leave sufficient funds for Keltren, the servant who acts as cook and maid, to keep an eye on things. Erane decides that three months rent and necessary funds for living are right and that 150d should cover it. She then sends Baris out with Ronen to spar with the comment that the activity will fill up the afternoon. While sparring, the boy talks of his manor. Ronen, it turns out, is the Lord of Rovinath, and that it is not far from the Fur Road, just past Ovendel. His liege is the Baron of Setrew. Ronen says that his uncle Sir Penn is minding the manor until he comes of age, and he holds his wardship. Yet, Ronen doesn’t know why he isn’t there with his uncle.

Nolus 7, 733

Goreg arrives, covered in mud from the road, late on the 7th. The continuing rain had made the forward motion of the footmen slow and plodding. He brings with him the six knights from Ternua, including the daughter of Sir Ambric Pulgarty. Goreg related that he learned there are seven sons and one daughter of Sir Ambric Pulgarty, Lord of Galven. All eight children have been knighted and this last, Dame Aldea, has come to render service as one of the knights the family owe to Ternua. In addition, a company of medium foot from Ternua - Kupper’s company; Dermit’s company of short bow; Thorpe’s squadron of light horse; and Sir Blaka Pulgarty and his thirteen Gray Griffins who are medium foot. Now, plans are made and messages sent to those involved that the party will depart on the 8th.

Captain Rolloch and the ten men-at-arms from Varayne also arrive bringing that full company of Thardans together.

Lord Prehil gathers the men his father had put upon him, bringing another half company of medium foot.

Ewen notes that only Sir Dickon and his company are absent from the current count, but they should arrive on the 8th and will leave Tashal to catch-up to them, hopefully on the 9th.

Goreg also reports on the current status of the barony of Ternua, with nothing pressing, and presents the chest of funds for the payment to the Khuzan. Ewen keeps £49 out of the 211, and the rest goes to Marhet for the aforementioned payment.

Dinner at Raven Hall sees Goreg brought up to speed on Baris’ nuptials. He is a bit nonplussed to hear no news of his mother. He resolves to speak to Lord Ewen after dinner in the study.

There, Goreg again brings up the fact that his mother was under house arrest by Lady Thilisa. Ewen informs Goreg that he thinks that Thilisa would be amenable to Goreg seeing his mother as her funds have been returned. Ewen offers to send a letter asking Thilisa to release his squire’s mother and if she would no longer wish to house the lady he states that the squire’s mother would be welcome in Raven Hall as the party will be absent for some time. Goreg takes the letter over and returns with his mother in triumph.

While Goreg is gone there is a polite knock on the door. Walin opens the door and admits one of Rahel’s men at arms accompanying a woman. Lord Ewen is in the hall getting to know the new knights from Ternua. He recognizes the woman as Releyne of Lerik, who asks a word with Ewen in private. Ewen leads the lady to the study, secures the door, and sits. He reaches for a tray on his desk and pours from a decanter.

Releyne thanks Ewen for the brandy he hands her, “I come from Lady Rahel with instructions to tell you everything I told her. I have come this very day from Meselyneshire via the portal at Olokand. I believe you know it. I was in the company of Sir Kelwyn Sawyne, whom I believe you also know. He and I had met this morning at a small manor north of Setrew by the name of Chiesa. Chiesa was raided, sacked, and largely burned this morning by the forces of Harbaal. The aged knight who had been left to hold the manor we think was killed and quite a few of the peasants were rounded up and placed in the temple of Peoni, which was then fired. I assume no survivors of that. Sir Kelwyn and I were chased by a number of Harbaalese. We were severely outnumbered.”

Ewen narrows his eyes at the news of the invastion, “What was size of force?”

“More than 100. They came by land I believe. Sir Kelwyn ordered me to adorn myself with a nimbus as he did and we stood revealed has Deryni. He then manifested a great red lion that struck at the Harbaalese. They fled and we took boat on the Kald to Olokand. He has remained in the area. I must also inform you that two days ago the manor of Huxley was raided by the Harbaalese, but not sacked. Both manors are part of the Barony of Setrew. Huxley is held by Sir Daxton Sarnath. He may have made it to Setrew but I cannot say for certain. As far as I know the Baron is still in Setrew. Sir Romlach, his son, and many of the knights were at Huxley. Some where killed and some were captured.”

Ewen asks, “Romlach’s fate is unknown?”

“Yes. It is possible though not ceratin they may have raided into the Allence hundred on the east bank of the Kald.”

“I thank you for this intelligence so swiftly brought. My forces are largely ready to embark tomorrow.”

“Chiesa was virtually undefended. That was not the case of Huxley, but what I know of the Baron’s forces, they cannot last.”

Ewen nods, “We can be there in three, maybe four days depending on the speed of the foot men with the road conditions. What are your orders, are you returning to Olokand?

Releyne shakes her head, “I am to continue to make reports elsewhere. If the Baron is not aware of the Harbaalese he will be shortly and will most likely informed his liege, the Earl of Neph.”

“What of Sir Kelwyn?

“He said that he was to return the high ground.”

“Did you see any bowmen?”

“I did not, but we were running as well with the rest of the peasants. There was no resistance to the Harbaalese that would have required bowmen.”

Ewen ponders in the study after Releyne had left. He attempts to remember if he knows Sir Romlach well enough to clairvoy his whereabouts. As Ewen is hard pressed to bring the knight’s face to mind, Ewen passes on the thought and retires for the evening.

Nolus 8, 733

The contingent departs in the early hours, war horses in tow. Supplies and extra horses following as supplied by Baris. Slightly after midday they arrive at Heru.

As they do, Prehil has a notion, “Wait a minute. This is my castle, or at least my father’s now.”

Ewen agrees. They know the knight in charge of course, Sir Bereden Pawade, and consider him a good man. Prehil mentions they could press some troops. Inside the keep over food and drink, they convince the Constable to part with a company of bowman but Sir Bereden insists on coming along. As Ewen is well aware of how able the man is, he has no objection. Sir Bereden leaves his captain of the guard, Sir Dunisel, in charge in his absence.

The contingent continues until they come to the Airth manor to spend the night. Sir Baris avoids Lady Ygrena Ralgurty.

Nolus 9, 733

The contingent again leaves before dawn. As they pass through Ovendel field, Lord Ewen has the force on alert. This is where the ambush took place a little over a year ago, and everyone is a bit on edge. Qorsad flies overhead and Ewen finds that the communication range is limited to a hundred yards or so in the air. Qorsad still takes a few turns ahead and flies back to report things seen. He asks Ewen what a viking looks like, and he hasn’t seen anything like Ewen’s description.

The party continues unmolested and spends the night at Nevanfal manor. The lord of Nevanfal, Sir Jondalak Nevan welcomes them, identifying himself as the Bailiff of the Hundred. He examines Ewen’s commission and welcomes the new Sheriff to Meselyneshire. Ewen understands that he is the feudal superior of Sir Jondalak and asks for a report of news of the area. Jondalak confirms that he has heard rumors of incursions and raids on manors to the north. Some say vikings and some say Taelda tribesmen. Ewen asks how he hears of the rumors. Sir Jondalak he says it came from news from a handful of peasants who claimed their villages had been raided and as such have fled. He considered taking them back to their lawful lords, but they all scarpered before he could do so. Jondalak continues that if the rumors are true, Ewen does need to raise the shire, he should send word with a reputable person and it shall be done within his hundred.

Nolus 10, 733

The weather has remained warm and clear. The contingent travels up the east bank of the Kald and through a few small manors until they come to Tentru. On the other side of the bridge they can see the vast Olokand castle on the west bank of the Kald. As they cross the bridge there are guards at the gate house at the opposite end. The guards hold their hands up and order the contingent of over a hundred strong to “halt.”

Lord Ewen looks down at the men from his horse and introduces himself, “I am, Ewen, Baron of Ternua and newly appointed Sheriff of Meselyneshire. I have my charter here.”

One of the men at arms looks at him and says, “I cannot pass you on my own authority, as I cannot read. Sir Cardiel Nacarn holds this castle until the appointment of well, you, sir.”

“Summon him then.”

They wait in silence. Lord Prehil shifts a bit in his saddle and leans over to Ewen mentioning that perhaps that they are sitting ducks on this bridge.

Ewen nods, eyes scanning for movement, “Sir Baris, am I correct in thinking that your new wife was born a Nacarn?”

Baris, having no idea, “I guess?”

The guard that was sent comes back with four knights. One steps forward, “Yes, I know you. You are Sir Ewen Ravinargh.”

Ewen nods, “It good to see you. Since we last met I have became a baron now hold the shrievalty, as well. Do you wish to see the papers?

The knight, whom they recognize from at least one of the tournaments as Sir Cardiel Nacarn, shakes his head, “No, my lord, I believe you. Open the gates, and allow the Sheriff in.

“Allow me to present the other knights. Sir Telek Sumsby.”

Sir Telek nods at Ewen and Baris, “We defended the castle together last year.”

“And this is Sir Ercamber Odasart, and Sir Morek Lasvarn.” The knights all nod at one another in greeting.

As the force gets settled, Lord Ewen asks to be briefed on the situation. Assembling in the royal council chamber on the second level of the keep, Sir Cardiel tells Ewen of the men attached to serve Olokand for the summer service. He introduces (or reacquaints) Sir Edric Quarne, Sir Rald Ertaner, Sir Paquin Dezaller, Sir Branal Ethasiel, Sir Eadril Ethasiel, and Dame Ealen Gravelyn. The standing garrison at Olokand has three companies; one medium foot, one light foot, and the last is a company of longbowmen. Additional summer service is provided by a company of medium, two company of light foot, and one company of shortbowmen. Also, patroling the rest of the shire are another ten knights and a company of light foot. Cardiel explains that this is the summer service support and there could be more if the others who serve at different seasons were raised now instead of later.

Lord Ewen asks, “We have heard rumors of peasants running from vikings in some hundreds?”

“The reports are inconclusive. There have been boats seen heading down the Kald, but no refugees that I am aware of have come to Olokand. I know the vikings have been raiding north in the Ambarnis Hundred. Sir Daxton Synarth can tell you more.” Sir Cardiel indicates the knight in question whom he had not previously mentioned.

Ewen hears someone laugh quietly and a whisper, “Now we shall hear from Daxton the devil.”

Sir Daxon begins, “My lord Sheriff, your arrival is not a moment too soon.

“On Nolus the 5th, my manor at Huxley was raided by Harbaalese vikings. It so happened that my Lord of Setrew, his son Sir Romlach, and some nine other knights were present as the Baron was hunting. The vikings were upon us before we knew it. I took some of my peasant levy, fine men, I trained them myself. We stood our ground. Sir Romlach charged the vikings, who had formed a shield wall. There was a small hillock between them – Sir Romlach should have made it, but the vikings took the hill first and survived the brunt of the charge. I cannot be certain how many of ours were killed and how many were captured. Afterwards, we found the bodies of at least four brave knights on that hill, we presume the rest, including Sir Romlach were captured. The Baron, Larani rot his soul, he engaged at first and then he went down and was carried from the field by his own men. I learned later he broke his arm, either by viking or fall from his own horse. We were able to drive off the vikings. While a few of my people were taken, my peasant levy is intact and here in Olokand.

“You may wonder what I am doing here versus defending my manor. I went to Setrew to report and to talk to the Baron and rouse the forces to drive off the invader. But he would hear none of it.

“Next there was raid at Chiesa held by Sir Sepian Chies,” Daxton mutters under his breath, “Sir Elsewhere,” before continuing his report, “He was in Setrew when his manor was raided and his own uncle killed. Sepian decided after hearing this news to go north and do something.

“On the seventh the vikings sacked Eichel manor. The Baron sent me and most of the troops to Eichel. We were three knights left; me, Sir Pellaen Debtun, and Sir Harrett Daront.” Daxton again pauses to add his personal commentary to the report, “Sir Harrett, the Unlucky”, before continuing, “I don’t know if he is dead or alive. He may have been captured. Sir Pellaen was wounded before the battle began, the vikings sent a champion to taunt us. A slip of a girl, a shield maiden. She looked like she couldn’t take out a dormouse. Sir Pellaen thought he was playing with her, but she was ten times faster and slippery as an eel. He was forced to yield or die and our morale collapsed. Eventually we were beaten back and fled to Setrew, only to discover that craven piece of shit had fled. Taking his treasure and his women across the river. Slunk away in the face of the enemy. Nothing we could do. I fired the fields and ordered the animals slaughtered. I ordered the peasants to run and then came here with my men. I know that hours behind us the vikings took Setrew castle without a fight. They have been raiding from there for food and for women.”

Lord Ewen nods his thanks for the report, “A harrowing tale. What is the estimate of the numbers we are facing? Are all the raiders from same body of troops?”

“As far as I can tell they are separate bodies of troops. There are at least 300 men but there could be more as there were rumors they were raiding at the same time in the Allence hundred. They have no mounted troops that I saw; they are either footman or bowman. I will say that some were more skilled than others, but generally they fight well in groups ranging from ten to forty men.”

“They made a shield wall, you said. Were there other signs of good military discipline?”

“I would not underestimate them. They are not bandits, they are warriors. There is a rumor that one of their lords was killed in Allence, but it’s only a rumor.”

Ewen nods, “Our hope would be to strike quickly while they are separated by geography.”

Daxton continues, “Setrew would be hard pressed to house 150 men as it is not large. If I may my lord, I think that you should send out a lot of scouts. But I can tell you this much, the military power of the barony of Setrew has been broken. Vikings took no prisoners below the rank of knight, not even the squires were spared.”

“I concur, my thoughts align with yours. We raise the shire, we send out scouts, we learn the land. We make sure the vikings do not unite into the much larger force. It is better to defeat each smaller body, as such it is, of 150 men. Have you informed Tashal?”

Cardiel answers instead, “No. Things progressed faster than we thought. If you wish, I shall send the appropriate messenger south to rally the shire and inform the Queen.”

As a bid of discussion continues about the vikings, Ewen sends his consciousness out to read the room and brushes against shields around Sir Cardiel. He takes a moment to study the knight and realizes that Sir Cardiel does not know this aspect of himself. The Deryni nobleman files this away for the future.

Ewen turns to the discussion, “Do you have an idea of where they may sack next?”

Cardiel lists four manors right down the Kald that are probables – Newsham, Watanish, Satelton, and Brin. He lists few more going west from Setrew – Yandil, Huxley, and Nerele. He explains it is the same on the other side of the river, the road runs up the side of the Kald. There are a few small manors north of Baseta until you come to a northern manors of the Hundred anchored by Hetheron manor, held Sir Eris Karondal, Sheriff of Balimshire from Kiban. He is the largest landholder in the northern part of the hundred outside of Baseta, which itself is held by a constable from Minarsas.

Ewen replies, “We should send a messenger to him to find out the information about the east side of the river.” Ewen pauses a moment, “Send the squires to scout and send them in groups of two along those two roads mentioned to find where the vikings are and were. You, Sir Cardiel, send the messengers to raise the shire and to Tashal. To Baseta, I will send my squire and another of my retinue.”

The rest of the knights nod in agreement with this plan. As the briefing ends and those involved trickle out to do their task, Ewen motions to Sir Daxton to stay a moment.

Once the pair are no longer in earshot of the others, Ewen begins, “Sir Daxton, let me thank you in your specifics and detail in the report, it was most helpful. However, I must continue that, in almost every circumstance that I can think of, the language you employed regarding your liege lord could be considered intolerable.”

Sir Daxton’s expression changes from listening to guarded and slightly annoyed.

Ewen continues, “However, the circumstance as described constitue, in my mind, a potential exception to that rule. I believe I understand where that passion came from.

Daxton replied bruskly, “Most kind my lord.”

Ewen continues unphased, “I have no doubt given my experience with you this afternoon of the behavior of the Baron to be accurate in every particular and in that case I see no need to discuss this issue any further. I felt it unavoidable upon my station as a peer of this realm to say what I have just said. I hope you understand the spirit which informs my words. We face this force together and I need every man like you that i can put on the field to face this horde. But we are a certain obligation as knights of this kingdom to maintain the right order of things.”

Sir Daxton, expression slowly turning less hostile, answers, “I have listened to every word said, and you are right. I apologize and I should apologize to my friend, neighbors, and peers. Our world is one of stations, and I let my anger my frustration and my disappointment speak above mine. Who am I to ask my people to respect and obey if I don’t do the same to those above me. Though I have been sore disappointed in that one person. I thank you my lord for reminding me of what I should have not have forgotten. You are a lord I would be happy to follow.”

“Your words are well spoken and delivered with honor. I look forward to taking the field with you, and we will put this matter to rights.”

Sir Daxton nods, “We will drive the vikings from our lands, my lord.”

Nolus 11, 733

Ewen, Baris, and Prehil remain in the castle with a few officials doing the paperwork that is the burden of high office. The three review the lists of manors and services and income due.

Squires to the west return with no loss among their number. The group sent to Huxley report nothing has been seen on that road since the earlier battle. Of the two groups that went up the river road to Setrew, two turn back quickly and the other two went further. The group that continued report from Satelton and Malteset, which are directly north of Olokand, that all the manors north of Malteset have been sacked and burned. Each village has a number of refugees from more northern villages. No real numbers could be put on the viking strength. The vikings are using Setrew as a fulcrum and have established a boat bridge there. The invaders have taken the manor directly across the Kald belonging to the Order of the Lady of Paladins (now the Order of the Lady of Dolithor), and are raiding on both sides of the river. The squires report that there is word the vikings have mostly relocated to Setrew from wherever they were and are using that as their main base.

Goreg and Arva cross the river and ride to Baseta up the east bank road. North of Tentru the manors are sparsely located. They reach the first one, named Dyselon, and the peasants tell the pair the vikings have taken the next village, Halperin. Goreg asks when and is told that it was a few days ago. The villagers explain that it used to belong to the Lady of Paladins. The pair ride east and around to avoid Halperin. They pass a small manor, Pendstin, then Mirrindel Abbey. At the Abbey, the Abbot says they have not seen the the vikings. They then ride to Ansteedon and across the small river near Baseta.

Once they arrive at Baseta, they present themselves at the keep. Goreg introduces himself as the squire of the Sheriff and informs the gate guards he has an urgent message to the constable. They are taken to see the Constable Eres Tereneth in the great hall.
A few minutes pass and a middle-aged, somewhat corpulent man comes in, “Hello! Visitors! I love visitors.”

Goreg bows appropriately, “Sir Eres, I am Goreg, squire to Lord Ternua, the newly appointed Sheriff of Meselyneshire.”

“We need wine.”

Goreg continues, “Sir, the vikings have arrived in Meselyneshire …”

“Yes, they are a pain in the ass.”

Arva takes up the thread, “Lord Ewen wishes to know what your scouts report?”

Eres looks amused, “I am not supposed to do anything with your lord according to my lord.”

Arva, well aware of who the Constable’s lord is merely agrees.

Eres seems pleased that he does not have to do the normal diplomatic dance with the pair in front of him. “But the shit is happening on this side of the kingdom. So, I will explain it to my lord later, I mean your lord is son in law of my lord, who can really blame me? I mean he will be my lord too some day.” The Constable grins in merriment at his own wit.

“Here is what they are doing in my neck of the woods. It is a little pin prick kind of thing, I hear that north of me one manor has been sacked, but haven’t had word of others. I have called all my people here.

“The vikings have put some sort of bridge at Setrew.” The jovial attitude of the Constable becomes more serious as he continues, “I think I am going to be in trouble. This is actually going to rather unpleasant.”

Arva nods, “How long do you think you can hold out?”

“That depends on what hold out means. The castle forever; the hundred not so much, not even a week.”

Arva asks, “Do you have rough estimate of the vikings on this side of the river?”

“Almost two hunderd hit the manor up north. That’s more than I can muster. I have sent word to the Earl of Vemion, and I expect to hear back in about six months. I am happy to work with anyone who shows up.”

Goreg asks, “How many here right now?”

“I would say about fortyish right now. I can gather maybe 200 if they all show up. I have already lost a few knights.”

Goreg continues, “Can you send scouts north to find out what is happening at Hetheron?”

“That land is under Sheriff Eris. I don’t know what his situation is, but, yes, I can send scouts.”

Goreg nods, pleased the task is going so well, “Our lord asks that you send word to Olokand if you hear anything and we will try to be in communication with you.”

The Constable agrees and hopes further communication from Olokand comes sooner rather than later. Goreg and Arva leave and return slightly before midnight to Olokand.
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