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The Great Pendragon Campaign Part 2


#9983

He looks at the offered coin blankly, then, “Think about all the things you would be willing to die for.” He looks from Balen to Owain, answering both their questions in one.

“Your Lord, your family, your King, your Gods. Land? Possessions? What about your children’s future. Would you die not to keep them from harm, but to ensure their future was as good as it could be. What about your freedom? Would you die rather than be enslaved? To escape a tyrannical ruler? Saxon Rule?”

He pauses. “What if it wasn’t your life you were losing, but everything? You will die, that’s a given. Your loved ones will die or be enslaved, all your possessions taken, your land, your community devastated and your culture mortally wounded. What’s worth that? What would you give everything for?”

“Coin has no real meaning here, not at the moment. We gave everything for our King, for our freedom. When an enemy army arrives outside your walls, if you don’t surrender when you are called on, then you have to give everything or face a genocide. Surrender and face subjugation by barbarians, or live free and die, live free and lose everything.”

“We’ve faced that choice. We made our choice. This is the afterlife now. We won, but our culture was destroyed, our communities torn apart. Our land was salted and burned and destroyed. Everything we owned was taken, if not by the Saxons looting our manors, then by the orders of the King to keep order in the city. And we lost so many.”

“So, how are we doing? I don’t think we know yet. Power is the only currency understood in Eburacum, all are loyal to the King, but the King listens to those who speak the loudest. And the competition to speak the loudest is fierce. Loyalties flow like water, plots play out daily. On the surface, all is calm, but look below and it’s a feeding frenzy.”


#9984

The grim picture that Hamm paints is the same one that has been worrying Owain ever since he was old enough to remember. The tide of Saxons arriving in Briton seems unending; despite the victories won in the field, there are always more crossing the seas. The newly arrived Saxons in the South are just the latest wave of invaders. What price indeed is required to halt their advance? Is that price worth paying if it costs the culture and identity of the Cymric people?

Malahaut has just about survived, but it sounds like the wounds suffered run deep and may never heal. There’s important lessons to be learnt here if Logres is to avoid a similar fate.


#9985

Merrick was sitting back away from the group as Sir Hamm speaks to Sir Balen and Sir Owain, but he hears everything said. He rises and respectfully approaches the knights.

After a moment of thought, once Sir Hamm has finished, Merrick says, “The Saxons are like any people who are determined to expand their boundaries. They are relentless and will not stop until they are destroyed or have achieved their goal. The current foothold they have is proof of this. They have nothing to loose by attacking in such a dishonorable fashion. They would rather destroy the land than leave them fertile for the original inhabitants. In doing so they hope to spread fear and weaken resolve…”

Merrick’s eyes grow narrow briefly, trying to recall something from long ago. When he finds it he continues, “I do not have many memories of my father before he abandoned us for whatever reason it was… But I do remember one thing he told me long ago when I was a small child: ‘In times of peril; most assume those with nothing to loose will turn the fastest, but in practice those with the most to loose are likely to betray the words they speak and abandon the course to try to preserve or even grow what they have’… Honestly, it has never made much sense to me… I have seen the opposite proven true as well…”

“Sir Hamm, if you do not mind my asking, could you give us some insight on how the Saxons attacked?”


#9986

Balen has no answer to the question. Indeed, he doesn’t know if there is one. His respect for Hamm glows ever undimmed.


#9987

Last call for things to discuss with Sir Hamm that evening, before he heads back into the city?


#9988

(This question is still outstanding)


#9989

After all other questions are answered,
Balen returns Hamm to his horse.

“I must ask, why did they send you of all the knights out to greet us? Saving my life is one thing, but I know of your apprehension about my Earl.”


#9990

(I will be driving soon, so posting this early).

After Sir Hamm describes (or not) the recent Saxon advance, Merrick enquires, “How many did you lose in your engagement with the Saxons?”


#9991

Whilst Hamm answers the questions, Balen helps give out the spiced honey wine that has been prepared.


#9992

(apologies)

“Well, I can tell you what I know. Octa and Eosa, the warlord brothers raised great armies over the seas, they arrived in great numbers through the winter and they marched as soon as the ground was firm enough to not leave them helpless. They plundered and pillaged all in their path, but they made for Eburacum. Once their siege was established, they set to work looting the country, not before. I sense that you really wish to know how they raised so many men, why they would follow the brothers overseas to attack a place they had never heard of before, why the brothers decided to move when they did. None of these questions can be answered, not, at least by me.”


#9993

“I’m sorry to say that I did not know you were present, it bore no part in the decision making. I was chosen precisely because I do not trust your Earl, because I will not be swayed easily into intrigue by him, should he try to do so. Fortunately, he has not.”


#9994

“Now, that’s the sort of information that could see me hanging from a tree as a traitor!” laughs Hamm “I’m sure you’re here to extend the hand of friendship, and if his grace wishes to disclose information on the strength of our armies, then I shall ensure it remains his choice to make.”


#9995

Balen bows low.

“May the new day treat you well, It has been a long time since fortune favoured you. If Sir Genson still lives, pass on my highest respects.”


#9996

Merrick reddens at the blunder, “My apologies Sir Hamm. I had no intention of putting you into such a position to dispense sensitive information. I was carried away with curiosity of the enemy and it was careless of me to ask such a thing…”


#9997

Ryia watches the proceedings in silence. She was shocked at the extent of his wounds. To have survived so much and still be filled with such life is astounding to her. She tries to imagine herself in his shoes and is simply unable to. She has her own reasons for hating the Saxons, but hearing the atrocities they have committed in the north have sharpened her rage. She knows not what to say and finally averts her eyes from the scarred man, her courtesy overcoming her shock.

If she is honest with herself, she feels ashamed at her life thus far. She bragged about feeling at home with everyone except her brothers and sisters in arms, and that was more telling than she is willing to admit.


#9998

You spend a pleasant enough day with SIr Hamm, he is genial and polite, talkative, at least where he can be, and any signs of his previous suspicion of the Earl are very well hidden, though you catch the odd glare, especially at one point when Roderick retells the story of his wooing of Lady Ellen, and the unlikely Saxon ambush that Roderick blames squarely on Sir Blaine.

Come the evening, Sir Hamm says farewell and retires into the castle, if there is nothing that you wish to do in the night, then all passes peacefully, the city is quiet apart from the occasional barking of a dog, and close by the Nunnery Gate that you camp outside, someone keeps a goat which bleats occasionally.

We can resume, as the gates open, and Sir Hamm rides out once more, first thing in the morning.


#9999

Three things.

  1. What is the quality and health of Hamms horse?

  2. Has anyone else entered or exited?

  3. “So Lencten. What did you and Hamms squire talk about?”


#10000

There’s got to be more entrances to the city than just the Nunnery Gate. Owain will take his squires out for a ride to ‘stretch the horses legs’, but he’ll keep an eye open for any other traffic entering the city.


#10001

Sir Hamms horse is acceptable, but way below the standard of a horse allowed the freedom of a field. It has put on too much condition in the city, and it’s useful life expectancy is reduced as a result.

A few wagons have entered the Nunnery gate, what time does Owain take his walk?

Whatever time it is, these are the gates you scout:

Lencten:

“Well Sir, it turns out that both our families keep owls, so mostly owls.” The squire looks slightly abashed “But he keeps them all wrong, I swear, I didn’t mean to be rude but he needed telling, he was just so arrogant!”


#10002

“How So?”