513AD: Castle of the Dolorous Garde

Sirs Stephen, Malaccus, Erec and Gaelvius were sent word from Arthur. Rumour had been heard of a castle housing a lord who stood against him on the edge of his realm. Such a state of affairs couldn't be allowed to continue unchecked. Prophecy had been heard to, talking of a stone set near the castle which could only be lifted by the one who would take the castle, but the talk did not centre upon that, rather upon the supernatural power said to be held by the castles current keeper. Loyal and obedient, they rode off with haste to attend to their King's command

Nearing where the castle was said to be, they found two guides who agreed for a fee to take them to near where the sorcerors castle stood, although they refused to go right to it, pointing out the final direction through the trees surrounding it that they would have to take. Bravely the knights continued alone through mist covered woodland.

Whilst the first part of their travel had been undisturbed, this final leg was not to be so. Their progress was impeded by strange creatures that sought to prevent their progress. A mightly cat like creature, only horse high and with flowing mane, rending teeth and razorlike claws beset them before it was dispatched. Sir Erec took it upon himself to skin it and dress his armour with its still warm skin. This fiend was followed by spectral knights that seemed to condense from the mist itself, setting upon them with fury and no fear (unike some of the knights, but their was no shame in that). Finally these too were dispatched, leaving the four knights free to cover the final distance to the castle.

Having left behind their guides with the promise of further pay should they still be there on their return, Sirs Erec, Gaelvius & Stephen headed on through the mist towards the Sorceror's castle and their aim of taking it for the Boy King. Had they been able to see it under the skin of the great lion that Sir Erec now wore, they would have seen that his fae armour continued to shine green. Enchantment was in the air. Erec, had he not been so well dressed, would have also noticed the drop in temperature that accompanied them as they progressed through the mists.

Eventually the crest of the castle rose above the fog bank. They were almost there! Coming closer they were able to soon see what awaited them clearly. The castle itself was a gloomy affair, dark and damp. Its drawbridge was up, leaving no clear way across the moat that lay around it. This was not the only obstruction between them and their entry. On the mainland side of the drawbridge, guarding where it would fall were the sillouhettes of two vast figures, glinting giants, their skin covered in a metalic sheen, hands grasping magnificent swords and shields the size of the knights themselves!

Before these two silent yet agressively alert guardians stood a vast rock embedded in the ground. Seeing this they were reminded of the prophecy they had heard about this place, that the Lord who could lift this stone would be the one who would take the castle.

Cautiously they approached the rock, watching the giant figures with care, noting that they turned their heads to follow them wherever they went, but uttered no sound nor made any attack. One by one they attempted to move the boulder, but not one inch would it move. Much to his chargrin, the newly knighted Stephen distressed his back, such was his effort, leaving him with great pain in movement.

Unable to move it by force alone (a fact that set great melancholy upon Sir Erec), they began to attempt more cunning approaches, with rope and horses and whatever they could find to provide leverage. In the end they admitted defeat and began to discuss how they could enter the castle and continue on their quest. It was Sir Gaelvius who came up with the idea of casting a rope so that it caught upon the drawbridge. With a mighty effort this was acheived. Stephen volunteered to attempt to climb up to it, perhaps he could open the drawbridge completely - by pulling only a yard or so of movement had been acheived. Erec and Gaelvius were concerned about what could happen if he tried this, and so a plan was hatched. At the moment he started to ascend, they would charge at the two giants, attempting to throw them into the moat, if not worse, and so protect Stephen from their attention.

As one they moved, but alas, the mounted knights were not able to distract the guardians. As Stephen realised what had happened, he made to escape, cutting through the rope upon which he was suspended, but too slow! The blade of one fell upon him, wounding him most greviously, leaving him strewn upon the bank unconscious and near to death...

Whilst the squires attempted to rescue and revive Sir Stephen, Erec and Gaelvius did mighty battle with the giants. Calling upon their passion for Arthur against whom their lord did seemst to stand they fought with majestic strength and valour. Somehow they did manage to fell these misshapen creatures. With Stephen treated and revived, although still sorely distressed, Gaelvius stripped to him underjerkins and ascended to the top of the drawbridge across a new rope and prepared to descend...