The Harts Council of 1096 AF
Lord Calin arrival was delayed as ever by important business and the Council started just before midday in the Great Hall of Winchester Castle. Sir Hugo Charenten, his sister Lady Karlennon and Lord Calin were seated upon the stage. Just after the start of the Council some from the tribes of the Beastmen arrived from the fighting around Bristol.
Sir Hugo addressed the council, “I call the Council of Albion to order. Much has happened in our fair land. Unliving led by Golgamoth the Demon are in the North around York. Unliving in the South around Bristol. Corvus and Roxanne] have departed in search of one of their brats. There is no reason for them to return. Lions were lead by Duke Edmund D’Addernoir, better known as Edmund Blackadder until his assumed dimise when the city of York was reduced to rubble by the Unliving. Many Slayer nobles were also lost. They [the Unliving] are no longer in York and have not been sighted for over one week. Scouts from our armies have been sent out north and east of Warwick. The army is sorting out refugees. Their homes are in a very sad state of repair. We need help to assist these poor people.” Lady Karlennon added, “Golgamoth took Blackadder.”
Sir Hugo continued, “Jaddvor Erland has taken command of the remnants of the Lions. He is besieged in Bristol by a very large force of Unliving led by Lady Katrina. The ritual circle of Bristol has now been closed. No doubt that Schadel knows a little more.” Schadel stated, “Lady Katrina is still mortal but is becoming mortally…. challenged…. Bristol is completely encircled. There has been a large influx of Unliving of 3 to 5 legions. I would suggest you convince that upstart Floris to help.”
Lord Calin asked, “At what odds would you suggest would be required to stop the bodies of our comrades from joining the Unliving Army?” Schadel replied, “A ratio of two to one at least would be required.” With the concern of a Quartermaster, I added, “It is difficult at this time to keep armies of that size in the field for any length of time because of the problems of feeding them.”
Gerren of the Beastmen exclaimed as if in pain, “Why do you discuss so? The Beastmen are there now. We must face them now.” I stated, “Despite my concerns over feeding the armies, We must fight them now or never. There is no option.” After many comments with similar sentiments, Lady Karlennon with resolution in her voice said, “So we are agreed, gentlemen. We fight the Unliving now.”
Lady Karlennon then asked the Council, “The next problem is whose help can we accept? The following factions have offered assistance. Lord Lachlan, is marching on Gloucester as we speak and will be made welcome. Lord Arcane of Cymrija has offered three armies and are very close to Gloucester. Help has been offered by the Wolves but they are occupied with similar problems around the Rift and Orkneyjar. The Tarantulas have offered forces.” There was a general uproar from the hall from the last offer.
She continued only when Baron Tiamat called for order. “The Vipers have offered their assistance but are a long way away. The Unicorns have offered to bolster the Lion armies in Bristol.” There was much commotion in the hall again as Lord Calin pointed out, “My Lady, you have forgotten the assistance of the three Bear armies upon our Northern Borders that are led by Lord Wraith.”
I stated, “Accepting assistance from Drow is perilous and we need to be careful in our dealings especially with Chazymyr.” Felorian [a high elf] said, “The Tarantulas could give us an offer of food. They have no growing seasons. This is in the form of fungi” Master Violet stated, “I have heard many comments upon Drow but I state that their help should not be underestimated as they are very well organised indeed. They are also already on the march.”
Lady Akijah Na’Shaar calmly said, “I object against asking for any help from the Drow. There is a network under Albion, If the Drow send food they will send an army or two with it.” Lord Calin, “Like my Seneschal, I have little love for Drow. We have a serious problem of having combined armies where traditional allies are fighting side by side. Asking for Drow armies allows us to know where they are. I would propose putting the Drow Legions into Bristol and allowing them to fight their way out. That is the best use of Drow.” This was appreciated by most in the hall especially those already involved in fighting.
Baron Tiamat interjected, “The danger is that all these armies will bankrupt us.” I replied, “Let those factions that cannot help us immediately could promise us food and money which would tide us over until the main harvest in August.” Amongst the other comments, Gerren of the Beastmen said proudly, “Beastmen get you food, now.”
Lord Calin finally loses his temper with the proceedings, “Why LADY… Why are we helping your mad uncle’s cohort.” Lady Karlennon replied in a soft consolatory voice, “We must as they a men of Albion….. I ask all present not to bait him any longer. We must fight together or both fall under the greater evil.” Lady Ailish O’Donovan stood with Celtic vengeance written across her face, “That lying TURNCOAT. He is lying through his teeth to gain power. He said he would not follow Corvus but did so.” Tiamat said to Lady Ailish, “That is no standing outside Bristol and shouting Jaddvor is a W——.” This caused a much laughter.
William Hankin of the Dragoons, “Can we not lure the Unliving somewhere, say Bristol and then set them alight.” I replied to this interesting proposal, “The use of fire is very sensible. The use of fire breaks have proved in the past very successful. The driving of the Unliving into fire pits will be considered.”
Count Annias as High Sheriff shrewdly proposed, “I propose the use of combined armies to reduce the dangers to our land. Also separating hereditary enemies.” This was thought advisable.
Master Violet stated, “The origin of the Unliving is thought to come from the corrupted ritual circle in Norsca. The Rift. The Unliving then walked across the sea to Orkneyjar. There is at most five Unliving armies in Bristol.” Felorian said to this, “A battle of that size will last for more than 12 hours. The Drow can see in the dark and so have the advantage.” Schadel stated, “The Unliving army is slowly growing.” Lady Kathen added, “The Seeress of the Wolves states there is no Unliving in Norsca around the Rift. This is where Lord Wolf and Lady Tigre were lost. SatÃ»n has no more Unliving to send.”
Lord Calin asked, “Can we not expect help from all the Incantors Guild?” Lady Kathen Fairchild replied, “We cannot give this, it is up to the individual persons. She has only a finite number of corrupted patterns to put into a body.”
Schadel stated, “Destroying Katrina is a problem. The simplest way is to remove SatÃ»n’s power over her.” Amion Solitaire of the Death Jesters stood forward and proposed, “The Beastmen and the Death Jesters propose to attack Katrina.” s’Pika of the Beastmen replied, “Beastmen eat Katrina.” This caused much laughter in the hall. Also the realisation amongst many that it was not as strange as it sounded.
Lord Lankin as Lady Karlennon requested stood tall and addressed the Hall, “The Lios Alfar came to the Gathering and brought Incantor Magic back with them into your lands. It seems to be the concern of many that many centuries ago the Younger and Elder fought. We [the Lios Alfar] are very few now. The War was prompted by Mordred. We accept that the Younger Races were misled. The Lios Alfar support what is good for the present. At no time in the past has Good outweighed Evil. We are always there for balance. We settled in the Greenwood and for this we thank the gracious Lord General Calin. We are here for our own amusement. Are there any questions?” The hall was silent at this excellent explanation.
Lady Karlennon continued after a break for an excellent lunch, “Many have asked me what is to happen to Albion? At the Gathering, I will as the Guardian, summon Belith and then bind all the Swords of Waylund into Excalibur. This will summon the Pendragon. He is the pattern of Law and will define who is to be the True King to sit on the Pendragon Throne.” Schadel added, “The Pendragon and Mordred are linked. So calling upon one will mean the appearance of the other.”
Lady Karlennon replied to the concern in the number of Swords of Waylund, “Some swords are not the true swords of Waylund. Only I [Lady Karlennon as Guardian] can distinguish between the Dark Swords and the True Swords.”
After an extensive discussion, it was agreed that the Speaker of the Harts would have the right to veto the summoning of creatures whether existing or not. Also the Speaker had the right to decide their suitability on behalf of the Harts after due council.
Lady Karlennon then stated, “Many of you may be aware. There are a number of Cartographers surveying Albion. Many lands are without Lords. Those that have claim to land should submit this to me [Lady Karlennon] by the 1st June 1096 AF. On a lighter note I would like to commend the following for their great deeds. HBS in their own particular field. The Bacchus Bastards for their sterling service on the front gate. Clan McKinnon for being ever ready. The Hawkshead Archers and the Dragoons for their guard service. On a personal note, I would like to commend those that went on the quest for the Guardianship of the Swords of Waylund. Individually I would to give special mention to Captain Don Calamari of the Stag Knights and Sir Jamie Douglas of the Knights of the Dark Sun for their command of the gate. Count Annias for arranging the rituals. Lady Kathen for running between the Harts Camp and the Incantors Guild. Raynauld du Chatillon for keeping together the remnants of the Slayers.” These were acclaimed universally well.
She continued, “There are a few announcements of offices. Count Annias is stepping down from being Head Mage and Ritualist to become the High Sheriff. This will increase our faction funds. The following are Promoted to Court Baronies. Amion Solitaire of the Death Jester, Hawkeye of the Hawkshead Archers, Tobias Keerin of the Watchers of Darkwood in recognition of his service as the Healers Representative and Jasper my trusted bodyguards. Also as a wedding gift to my betrothed, Tarragon becomes the Duke of Winchester.”
Sticksss of the Beastmen strode forward and said, “We have been with you for one year and you have treated us with respect unlike our previous places of residence. We have made many friends….. A gallant Beastmen who died at Bristol asked that his Battlerobe should be presented to Lady Ailish. With the acceptance of this comes the obligation to fight with us in Bristol.” As he handed it to Lady Ailish, her eyes lit up with this challenge that she took up without reflection.
Just after this a breathless messenger from Grand Master Snake of the Scouts Guild delivered the proposed Gathering Treaty and left as soon as he arrived.
A Lieutenant from the Dragoons stood and said in a faltering manner, “The Tolkini ask for help. The king ran away with all the money. The Bretonians have sacked Tolkini. All our armies fell back. We ask for food aid. We understand your problems.” Lord General Calin of the Hunters answered, “We will in a few weeks will be able to help you.”
Lord General Calin of the Hunters, “I would like to announce the full Barony to Gerrick of the Watchers of Darkwood and announce that Baron Tarn was made General of the Hunter’s Armies at Gloucester. My Seneschal Lady Akijah Na’Shaar speaks upon my behalf when I am not present and consult my Sheriff, Sir Huw de Grognard upon military matters. Sticksss of the Beastmen will be the Mage Ritualist of the Hunters Alliance.” The Council was called to a formal close.