The Story of Sir Morah of Winterbourne, a knight in the service of Earl Roderick
Life of Sir Morah as Told by his grandson to his great, great grandchildren.
Young ones let me tell you of the first year they called your great great grandfather Sir Morah.
The year was 485. As with any knight your great great grandfather was known only as Morah as he had not yet earned the title Sir. Early spring came that year and as a final test, their knighthood was believed eminent, him and his longtime friends Jayden and Tristian were put through the grinder. Morah was the first to go through the trials and started out loudly declaring his famous loyalty for Earl Roderick and even though his horsemanship was not known to be outstanding he seemed as though he was a champion horse rider! He flew through the course jumping bushes and ditches with great ease. He was set to make an expert time when at the last test, the two on one fight, where instead of hitting the squires below he threw his sword. Were it not for that mishap he would have surely won instead of finishing second.
The next day Morah and his friends were called to Sarum as war was waging and men were needed. On the road there they came across three bandits beating a poor farmer. The three were directed to fight the bandits and Morah, being a valorous squire, quickly squared off against the one who posed the most challenging. After a few seconds of blow after blow Morah knocked the man off the cart he was standing on and demanded the bandit’s surrender. Morah was well known to be an incredibly just knight and justice was due this man so they took him as their prisoner and gave him to the earl when they reached Sarum.
Two days after arriving and Sarum Morah would forever be known was Sir Morah for he and his friends were knighted. Now you’ve all heard of the leap. Well Sir Morah had too, but in a grand fashion forgot the leap part and tripped right into the rump of his horse. It is lucky that he is not known through the land for this magnificent failure though he is known to have joked about it during his life.
Sir Tristian's tale, a knight of Cholderton in the service of Earl Roderick
The year is 485, and yet it seems just like any other year, Sir Osbert the famed and feared knight known as “The Bear” has yet to improve his boar’ish attitude and demeanor towards me, or anyone really so I guess it’s just not me. On the bright side though, while I may not of scored high, I at least passed Sir Elad’s Grinder, a task to which I know that not even “The Bear” himself has…..
Talks of Saxons and war are spreading like wildfire these days, some tell tales of that squires may be knighted to help improve the Lord’s Army size. I hope this to be true, to test my mettle against Saxons would be far more glorious then sparring with these silly wooden effigies they call training dummies…
By the request of Sir Elad, we occupied him to Sarum when something most interesting occurred, we encountered a local being accosted by brigands. I swiftly flew into the fray and slew the vile thug with one swing of my sword in the Earl’s name, though admittedly on the inside it was no more glorious than dealing with those Effigies again…
Seems some lively entertainment befalls us tonight, Sir Jaradan, the supposedly renowned knight known for his swordsmanship challenged my friend Jayden to a duel. It seems that all the knights bet on sir Jaradan to win but three…. I of course was one of the three, Morah was another, and to my surprise, Sir Elad was the last…. Sir Jaradan may be skilled, but to be famed is to be arrogant, and to be arrogant would lead to his downfall. For it was with one mighty swing that Jayden knocked the arrogant fool on his buttocks in front of the entire court. The Knights that lost to our bets were at a loss for words, though Morah and myself just grinned quietly knowing that this would be the outcome.
Rumors of knighting seemed to be true, but alas, Sir Osbert being the stubborn man did not name me for recommendation…. Only after I stood up to him did he finally relent and with the rest of the squires I became a knight, and now I am one step closer to my goal, to overcome sir Osbert and truly prove I am stronger than he is, in both body and soul…..
From the journal of Sir Jayden of Broughton, a knight in the service of Earl Roderick
Spring of this 485th year of our Lord
Transcribed by Father Tewi
I, Sir Jayden newly knighted servant of Earl Roderick have decided to begin the keeping of a record in which I may put down my thoughts and experiences. Due to my inability to both read and write I have enlisted the help of the venerable local Priest of Sarum Father Tewi to help me in this. I hope that with time I will learn to read and write. I feel that a man of my great station should be able to do such things. I am no common peasant. A man of honor such as myself should know of these matters.
The reason I am starting now is my recent knighting. I am now a Sir. No longer a Squire. Because of this I believe that a record should be kept of my actions and the actions of my fellow knights.
Let’s begin with my recent bout with Sir Jaradan. It is said that Sir Jaradan is supposedly the finest swordsman in all of Salisbury. I have to disagree. To begin a fine swordsman does not play with his opponent, instead a fine swordsman would take his opponent seriously. Not playfully tapping their sword on their opponents shoulder. I am a bold man. This is the truth of the matter. Entering into that duel I had no idea which one of us would leave with their pride intact. I knew I was not the favorite to win, most bet against me. But I would not back down. I made them eat their own words. The buffoon tried to play the crowd, and I took advantage of it. As he was distracted while dancing around me I caught him off guard with an unexpected sweep of my sword and sent him flying into the wall. I took everyone by surprise, even the Earl who exclaimed “Good Lord”.
On top of the Victory I had against Sir Jaradan there were the Ladies that my dear friend Sir Amaury de Ganis had introduced me to. Of course, I made a great fool of myself only making Sir Amaury de Ganis look all the better in comparison. It isn’t his fault. I know I am not the best looking or most suave of men, but I hope to make up for these faults with strength of arms and honor in battle. I dedicated my victory over Sir Jaradan to the lovely Lady Gwiona who had taken my breath away when I first saw her. Some say she is cursed but if this is so I seek to shatter it.
The spring of 485 found our young squires, Jayden, Tristian, and Morah, in the court at Vagon Castle, where they had wintered with their knights and were continuing their martial training under the tutelage of Sir Elad, the Marshal of Salisbury and Castellan of Vagon Castle.
Sir Elad had heard that the squires, having reached the age of 21, were soon to be knighted, and not a moment too soon. King Uther had called up all able knights to battle the Saxon King Aelle. All eligible squires were to report immediately to their liege, Earl Roderick, and receive their sword and spurs. Sir Elad had but one task for them left: The dreaded Grinder!
The Grinder is a steeple chase of sorts, mixing horsemanship with combat arms in a gruelling and dangerous course. Many a young squire has failed to complete the Grinder, much to their life-long shame. The famous Knight, Sir Osbert, is among those who failed to complete the course.
Morah was the first knight on the course, astride his trusty charger. He completed all the jumping tasks along the course, but failed to strike the quintain and failed the “footman’s ambush” task. He finished the course with a score of 46.
Tristian was next on the course. He also failed the “footman’s ambush” as well as the solitary lance target and the ditch jump. His final score was 48.
Finally, Jayden ran the course. He also failed to strike the stationary lance target, but partially completed the “footman’s ambush”, the only squire to do so on the day. He won the course with a total score of 42 (the lower the better). He received 20 glory, while the others received 10 for having completed the course.
Sir Elad and the squires left for Sarum immediately, leaving their knights to follow along later with the supply trains. Elad was anxious to get the squires to the Earl, not knowing exactly how quickly he wanted to knight them. On the road to Sarum, the squires and Sir Elad encountered a few bandits harassing a farmer on his cart. The squires sprang into action and routed the bandits, killing two and taking one prisoner.
At Sarum, the Earl was impressed by their actions on the road and took time to congratulate and speak with each of the squires. The squires spent the rest of that evening in prayer with Father Tewi at the Church of Salisbury and playing chess in the Earl’s Great Hall with the rest of the squires and pages.
The next day, the squires were treated to witnessing the arrival of Prince Madoc, who brought news of a second Saxon force marshalling at Caercolun. Prince Madoc declared openly that all eligible squires were to be knighted on the marrow by order of his father, the King, and called for a feast to celebrate. The knights from Vagon finally arrived and the squires were put to work arranging their kits for battle and seeing to their horses. Sir Osbert swore that he would not nominate young squire Tritian for knighthood.
At the feast that night, the squires were able to meet and introduce themselves to many ladies of the court, including the beautiful Lady Elaine, Lady Gwiona, Lady Adwen, and the dowager Lady Indeg. Sir Amaury was his usual charming self, and was confronted by Sir Walter after he spent some time flirting with Lady Elaine. Calmer heads prevailed, however, and Sir Walter was pulled aside and calmed down. Sir Osbert, as usual, drank himself under a table…literally. He managed to embarrass himself and his squire, Tristian, a situation that Tristian is all too familiar with.
Toward the end of the evening, Sir Jaradan, known as the finest swordsman in all of Salisbury, challenged Jayden to a duel. Jaradan struck the first blow, a light tap upon Jayden’s shoulder. It was obvious to the court that he was merely toying with the young squire. Jayden, however, would have none of it and knocked Jaradan off his feet with a staggering blow, causing the Earl himself to rise and exclaim, “Good Lord!” For his part, Sir Jaradan took the loss in stride, but promised to see Jayden upon the field of honor again. Much money changed hands that night, including a large wager between the Earl and Sir Elad.
The next morning, Jayden and Morah were nominated by their knights, but Sir Osbert, true to his word, refused to nominate Tristian. Tristian, before the entire assembled court, launched into a stirring oration and was able to sway the recalcitrant knight. Sir Osbert finally conceded and offered Tristian for knighthood. After the ceremony, all but Sir Morah made the leap. Morah, much to the delight of the court, stumbled and planted himself face-first into his horse’s ass.
The Earl’s entourage set forth immediately for Silchester to rendezvous with King Uther and bring battle to the hated Saxons.