Adventure of Sword Lake

Synopsis
Wherein an unexpected round of garrison duty leads to an even more unexpected adventure in the company of Merlin the Magician! After proving their worth by defeating a small giant, Merlin leads them into a magical forest. From there, he leaves them to journey out onto a lake whilst the knights defend him from a fierce nukalavee. On the lake, a slender arm extends from the water, gifting to Merlin a beautiful, mysterious sword. Merlin takes the sword reverently and hides it within his cloak. Returning to shore, he thanks the knights for their service and takes his leave of them.

Year
486

Time
Early summer

Locations
Sarum
Baverstock
Tisbury
Modron’s Forest
Vagon
Stapleford

Participating PCs
Sir Finnian (64)
Sir Gordon (64)
Sir Henry (64)
Sir Keith (139)
Sir Kendrick (139)
Sir Marcus (64)
Sir Marcus Scipio (149)
Sir Pedivere (135)

Notable NPCs
Lady Elaine, wife of Sir Pedivere
Lady Gladys, wife of Sir Henry
Sir Leo, venerable knight of Earl Roderick’s court
Merlin, powerful magician and trusted advisor to King Uther Pendragon
Earl Roderick, ruler of Salisbury
Sir Elad, Castellan of Vagon


The Tale

Like Fathers, Like Sons

During Pentecost Court, Prince Madoc made known his intention to gather up some knights and blunt Saxon gains in the north by raiding heavily through the Colchester area. He specifically sought out the player knights, having heard tales of their fathers from the years Uther engaged in similar activity.

The knights were, almost to a man, excited by the possibility by this opportunity to follow in their fathers’ footsteps with the charismatic prince. Even Sir Henry, whose poor father Sir Corryn never lived to join his brothers-in-arms in Uther’s raids, was eager to resume his Saxon slaying. The only detractor was Sir Pedivere, whose brusque refusal of Prince Madoc’s invitation (on the grounds that he owed his House some stability) became the scandalous talk of the court.

Orders From The Earl

The knights arrived in Sarum, ready for adventure. As if they were newly minted squires waiting on their first appointments, they talked excitedly amongst themselves about the merry burning and pillaging to be done that summer. It was with stupefied shock that Earl Roderick consigned the lot of them to garrison duty. Their mouths worked, but no sound came out (nor did anyone notice the quiet grin which broke across Pedivere’s face).

Sir Kendrick and Sir Keith were most agitated. Sir Hywel told them in no uncertain terms to move along. Sir Kendrick later tracked down Sir Leo, a goodly Christian and respected knight of the court, to plead their case. Sir Leo had softer words for Kendrick, but the same message: their liege’s word is law and they would do well to obey it.

With heavy hearts, they set forth from Sarum, striking a westerly course down the Naddar River. At Baverstock, they dined with Lady Gladys and the Macsul clan. Further down, they returned to Tisbury where their adventure together had begun. There, they were welcomed by Lady Elaine, the former Maid of Tisbury, and the Fournier household.

A Strange Encounter

Shortly past Tisbury, they were accosted by an elderly goatherd who entreated the knights to do something not particularly heroic: fetch his prize goat, for it had gone astray. The knights, already feeling that this duty was something of a joke, decided to undertake the quest. They then espied a goat of unusual size atop a nearby hill. While the other knights went after it, Sir Pedivere stayed with the goatherd, curious that he had never heard of such a specimen or this goatherd so near his own lands.

Atop the hill, old Roman ruins were found. While Keith, Kendrick, and Gordon took a look around, the remaining four chased after the goat down the other side of the hill and into Modron’s Forest. In the forest, they heard the goat cry out shrilly and then emerge from the woods…in the hands of a three-eyed giant! The giant bellowed when it saw the knights, tossing the goat aside and easily ripping a tree out of the ground to use as a club!

While large, the giant’s moves were slow and easily telegraphed. The knights were able to avoid its devastating swings, though their own proved ineffective (save for the swings of the Little Giant’s great axe). Upon the hill, the knights heard the clamor and raced to the action. Battle was joined, only to have Sir Kendrick’s horse leveled with a single blow. Fortune favored young Worboys, though, as he nimbly dodged the giant’s follow-up attack, causing the tree to splinter into pieces upon the ground. The giant then picked up a boulder and nearly ended Sir Marcus’ life with a terrific strike. Before the giant could do any more damage, he was finally felled with a spear thrust from Sir Marcus Scipio.

It was then that the knights noticed the old goatherd cheering for them. Sir Pedivere and the squires were at a loss, too, at how they ended up on the other side of the hill with no sense of traveling or passage of time. As the goatherd approached the players, a mist swirled around him and when it lifted, the figure of Merlin the Magician was revealed! Applauding the knights’ ability, he entreated them to dismount and follow him into the forest.

A Place Both Real and Unreal

Soon after entering Modron’s Forest, the knights quickly became aware that they were entering a realm of the fantastic. The very air seemed to shimmer around them and the forest grew dense and nigh-impenetrable. The knights struggled to move forward even even as Merlin unerringly made his way through it. At points, both Sir Pedivere and Sir Marcus Scipio seemed lost and about to wander off before an attentive Sir Keith and Sir Kendrick called them back.

When they emerged from the forest, it was into a clearing leading up to large, beautifully placid lake. The lake was ringed by the same dense forest. Even Merlin paused to take in this view and contemplate the significance of where they stood. It was Sir Kendrick who first noticed that, somehow, Sir Henry, Sir Gordon, and Sir Finnian were not with them.

As the knights cast about for their comrades, a vague silhouette of knight on horseback was seen galloping through the forest in their direction – a knight moving far too swiftly and surely given the density of the forest. Merlin, too, noticed this knight, which seemed to stir him from his thoughts. Calling on the knights to do their duty and protect him, he strode off toward the lake. At the same time, opposite them, the warrior emerged from the forest. Though only Sir Kendrick recognized it for what it was, the knights faced a terrible nukalavee!

Blood & Water

The nukalavee wielded two swords and, as the knights watched in grim fascination, sprouted two more arms and ripped up thick branches to wield as cudgels. Within moments, it was amongst them, trying to get at Merlin. The knights blocked its path and battle was joined.

Sir Marcus Scipio and Sir Pedivere stabbed at it with their spears, while Sir Keith attempted to ward off its initial strike and Sir Kendrick attempted to grapple with it (before ultimately realizing the futility of it). The knights suffered an initial loss right away when Sir Marcus, who had arrived with them but was strangely silent, began stumbling around out of sorts (as if drunk). The forest was having some sort of strange effect on him and before he could aid his fellow knights at all, he fell face-first into the grass, utterly insensate.

The creature atteacked without quarter or mercy. Sir Marcus Scipio was struck to the ground on the precipice of death, while each of the knights were knocked down in turn. With each wound, the nukalavee shed water to mix with the blood being shed by knights. It was in this moment, when the nukalavee prepared to face off with a wounded Sir Kendrick in a combat that may very well have killed the knight, that a prone Sir Pedivere stabbed upward with his spear and finished off the creature.

The Lady of the Lake

Sir Kendrick adroitly administered first aid to Sir Marcus Scipio, surely saving his friend’s life. The four knights limped their way to the edge of the lake where they witnessed a wondrous sight: Merlin alone on a small boat in the middle of the lake receiving a sword from the hand of a woman reaching out from beneath the lake water. Though they did not understand what they were seeing, this was The Lady of the Lake granting the sword Excalibur to the magician.

Merlin returned and thanked the knights for their service (though he did not heal Sir Marcus the Roman). They revived Sir Marcus and then the five of them followed Merlin through the forest to where they fought the giant. There, they found no sign of the giant but their squires and fellow knights were present. The magician then disappeared when no one was looking, leaving the knights with many questions and yet (for some) a profound sense of having aided in something important.

The Aftermath

The knights brought Sir Marcus the Roman to Tisbury for additional aid. In Sir Pedivere’s manor, there was much debate over what should be done. Sir Keith argued that they should not readily discuss the matter of the sword, feeling that they intruded upon a private sight – like coming upon a pair of lovers. Sir Kendrick and Sir Pedivere, though, argued that they owed their liege the whole story.

The question then became when to tell Earl Roderick. Sir Kendrick volunteered to go to Sarum while the others continued their patrol, but Sir Keith nixed that (specifically bringing up Sir Kendrick’s tendency to self-promote) and volunteered to go himself. Sir Keith did so, telling the tale to an enraptured Earl and later to the Sarum court before rejoining his comrades at Vagon. At Earl Roderick’s behest, they escorted Sir Marcus the Roman back to Stapleford so that he could finish his recovery there. The knights finished their patrol, returned to Sarum where they made a full report, and returned to their manors for the harvest season.

Of Merlin or his curious treasure, there was no further word…not until Christmas of that year.


Glory Awards
100 glory for slaying the small giant (14 split amongst all knights except Pedivere)
10 glory for landing the killing blow on the giant (Sir Marcus Scipio)
50 glory for following Merlin into the forest to aid him (all knights)
100 glory for slaying the nukalavee (25 split amongst Sir Keith, Sir Kendrick, Sir Marcus Scipio, and Sir Pedivere)
10 glory for landing the killing blow on the nukalavee (Sir Pedivere)
50 glory for those knights who aided Merlin in retrieving Excalibur (Sir Keith, Sir Kendrick, Sir Marcus Scipio, and Sir Pedivere)

Total possible glory: 320


Associated Adventure Logs
Session 6
Session 7

Adventure of Sword Lake

Pendragon Grand Campaign phimseto phimseto