501AD (Part One): Escorting the Mysterious Morgan

For Sir Gaelavin, it had been a winter of discontent. Not only were increasing tales of Saxon invasions reaching Salisbury, but his now one year old daughter was causing him great dishonour amongst his peers, and much distain from his commoners. Her tantrums had grown beyond all proportion. She had grown rapidly, outstripping other babes born that year, and now resembled a five-year old, with an attitude to match. 'Twas the work of the devil was the conclusion of most sensible folk around the manor - especially when she had spat at them or threatened to gouge their eyes out! In the end, Gaelavin was driven to seek out the local wise-woman. Her advise was simple. This child was nothing but a changling. Faerie-folk had swapped Gaelavin's real daughter for this monster. The only chance to restore peace was to find the original child. Perhaps in the Forest Sauvage may lay the answer...

But his venturing into the depths of Sauvage would have to wait, for no sooner had he prepared to go, but a summons came from Sarum. The Countess was in need of her knights, Erec and Gaelavin. It transpired that Uther's widow, Queen Ygrainne, was travelling from the Abbey in Amesbury where she spent her days secluded with her daughter Morgan. Morgan was to marry the Lord of Gorre, and the Queen and her were in need of escort and had asked for their services. They were wary of what might transpire after the recent kidnapping attempt. Saxon raiders had gained entry into the Abbey and had snatched Morgan and Ygrainne. Pursuit had discovered them - the Queen an emotional wreck, Morgan calm and playing, the saxons fiercely butchered. Nothing had ever been said about the events that had transpired, but there had been many stories.

The journey to Gorre was not without adventure. Before long they met a force of knights from Gorre, come to take the Queen to their homeland where King Uriens awaited his bride. After some days riding, they came upon a skirmishing between parties from Bedegraine & Lambor, and Cameliard, fighting over their borders. Although they could have ridden past, Erec boldly rode into their midst demanding that they stop and let them through! It wouldn't have taken a fool to know that this would not work, and that indeed was the outcome. Sir Erec was not to be put off, however, and persisted in his efforts to end the bloodshed. With the sound of horns and appealing to the presence of Queen Ygrainne amongst them, and the Saxons at their borders, he declared with uncharacteristic passion, that these were days not for infighting, but to be united so that the Land would stand and their common foe be cast from the shores! Moved by his oration, the fighting ceased, temporarily at least, and the party were allowed to ride through. Would this be sufficient to acheive peace between these neighbours? That was not so clear, but for now at least they were given chance to reflect.

As they had travelled, Sir Erec had taken it upon himself to befriend the young Morgan. Realising her sheltered upbringing and her boyish nature, he decided to teach her to ride. With his own natural talent on a mount, this was not a great challenge, and quickly she acquired a good grasp of horsemanship, and often would ride alongside the carriage wherein Queen Ygrainne sat. All was well until they neared Pocklington in the Deria Forest. Something caused Morgan's mount to start, and off into the undergrowth she galloped. Erec and Gaelavin set off with great haste, worried about what might befall their charge, and surprised at how quickly she became out of sight. It was not long until they discovered what it was that had panicked her steed. There, pacing the ground in front of them was a beast like none they had seen before. A horse-like creature, angry and snorting. Like an ox, it had long horns, but these long, sharp, protrusions moved, shifting independently, angling themselves with almost a life of their own to point towards them. Lowering their weapons, they charged towards it, causing it great harm as they did. Realising that the Knights of Gorre were coming from behind, they rode past this creature, leaving them to deal with it, more concerned about the Princess than about glory.

Almost immediately they stumbled upon a large serene lake where the trail came to the water's edge... In the middle of the lake, some distance away was a solitary island, small in size. Upon its shore they could see the small figure of Morgan dancing in the twilight. The water was too deep for her horse, and it was to far surely for such a slight maid to have swam so swiftly. How had she got there? Not waiting for this conundrum to be resolved, Gaelavin stript as far as was decent and plunged into the water and began to swim urgently and strongly across it. Arriving at the island, he found the Princess indeed happy and safe. A crude raft was constructed, and with the aid of one of the men from Gorre, Morgan was brought back to land, unknowing of how she got there in the first place. Queen Ygrainne was relieved to see her daughter, but troubled by Gaelavin and Erec's accounts of what had befallen her. 'Tell no one' she instructed them, no doubt worried about what further tales about Morgan might be spread abroad.

Eventually they reached Catterick by Uriens himself. Now a significant force, the rest of the journey was uneventful. At Gaiholm Castle, Margawse and Elaine, Morgan's older sisters awaited, with their husbands, King Lot of Lothian and Nentres of Garloth. The wedding was a joyous affair conducted in thick northern tones using pagan rites. The feast was exuberant and lavish as fitting such an occasion.

At the end of festivities, Ygrainne thanked Gaelavin and Erec for their efforts. Gifting them both a pound, she instructed them to leave her their and return home. Although they were only given escort as far as Cambenet, their return travels were swift and safe.