492 - The Knights Who Condemned Merlin

With Duke Gorlois dead and the Saxon threat averted for the moment, spring court was now scene for weddings - Uther had decided to marry off Ygraine's two eldest daughters, Margawse and Elaine. No expenses were spared in the affair, and it was King Uther himself who gave away the brides. Because of no imminent threat, the knights were ordered on guard duty for the summer.

The summer went on with little surprises, until one morning the knights were met with Merlin, who once again asked them to serve Britain's cause, leading the knights to the woods. The druid offered no explanation nor answered any questions as they strode through the forest, until at one point the sage motioned everyone to stop. After examining the surroundings, the wizard asked the knights to wait until he would return. Merlin was also noticeably worried for Sir Plaine and his son, since the knight was evidently still shocked from the loss of his wife and somewhat incoherent.

A couple of hours later Merlin returned with something under his robes, striding quickly through the woods, and ordered the waiting knights to delay anyone who would come behind him before disappearing himself. Soon after, armored men on horseback rode to the scene, shouting for Merlin and calling him a traitor. Sir Pellogres prepared for combat, but upon seeing the men realized that they were the King's own guard!

Their leader was sir Brastias, Uther's bodyguard, who asked if they had seen the wizard and where he went. Pellogres gave them false directions, and Brastias sent his men according to those. He explained that Merlin had kidnapped the king's new-born son and escaped. Sir Brastias then inquired the knights' business in the forest, and because of Sir Plaine's ramblings, the bodyguard became very suspicious of their activities and told them to report to Sir Roderick before coming to the king in a fortnight's time.

Before returning to the Earl, the knights hunted down a boar which they left in the forest to rot.

Earl Roderick, upon hearing their tale, took them as quests in his manor hall and decided to accompany them to see the king. After a week, they set for Tintagel castle, where the knights were promptly arrested and put on immediate trial for treason because of the accusation of Sir Brastias, with Uther himself as the presiding judge.

The knights were stripped of their belongings and led to the castle yard for public trial. They were interrogated by many nobles and churchmen, many of whom seemed not to be completely honest themselves. Earl Roderick remained as a staunch supporter of the Salisbury knights through the trial.

After many defensive speeches, accusations and interrogations, the knights were deemed innocent to treason since they were obviously ensorcelled by Merlin's magic. The druid, however, was condemned to exile and death as a traitor who had willingly and knowingly done direct harm to the throne. The knights thereafter earned the title of The Knights Who Condemned Merlin.

Before they left, they witnessed a messenger seeking King Pellinore, to which Uther said that Pellinore was still in search of the Questing Beast and had not been seen for years because he had become fascinated with the dark secret of magic within the Beast. He ordered that should the knights meet Pellinore in their travels, they should tell him to take his rightful position and responsibilities as a king.

At winter court, Sir Morris had once again good news, becoming the father of a third son, Gaius Julius, who was named after a proposition from Praetor Syagrius.

Also a bearer of good news was Sir Plaine, who had gotten married again, to a young Lady by the name of Christine.

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