Tuesday, June 9, 2015

485 - The Battle of Mearcred Creek


Our Knights, Tristian, Morah, and Jayden, travel with the Earl’s retinue to rendezvous with King Uther’s army just outside of Silchester. The King’s army is massive and the knights begin to feel anxious. This will be their first battle as knights and they struggle against a tide of anxiety and fear as they march closer to the site of the battle against the Saxon force led by King AElle.
The King’s forces finally confront the Saxons at a narrow valley, bordered on the south by dense woods and rolling hills to the north. The Saxons make camp in the woods while King Uther’s men strike their tents in the hills. The battle will take place in the valley, over a shallow stream called the Mearcred Creek.

With the moon high, the knights look over the field of battle, perhaps trying to envision the carnage to come or to screw up their courage for the inevitable slaughter. Sir Jayden’s keen tactical mind spots what he considers a fault in the battlefield which would put the King’s knights at a disadvantage. The ground north of the creek, over which they would be charging, is mired in deep, thick mud, while the ground to the south, upon which the Saxons would be assembling, was more rocky and solid. Jayden immediately seeks counsel with the King, but is turned aside by his house knights. Instead, Jayden and his companions seek out Sir Elad, their trusted trainer and friend. He surveys the battlefield and finds Jayden’s observations both insightful and valuable, so he takes the information to Earl Roderick, who takes it to the King. The King is grateful for the insight and thanks Sir Jayden for bringing the information to his attention. He asks Jayden how he would conduct the battle and is satisfied with his response. Jayden returns to his fellow knights with a bit more glory and the King’s respect, but whispers of him being disrespectful to the king filter throughout the camp.
As the sun rises, the knights find themselves assembling in the command of Sir Elad, who would lead their eschille. Earl Roderick himself addresses the group before the battle, offering words of encouragement and inspiration.

Across the creek, the Saxon forces scream and chant in their gutteral language, sending new waves of anxiety through the young knights. Sir Elad’s strong presence and forceful command set their minds at ease, however, and when the call comes to charge they set spurs to flanks and thunder across the valley, the tips of their lances shining brightly in the morning light.

The knights meet Saxon footmen, armed with longspears on their initial charge. Their lances strick true and Sir Elad’s forces smash through the Saxon lines, dealing death to their lightly armored foes.
As the knights recover from their charge, deep in enemy territory, their luck turns. Closely engaged, Sir Elad calls for his unit to fall back so as to allow for another charge. The order proves to be a disaster as they are attacked by well-trained but older Saxon warriors, clad in chainmail and wearing blue cloaks. Armed with long spears, these Saxons attack with ferocity and strike the knights hard, unseating Sir Jayden and wounding Sir Morah. Sir Tristian rallies his squire, Terric, and has him give his horse to Sir Jayden. Terric is more than happy to retire from the battle and scurries off toward friendly forces. The unit as a whole, however, is in disarray and threatening to unravel completely. Sir Elad attempts to rally his forces and calls to stand fast as axe-bearing warriors smash into his knights. Tristian, Morah, and Jayden fight with savage desperation and overwhelm the lightly armored axe-men by force of will and the might of their arms, driving back the attacking forces.

Sir Elad, finding the field around him clear, thanks in no small part to the heroics of Jayden, Morah, and Tristian, orders a charge against a group of shield warriors setting up for an attack.

Again, the knights smash into the smaller Saxon forces and rout them, sending them fleeing from the field of battle. Things are looking up for Sir Elad, until he makes another horrible error in judgement and allows his forces to be surrounded by another force of shield-bearers and axe-men. The knights fight with desperation and ferocity and manage to drive both groups off. As they recover from the fight, they hear the general retreat and fall back as both armies leave the field. King Uther’s forces prevail, but the victory is minor and come at great loss of life.

Sir Elad’s force was the most effective unit on the field and glory and praise is heaped upon him. Sir Jayden and Morah, however, confront the man about his tactical blunders during the battle and point out to all those within earshot that if not for their prowess, the entire unit would have been destroyed. Sir Elad is shamed in front of the Earl. With a face ruddy with embarrassment, he retires to his tent to await the return to Sarum.


At the Christmas Court later that year, Sir Jayden is confronted by an obviously drunk Sir Jaradan, who demands satisfaction for his loss to the Jayden earlier in the year, a duel to the death! Sir Jayden is able to talk his way out of the fight, much to the relief of the court, but feels that Jaradan’s hatred and envy of the young knight will lead to an inevitable confrontation.