518AD: The Battle of Badon Hill (Day One)

Court this year was charged with a nervous excitement. The Saxons were massing with a force of 30,000 expected. 518AD would be the decisive conflict, one way or the other. Arthur had put the call out for all able men to fight, no matter how old. Even Gaelavin responded, maybe not as fit as once he was, but eager still to demonstrate his prowess and experience. The numbers of the Knights of the Round Table were filled, Sir Erec and Sir Gaelvius were amongst those newly honoured in this way, although how long they would live to enjoy the honour was uncertain.

Taking advantage of their local knowledge, Gaelvius and Erec set about preparing the landscape of Sailsbury plain as best they could to give them an edge in the fighting to come, but these efforts were to prove futile, to start with at least, as word came that Silchester had been besieged. Arthur ordered that the forces should march out to rescue them, only to find that they were ambushed as the crossed the Endbourne River. The forces that poured out against them were a dread force, more numerous than grains of sand on the beach. Arthur might have the superior troops, but they were vastly outnumbered and caught up in the water.

The order was given to charge and Erec, Gaelvius and Gaelavin charged with the rest of the Round Table Knights under the banner of Arthur and their own standard of the Knights of the Grail. The onslaught was vicious. Their senses were overwhelmed with sound and movement and they smashed into ranks of wild eyed barbarians wielding mighty clubs like trees. With a cry for Arthur and Britain they charged through them, finding themselves in the thick of the fighting.

Back they pulled again and again in a desperate attempt to break free to charge once more. Heorthgeneat, the Saxon warriors, fell upon them, young and old, grim faced in their determination to overcome Arthur’s forces and take Britain for their own. Squires were lost and lances smashed as they did so. Followers too died in the onslaught. Before the day was over Erec lost Sir Eiddef, and Sir Richerch fell from Sir Gaelvius’ ranks. These loses were exacerbated by arrows and the taunts of Sir Robert, still wrangled by the formation of the Knights of the Grail, calling them cowards for backing away from the thick of battle.

Finally clear they charged once more, triumphant against mounted heorthgeneat, crashing once more alongside Robert, finally able to return his insults to his face before a final pulling back and charge. By this point the skies had darkened and the order gone out to retreat back for the night. No sooner had they done so, than the rain began to fall, a torrential deluge that continued through the night. There would be no horses in the morrow.

They had made it through the day, wounded and with loses and slept a fitful night in fearful anticipation of the next day.