In the year of our Lord 486, three young knights are charged to patrol the roads of Sarum to Amesbury.
Sir Dalan de Steple Langford, Sir Guy de Woodford and Sir Leon du Stapleford set off from Sarum in the spring of 486 to travel north on a routine patrol towards Amesbury, taking stock of the the roads, travellers and reports from Earl Roderick’s vassels holdings. For 3 days they traveled via Stratford, Durnford and then Lake towards Amesbury meeting few travellers along the way including a man of the Christian cloth and a peasent merchant, both heading for Sarum. The monk was greated warmly by Sir Guy de Woodford who offered a donation and sent the man on towards Sarum. The peasent merchant was told to visit each of the knights manors with his wares rather than travel to Sarum where he could sell his wares directly to the knights retainers and stewards.
After another morning on the road the three knights were approached by an old man dressed in tattered goat-skins, claiming that he had lost one of his herd over the rock hillside and would they be so kind to an old, infirm man as to chase down the errant billy goat.
Sir Dalan and Sir Guy immediately set off on horseback up the hill, reluctantly followed by Sir Leon and the squires. Upon the hill top they saw an old manorial ruin and Sir Leon and Sir Guy spooted the animal while Sir Dalan was busy admiring the old ruins.
Sir Dalan and Sir Guy gave chase after the goat with the squires and Sir Leon providing encouragement from the hill, as they raced to catch the goat to no avail as it bounded into a nearby forest. Giving chase the two knight were startled when the goat was then found in the hands of a large 3 eyed giant stoming through the woods towards them, goat in hands. Sir Dalan tried to converse with the monstrous creature, who promptly threw the goat behind him and picked up a large boulder.
Taking this as an act of aggression Sir Guy began a charge towards the creature, lance in hand and bellowing teh name of his amor, Lady Gwiona inspiring him to great deads. A good thing too as the giant unleashed the boulder, over his head forunately, where upon it hit Sir Dalan squarely in the chest, unhorsing him and causing a large wound despite his armour. The lance stuck and tore a hole in the giant, causing a bellow to be heard from outside of the woods by Sir Leon who then spurred his mount to give aid to his follow knights in the woods.
Sir Leon and Sir Guy both broke lances against the giant while Sir Dalan regained his feet and bravely attacked the gaint on foot distracting the creature with shouts and defensive manouvers long enough to allow the horse back riders to attack again with lance and sword. Finally overcome by its wounds the giant fell to the ground and was dispatched by the vigulant Sir Dalan.
At this point the knights heard laughter coming from somewhere and moved to exit the woods, only to find the old man in fits of laughter, whereupon he changed before their very eyes into a mature man of middling years, carrying a great staff and dressed in grey robes.
His response to the knights battle was one of apparent glee and he simply told the knights they they had passed a test and must now accompany him for the honour of their king and country.
Not knowing exactly what was happening the knights dismounted and followed the gentleman back into the forest, winding their way between trees for a short time until the man held up his staff and seemed to converse with the forest itself. In a short time he again moved forward with the knights still none the wiser as to who he was or what was happening. In a matter of minutes the knights were told to stop near a glade over looking a lake. He the strange fellow told them that they should protect him during his mission and started towards the lake while a large green slimed rider and horse charged from the brush.
Sir Guy attempted to unhorse the rider but seemed to be unable to do so as it charged past. Sir Dalan attempted to instill a sense of honour to the combat but failed and was seen to be disheartened during the battle and indeed afterwards. Sir Leon stuck a might blow and noticed that the horse and rider seemed to be as one, and that the rider grew another arm which rapidly moved to grasp another sword. The three knights gave their all and in a short but fierce battle slew the rider and horse.
After the fight the knights converged on the shores of the lake to see in the distance the old man, standing on a boat, converse with the misted waters where upon a hand emerged and gave him a sword unlike any they had seen.
When the boat returned, the gentleman led the party back out of the woods to the hillside and told the knights that they had provided a great service to King Uther and Logres. As he was ready to take his leave, Sir Leon innocently asked the mans name. “I am the advisor to the King, Merlin by another name” was the reply.
Riding back to Sarum after completing their mission the knights told Earl Roderick of their encounters and the reports of the lands. Upon hearing of the adventure of the knights with Merlin a large feast was laid on for that evening.
The course of the feast provided many highlights including the fambling dances of the knights with the ladies of the courts, Sir Leon’s capacities for both food and mead and Sir Dalan’s inability to compose a poem with another young knight enthralled by the beauty of teh ladies of the court.
Sir Guy meanwhile requested that Lady Gwiona allow him another dance to make amends for his earlier fumbling. Enamoured by his apparent reverse of dancing skills into what can only be described as a virtuoso performance, Lady Gwiona allowed Sir Guy to ask for her hand and promptly agreed to be wed to him that very winter.
The knights retired to their manors to prepare for autumn and winter and the marriage of Sir Guy de Woodford to Lady Gwiona. During this time it was seen to be a new fashion for songs of deads to be popular around the hearth and the “Love Song of Guy and Gwiona” and the “Song of Dalan and the Giant” were heard throughout Salisbury.
The wedding was a lavish affair, presided over by the local priest and attended by all local knights including Earl Roderick who presented Sir Guy with a charger shod in Fae horseshoes. After the wedding Sir Guy took control of his wifes two manors which was very timely after a rough years harvest for the knight. It was also noted that soon after the honeymoon period that Lady Gwiona was looking even more radiant than usual and by spring of 487 was proudly seen to show the beginnings of a small bump, Sir Guy’s first child.