By the winter fire 511
The new King and his ideals is making huge impact on the new royal court. Impressed nobles, ladies and eager young knights are flocking to the court in an attempt to gain favour.
At winter court, a strange knight asks for hospitality. His old Norman-style armor is all brown, though not with rust, and his sword and spear both gleam. His shield is also Norman style, but instead of a normal coat-of-arms he has an oak branch attached to its face. He has only one squire.
The stranger introduces himself as the Brown Knight of the Wilds (le Chevalier Brun des Terres Sauvages). He says,
“I have heard your ideas of honor among men, and I have come to see if this is a court where such things are only spoken about, or if they are acted upon.”
Arthur greets him warmly and invites him to sup at his board for the winter. The Knight of the Wilds accepts.
Roman ambassadors. Early in the spring, twelve ambassadors arrive from Rome. Senators, praetors, and centurions, they tramp solemnly into court. They demand that King Arthur submit to the emperor and pay tribute, “for Britain is and always has been part of the Roman Empire.”
King Arthur refuses, saying that perhaps the Romans should submit to Britain since all the best emperors came from this island. He then sends them packing back to Rome, saying that the only tribute that the Britons will send are sharp swords and spears. The ambassadors do not try to linger, but leave angrily.
“Hervis de Revel is certainly a wonderful knight, isn’t he? That raid against the Saxons was bold and well executed, despite some losses. (We should expect that among fighting men, after all.) He is a fine example to prove that a knight does not have to be a great landholder to shine famously among us.”
“Those Romans are certainly arrogant, aren’t they? I am glad the king treated them as he did. I hope that those stodgy Romans in the cities don’t forget where their loyalty lies!”
“Mmm, and Margawse was certainly a charmer, wasn’t she? Everyone says that, of all the laughters, she got most of her mother’s looks.”
“Well, if Ygraine was half as beautiful as Margawse, I can understand Uther’s legendary lust for her!”
“And Margawse certainly cozied up to the young king, didn’t she? Do you think they…? Well, what do you suppose Lot will say?!”“Oh, I don’t think he minds. They are pagans, after all — you know how they feel about such things. But I have heard that she is pregnant now. Even you can count the months backward… and where was King Lot then?”
- Gossiping ladies
“We are entering new times. Exciting deeds are forming in the hearts and minds of men. Dire emergencies are rising from the depths of the land. Magic is being raised anew, coursing through the roots of the land to be eaten and drunk by all. Listen to the king, for he has secrets to improve the future.”
“Those stupid Romans. Imagine them thinking we’ll surrender! It’s the last we’ll see of them!”
“Knighthood is marvelous, but chivalry is a knight’s duty. Chivalry. Just as knights have been set above the normal run of mankind, so are the chivalrous set above other knights.”
“We are going to march against the northern kings this summer. Maybe even against Malahaut if they try to resist. We are going to teach King Lot what it means to resist the rightful king now!”
“A year without war! The new king’s reign is auspicious already! And if that riffraff aetheling ever comes here demanding money again, don’t even let him into the door.”
"This wedding is truly the most amazing thing that ever happened in Hillfort..."
- Hundred Court