Sir Gawain

This story was found in paperwork held by an old librarian in the region of Penross in 1110.

My Story I tell to you now is a secret I commend to the Hunter to be revealed when it is the time of man again and that they need to understand from whence they came. I am Legius scribe to Theocras who served Frugilius who once serve the Great Artorious. These words I write will be pain to some and revelation to others. This land we found this Albion we strive to create now that the Empire has fallen must be built upon strong bedrock and so our actions must be recorded and those who sacrificed much must be recorded. The Ancestors of the Tribes of Albion are strange and uncivilised but Calligar is the worst amongst these, the Children of the Dragon oppose us yet they care for the Land and the Harvest, the Children of Nethras fight us for their people but this Green man it sough to destroy all chance that man might build might grow it seeks them to be animals. His followers were driven before us and the worship of the Hunts master, the Horned Man, the Hunter the Guardian of the Land spread. Yet Calligar formed forth a Champion of such great power that the Fledgling Ancestor and even our forces might be destroyed before him.

The Champion of the Green Man came to us upon the end of days and the beginning of the next and stood forth in front of our army. A Green Knight made of the trees of the forest and bound in the vines so that he was green and awesome to look upon. To our armise he lay waste so too, to the followers of the Hunter we led. Finally he faced us the Knights of the Lion, the Men of Artorius and spoke, “If one of you will face me to prove which of us is the strongest then I will let you flee with what I have left here.”

Then stood forth Gawain, Son of a Son of child of the Empire a true son of the Knights of the Lions he bore with him his sword gifted to him and his line by the Emporer himself. With the skill and ferocity of a Lion he drove his sword through the foul creature’s neck, severing its head. A great cry came from the Army of man then for we knew victory over the foulness that was Calligar. And then came another cry from which the very rocks would shrink as the head spoke. “Do you think, little man, that such a pathetic sword forged of Silver but not of the Moon could harm me? You are a fool. I give you one year and a day to face me and receive what you have done unto me by my hand or I will hunt down you and lay waste to all life in this land.” With those words the creature became as dust and mud.

Hearing these words, Gawain set forth himself clad within his father’s armour, the Lion upon his chest the blue of the sky. Moons passed and passed again, in many places did Gawain seek for the Green Knight, all the rumours he heard of its dedoubt were for naught and he grew despaired. With but two moons before the year had ended, Gawain came upon a strange castle. Dismounting at the door he begged the name of the Lord of the Castle from the door warden. “Sir, he is Lord Bertilak, a great hunter of Renown and slayer fo many wolves, and he bade me that you should enter and refresh yourself, sir, for he has heard of your quest and believes he may be able to aid you.”

Gawain entered into the castle and was greeted by both the Lord and the Lady Bertilak. “My Lord,” he asked, “I understand that you may know of the Green Knight and where I may find him.” “Indeed,” the Lord replied, “I am a tracker without compare and I shall find him for you if you will do one thing for me. You must stay here within my castle while I hunt him.” Gawain agreed quickly. “One more condition, Sir Knight, you must refuse no gift that my lady chooses to bestow upon you yet you must give each back to me on my return.” Gawain agreed once more and the Lord Bertilak whistled long and shrill. A ferocious Horse came to his hand and his hunting pack followed it, with no more words he rode forth.

Gawain spent many days with Lady Bertilak and seemed good company until the moon grew full. Upon the night of the full moon she summoned him to the great hall and spoke to him. “Sir Knight, do you fear the world? Does your fear rule you? Are you prey or predator?”

Gawain spoke though he was sorely confused. “I am predator, ma’am. A Hunter.”

“Truly,” she hissed, “Prove it.” And with a word she twisted and grew into a huge Wolf creature before his eyes. Her claws catching him across the chest and driving him to the floor. Gawain fought and struggled fearing that this was some trick by the Knight of Calligar to kill him before the appointed time. Struggle though he might, he could not break free, the Lady’s teeth bit into his neck, her claws tore at his arms and legs and then she let him be as blood flowed freely from all his wounds. And thus was born, though he knew it not yet, Gawain Knight Stalker, Champion of the Hunter in both Sun and Moon.

Gawain awoke the next morning with no marks upon him, telling himself it was but a night fever he went in search of the Lady of the Castle. Nowhere was she to be found, her servants told him it was her custom to see no one during the remaining nights of the moon. Confused, yet sure there was no more to it, Gawain spend the day in idle pleasure. That night as the moon’s light traced across his face he screamed and his bones broke and shifted, his jaw twisting, fur and claw growing upon his hands. “What is this?” he growled. “My first gift to you Sir Knight. Strength and the fury of the Hunter. Now let us hunt,” growled the Lady of the Castle who was no before him in her wolfen form. They ran upon that night and Gawain learned of his senses and of his need to hunt his lust for the chase and most importantly, how to master it.

Upond the next morning, Gawain awoke confused. He sought ouf the Lady yet once again she was nowhere to be found. This day he spend his day bent upon the task of books and scribing he wrote of all the things he had seen upon his journey and the changes that he was going through.

That night he awaited the moon’s light and as he changed he grew to feel his power and strength. Once again before him was the Lady of the Castle, this time she spoke no words but attacked him. For hours they fought bakc and forth, tooth and claws and Gawain was shocked for his wounds healed almost as soon as they were formed and slowly he came to believe that the Lady was teaching him how to fight in his new form, to use his teeth and claws instead of armour and sword. At the break of day he once again found the lady was gone.

For the next weeks, Gawain was confused. The Lady of the Castle treated him with respect and deference but no more did he change and not at all did she mention it.

On the day before the moon was to be full again, Lord Bertilak returned, his pack of hounds tired, his horse lathered. He strode into the castle his face grim, and called for Gawain. “Sir Knight, I have found the Green Knight and his Chapel to the fould Ancestor Calligar and if you will but fulfill upon our bargain and return to me any gifts given to you by my wife I shall show you whence it is.” Now Gawain was struck here with a problem he had not since the Knights of the Moon discovered how to effect the change upon himself and so could not fulfill his baragain. “My Lord, I cannot for what your wife gave me comes only upon the full moon and I do not understand how it could be given to another.” With his words the Lord grew wrath and then struck Gawain to the ground with a mighty blow such that he would have died of it. As Gawain’s life blood spilt out upon the land he felt his skin rip and change and the Lady’s gift was once more upon him. Springing to his feet he face the Lord Bertilak only to discover the Lord had changes also and before him stood a horned man. “Stay your hand, Gawain Knight Stalker. For such I name you, my true Champion for I am the Hunter, the Horned Man, he who you serve and the gifts you received from my wife are yours at my desire. Though I must say that if you look upon her now you will find her less to your taste.” As the Hunter spoke, the Lady of the Castle appeared by his side, her features sliding and changing into that of a wizened old brown sprite, and then to a goat legged sprite with skin as brown as the earth. “I have chosen you Gawain, to defeat Calligar and bind him away. You will build for me a Chapel and Guard it for me and all those who enter it will prove their worth agains you and your children. Go forth from this Castle and camp in the woods. In the morning you will find the camp of the Green Knight.”

Gawain went forth as he was bade from the Castle and camped, the knight preparing his armour and weapons for the next day. On the next morn he awoke and as the mist parted he saw before him the camp of the Green Knight. Stealing his strength, Gawain entered the Knight’s camp and called out to him, “Foul creature of Calligar, I stand before you. I dare you strike me as I struck you for I am willing to die for the land.” The Knight strode forth and with not a word drew forth his great green axe and struck at Gawain such a blow that it near hewed his head off. Then in arrogance it turned its back upon the servant of the Hunter saying “And so all such fools that oppose Calligar shall perish.” Then with a great cry Gawain rose up, his terrible wound closing before the creature’s eyes, his claws ripping forth from his fingers and his fur flowing acrsoss his hands as he tore the creature of Calligar apart tooth and claw and rending it in its holy place. When the creature was torn apart and Gawain’s rage had faded he slowly returned to his form and before him once again stood the Hunter. “This forest, this land and my Hunt are now a part of you Gawain Knight Stalker. By day you shall be Sir Gawain and by night you shall be my creature, the Stalker of Prey. You may create by your tooth and claw such as you, but they shall be your responsibility and your care. Make for me here a Chapel of Perils that any who survive visiting it shall be truly worthy of the gift you bear and fit to serve me.”

And so it was that Gawain defeated the Green Knight of Calligar by the grace of the Hunter, and so it was that the Chapel of Perils was built and few who entered it returned. Yet those that did served the Hunter truly.