The gathering at Court this year had a wholly different tone to it. Of course with no king, there was no royal court, and so Sir Erec the Little, Sword of the Dawn, newly knighted son of Sir Erec killed on the battle field of St. Albans, Sir Maelwine, vassal knight to Sir Gaelavine, and Lady Guenloie, cousin of Sir Dylan, poisoned with the King and Earl Roderick at the Infamous Feast, gathered at Sarum with Countess Ellen, wife of the late Earl Roderick and mother of his young heir Robert.
The talk at Court was of the threat of the Saxons, the strange appearance of a sword in the stone in London, and who will be the new king. Some thought that whoever pulled the sword from the stone as it says on the plaque should be crowned. Others thought that the collegium should decide as before.
Also at the Court was Prince Aescwine, son of the Saxon King of Essex, come to demand tribute in exchange for peace. Despite our knights' counsel, Countess Ellen agreed to pay. Of course its not her that will play, but her knights, and for them their peasants, but still it could make for a difficult year.
Talk was also of building defences around Sarum city. The Countess is looking for benefactors...
Later in the year, when patrolling the bounds, strange events occurred. The knight's sleep was beset by nightmares of a serpent spitting on a village church and melting it, then coiling into the shape of a bailey which it then indeed transformed into. From it came many lesser snakes, devouring the livestock in the area.
In the morning, Erec, Maelwine and Guenloie. were hailed by a young boy who seemed to know much about them - their names and character, although they had never met! Of course, this was no normal ruffian, but Merlin - within moments he transformed himself to his more familiar form, and asked if they sought adventure. In the Forest Sauvage is a village - the manor of Medbourne - the village of the dream. It had been taken over by a fiend born to the Lord of the manor's daughter. She died at its birth, and the child - Gorboduc - grew to inhuman strength and stature. He slew his grandfather, Sir Staterius, taking the manor for himself. Gathering around him bandits he terrorised the neighbourhood, and had plans to create through the local evil and army of monsters such as himself. Merlin's task was for them to be slain.
Having accepted Merlin's challenge, the knights headed swiftly to the Forest and Medbourne. Here they met with Goroduc and his ruffians. In a mighty battle of spear and wit, they despatched them. Of note in the battle were Lady Guenloie.'s dominance in her battle with a cowardly foe who soon learnt that a woman's strength is not always inferior to a male's, and Sir Erec who with great skill did kill the fiend himself.
On return to Sarum, Countess Ellen was most impressed with their deeds, rewarding Sir Erec with the Manor of Medbourne to care for her. Noting its distance, she also gave a knight to take residence there and to keep it under him, Sir Bleddig, grandson to Sir Elad.