Pendragon the Dark Ages 2nd Generation

Leaving the North

923044 518890361507555 95499565 n

The time has finally come to leave the cold and rain, the damp and mist, the snow and giant flying biting insects. Stangely, I think I will miss it. The lands even now seem more unreal.

We leave the Picts fighting among themselves. The lands of the Wall prosperous and with better maintained roads. Trade comes by land and sea. We make sure there are good stocks of food and good people in useful positions.

I send a message to King Uriens of Rheged, carefully worded to make sure that he will look well upon this region and its people.

King Uriens surprises us and turns up, just before we leave. He gives us many gifts and we feast. He is passing these lands to he son Pasgen – who we know well.

We leave the North, older, richer and much changed by it.

- Merin, Dragonrider, Son of King Blean of Pengwern

View
The Battle of Holy Isle

We ride north, passing several battle sites, victories for our people, but the last looked close. We hear that a large battle line is forming, and we ride hard to get there.

Saxon1

We are met by the King and the White Riders. We hear of a large Pict force in the north, hopefully our victory over the Dark Lady will change that battle – it is too far for us to do anything else. I hope Carafanon fares well. The Battle here will be in the morning.

Cadwaladr is given the right flank and we will be in reserve. There are many hundreds of Saxon.

The Saxons beat shields and charge, King Bleans army lets them come and battle is joined. The clash is like thunder rolling over the hills. We wait for Cadwaladr’s commands.

Suddenly, part of the Pengwern line collapses, and the Pengwern banner falls. Cadwaladr shouts charge, and we do. I whisper a secret.

We hit the Saxon line from behind as it has turned towards the fallen banner. The do not stand a chance, with no shield wall and plenty of space. Saxons fall all around us, although Morchades is hit by a thrown spear and slumps in her saddle. Luckily, one of our riders grabs her reigns and keeps her near, while Arria patches her wound. We turn to avoid a shields wall as a flaming arrow arcs over the battlefield from our side. A snow flake drops from above towards my sword.

Flames burst out from amongst the Saxon shield wall – Flavious must have prepared the ground in some way. The snow flake hits my sword and it burst into light – a blue icy flame. The Saxons nearby point at me and shout something and run. The real White Rider banner appears on a hill and they charge into the fray.

We cut down Saxons. My enemies shatter on my blade.

The battle is won. The Saxons defeated, but at heavy cost. Those who survive feast till morning, although I do not.

Now we must ride hard again to find out what has happened at the Wall. The garrison is a skeleton. Almost everyone has gone North of the wall. We follow the trails. Finally, we find our army and Carafanon with a story.

News of the huge Pict horde reched him shortly after we left. He took the army North and harried them for a long time. One day there was eldrich fire playing in the sky and many Picts left the horde and headed home. He fought the remander a few days ago. It was a total victory and the Queen fled, but at a high cost to our men.

Before we left King Blean, he told us that this would be our last year in the North. Next year the battles will be in the South. King Aelle is back in control, and may need to prove a point.

I find out that the Saxons shouted ‘Dwarf Forged Blade’ at me. Whatever that means.

- Merin, Dragonrider, Son of King Blean of Pengwern

3m ct1stb bs

View
The Black Stone

Journey2 electric eel

The head of the head leaps towards me. I deflect it with my shield and strike the sone again – CLANG. There is a rumble in the earth.

Grainne gets between me and Gwalchmai, while Elias distracts the Eel with his spear.

Dark things still leap at us, burning and fighting and dying. The Spear Gwalchmai caries goes for Grainne, she deflects it and stays alive.

I must break this stone, nothing else matters. I strike at it with my flaming sword, the water boiling with dark eels around me. CLANG – the cavern shakes.

Elias stands before the giant Eel, taunting it, striking it, and takes all it throws against him, until finally a part of it grabs his leg and he falls.

Gwalchmai’s features seem to change – Grainne still defends against him.

I thrust mu sword deep into the stone – the ground shakes and part of the cavern roof falls. Many things fall over, including Cadwaladr, some of the stars go out.

Morchades finally breaks free from the Lady and dives into the water, erupting from the Eels body, just as Elias leaps from the water and thrusts his spear right through its head. The Eel explodes.

Cadwaladr and Morchades join the others fighting the hordes, which are now in a frenzy. Elias helps keep the Lady controlled Gwalchmai at bay.

Finally, dropping my shield and using two hands and all my weight, I thrust my sword like a pick head into the stone and it breaks. CRACK.

The dark things turn and run as if lost. Bits of the cavern roof start to fall and Gwalchmai ruturns to us. The Lady is broken. I grab a piece of the rock, and we run, dodging falling rocks as the cavern collapses behind us.

When we finally get out, a mountain peak falls and the stairs are buried, as the sun sets. There are dead evil fish floating on the top of the pool, but the water is not as dark.

After much rest we ride for Pengwern. We find a very light garrison – the army has headed North for a confrontation with the Saxons at Holy Isle. We ride to follow army.

- Merin, Dragonrider, Son of King Blean of Pengwern

73390 237135749758318 1683614040 n

View
The Dark

As we reach the pool, the cavern begins to light up, tiny lights like glittering stars above us. We hear movement all around us.

Hordes of pale leprous forms appear out of the darkness, some with stone axes and knives, some with claws and teeth. We cut down lots, but they keep coming.

926bc823134bdc6495ab57b3c0bfa29c

Merin sees the pool is half clear and half black, with black eel things in it. He leaps into the pool and his Sidhe Sword light up again, the surface of the water ignites, but does not harm him. In the middle of the pool as the clear water turns black is a black stone. Merin strikes it with his sword. There is a ring like a cracked bell. Something is aware of us, something moved.

The fighting becomes more frenzied. Dark things pour out of the blackness. Another clang as Merin hits the stone again.

Gwalchmai jumps into the pool and heads towards Merin. The dark things that follow him burn in the pool flames. There are Black armoured shapes behind these front ranks, come to join the fight.

CLANG, a crack starts to form in the stone as Merin strikes it with the flaming sword again.

Cadwaladr orders everyone into the pool. The dark things are maddened and leaping into the flames to get at us. The fighting increases.

Gwalchmai shouts that the Dark Lady is controlling him and wants to kill Merin, he tries to stop his advance.

The eel things in the water coalesce into one Giant Black Eel which is also on fire. The Eel thing attacks many people, but the head dives at Merin. Merin avoids the head and uses the force of the Eel strike to cut into the stone. CLANG.

Eldrich fire all around the sword. Hordes of darkness things advance into the pool and burn. Some slow the advance of the horde while we fight the Eel.

Morchades is frozen in fear as the Dark Lady talks in her head. Grainne gets between Merin and Gwalchmai. Gwalchmai wins the fight in his head for a moment and hits the Eel with The Spear.

View
Bayliss and the Dark Lady

We watch over Bayliss for a few days. He barely moves, but has clearly been tended. Eventually, a Pictish woman approaches. Gwalchmai greets her – she is Itaine and has been looking after Bayliss for some time. He asked her to wake him if we appeared.

B aayliss

Itaine performs some ritual to wake him, she chants, smoke and mist rise and her tattoos change. Then Bayliss awakes and tells us of his fight with the Dark Lady. He lost.

She is far more powerful than expected, Bayliss even had gods on his side and still failed. But he discovered a weakness – her power can be destroyed. She draws power from Llyn dulyn – a lake with a red island which has stairs to the underworld, in the cavern at the bottom, there is a black stone which must be broken. The lake is in the mountains near Yns Mon.

Bayliss sees that we are weakened from many fights and instructs Itaine to go with us. She is not happy as we killed her King. Bayliss says the fate of the world is more important and she agrees.

Bayliss then says he will sleep now and we may never see him again. Itaine performs another ritual and we leave. Behind us the rocky pillar crashes to the ground as if it was never there.

Back at Luguvalium there are still funerals from the attack. Itaine says she will heal us in a grove to the North. Merin, Gwalchmai and Elias go with her, while Morchades, Grainne and Cadwaladr seek healing from the Christian healers.

We are tested, either at the Church, or in the Grove, and we are healed. Merin gifts Itaine a golden armband and she returns North.

Before we leave, we make Carafanon the Lord of Luguvalium and we head South.

We are met by a messenger from Pengwern who gives us contacts across Powys, we travel by night to avoid questions until we reach the mountains.

After some time searching, Gwalchmai finds the lake. It is up high, with steep cliffs around it that block the light. The water is freezing and nothing drinks it. A small causeway leads to a red rock island that seems to always be in shadow. Gwalchmai sees magic all around with The Eye. The sun does not even touch the island at its highest, but the Solstice is only a few days away and we decide to wait.

Llyn dulyn   geograph.org.uk   84859

On the Solstice the sun does manage to to light the island and we cross to it. It feels like the cliffs hate us and the fish in the lake do not look good to eat. There is a big black slab of rock on the island, it feels nasty and unwholesome. Gwalchmai says the sun may be weakening it, so we lift it to show steps leading down into the dark.

Merin leads the way down as saw steps like this during the fight at Luguvalium. The stairs are perfectly cut from the black rock and are very steep. The black stone swallows the light and the walls feel unpleasant. Down and down the stairs go, horrible carvings cover the walls and we feel the weight above us.

Suddenly, we arrive in a huge cavern. Our lights do not cross it, even the blessed light that Grainne carries. Carvings on the floor and walls, like the tattoos on the Wizard of the North.

Merin leads out across the cave. There is no echo, and the carvings cover everywhere. We can hear water ahead, so we go towards it.

Eventually, we come to a carver pedestal, with a status, like the Dark Man statue at Girdle Stanes with the face of the King of the North, standing over a spring. The stream leads off across the cave, it fits into the carving on the floor. We follow the stream to a pool.

View
Nightwolves

Gwalchmai follows the wolf thing tracks to a forest North of the Wall. Merin, Elias, Morchades and Cumhall ride to join him.

Cadwaladr and Grainne are too injured to follow.

We enter the forest, which is very dark and twisted. We follow the train to a giant stone, carved with ancient marks. Gwalchmai says the stone is evil and ancient. It feels nasty, slippery and disgusting. Merin and Morchades attempt to climb it. It is horrible, cold, we feel afraid. Merin finds more carving on the top.
Gwalchmai looks at it with The Eye. He says the wolf things are inside the rock. Morchades needs to get to the top and climbs a tree to get there. She lays a cross in white stones and preys. The white stones crumble and an evil wind explodes from the stone throwing her down, her fall luckily broken by Cumhall. Morchades is not happy.

Wolfthing

We think the wolf things will come forth in darkness, so we wait. Cumhall arranges some archers, while Elias leads those on horse.
Darkness falls. The fires that we have lit are dim as if the light does not want to touch the stone.

Suddenly nightwolves leap from the rock and start running North. They are rotting, scabby, insectlike, dark and lupine. The archer shoot and Elias leads the charge.
We cut down many in the first pass, but they run on North, faster than anything should run.
Morchades shouts to Saint Michael and races after them, followed by the rest of us. Only she keeps up and strikes at them one at a time, while we slay the injured she leaves in her wake.

As the last one drops we find we have ridden a huge distance, and are now in another forest, with another pillar of rock directly ahead. This must be where they were headed.

Forestcave

The pillar is a different type of rock and is fashioned by tools, with a cave leading into it. Inside we find furs and furniture and a figure dead or asleep on a bed. It appears to be Bayliss, looking far more aged than the last time we met.

View
520 Nightmares

Grainne marries Cumhall, there is much celebration.

Back in Luguvalium for the Winter, Grainne grows large with child.

Still being watched. Dream of a dark man standing over me, nothing there when I wake.

Are there things moving under the floor? I’m sure I saw some eyes flashing in the dark.

Sleep is hard to come by.

Another celebration, Grainne has twin girls and is well. We leave her sleeping in the birthing hall.

Still find sleep troubled, figures, eyes, movement in the dark. I am not asleep and the eyes are really there and a figure attacks as it steps from the darkness.

Nightmonster

I roll for my sword and attack, but it is fast, much faster than I expect and its claws rake across me.

I hear the sound of fighting from the hall and the rooms about me. I hope my friends are doing better.

Now I know its speed, I predict where it will be an my sword cuts it in two. I pull my armour on to cover my wounds and head out.

Bells are tolling and I hear screams from outside. The hall is full of dying dark figures, with Elias and Morchades standing over them.

Cadwaladr and Gwalchmai are injured but all the dark figures here are dead, I run down the halls to the birthing hall followed by Elias. We find Cumhall standing over an unconscious Grainne, with dead dark figures all around.

We run outside and see fighting at the gate. I run for the gate, while Elias runs to the stable. There are dark things all over the gate and something big outside trying to get in.

Carafanon commands the warriors at the gate and has them in a shield wall, pressing the dark figures – there are heaps of dead dark things around them.

BOOM against the gate

BOOM

BOOM, the gate bars start to crack.

I join the fighting at the gate. There are many dark things dead, but more seem to be coming from a shadow on the ground, just beyond the shield wall. I leap from the line towards this dark hole, Elias on his horse throws a mighty javelin to clear my path. I slice my sword (the gift of the Sidhe) through the shadow and it bursts into light and the hole shrinks a little. I can see stairs leading down through this hole and countless dark things climbing up. I must stop this, or all is lost.

BOOM on the gate.

The dark things turn towards me, I keep attacking this hellish portal, each blow shrinks it. But I will not last long with all the dark things moving towards me.

Luckily, the Dragon Riders are here. Carafanon shouts for part of the shield wall to kneel and Elias, Morchades, Gwalchmai and Cadwaladr jump the wall and smash into the dark things.

BOOM – the gate still holds.

Fighting chaos around the gate, I continue to concentrate on the terrible opening, and finally it vanishes.

BOOM – the gate sags on its hinges. Carafanon shouts to withdraw away from the gate, as archers get ready and oil is poured down the road.

BOOM – the gate crashes down, a gigantic pale, mouldy man creature comes through with a giant club, followed by many insect like men in armour. Our men drop oil and light it. Fire rips through their number, but many make it to the square, even though they burn. I nearly get caught by the flames.

Arrows strike them from everywhere, Carafanon commands a mighty defense and Cadwaladr leads us to shore up any weakness. He spots a section in trouble and we charge. The insect men are thrown back and many killed by our charges, they turn and run. We ride them down. The Giant is killed by many arrows and fire.

I hear later about Cumhall and Grainne clearing the hall, and the fighting in the streets. Wolf things went into Bayliss house and ripped it apart – luckily he is away. But the wolf things have headed North, perhaps to track him down.

The town has been hit hard, there are many dead or injured and it takes time to put the fires out.

The dark thing bodies dissolve as the morning sunlight strikes them.

Merin, son of King Blean of Pengwern

View
519 Calm before the Storm
Summer and Winter 519

There is something wrong, it may be The Spear or the Harp, or both, or the feeling that we are being watched, or the dreams some of us still have.

Merin seems distant and his wife Rania unhappy. They have a blazing row which everyone hears.

Elias and Aelgifu are more connected than ever, but he seems more Saxon like every day.

Grainne and Morchades spend many hours talking to Father Diarmud, he is worried about the Spear being used, but it is outside of his experience. It is said that those who use it are cursed, and it may even be the Spear that pierced our Lord.

Bayliss gets an audience with Grainne, Gwalchmai and Cadwaladr. He hears the story of the North. He cannot see how the Wizard had the power he did, and the Dark Lady scares him. He looks at the boy and says he may be the next High King.

Days pass and we heal, but still the dreams come and still we feel watched.

We head to Pengwern to catch the end of Winter Court. There are feasts and formal greetings, we are treated more seriously than before.

We go hunting with the King. Which turns out to be a diversion so that he could quiz us on what really happened. We tell him everything, including showing Michael and the captured Roman Eagle. He advises us to keep both hidden, as either could be seen as a power grab and could turn our alliances into chaos. He also says to keep an eye on Rheged, we have been too successful, and the sons of Rheged may act against us.

We then head back to Luguvalium for a quiet year, riding the lands, collecting tax, making judgements and being Lords. But the dreams still come and we are watched.

During the summer we hear of several small victories against the Saxons south of us and a mighty storm rolls north. We think this is Is Bayliss raising his power against the Dark Lady.

The season’s turn again and we ride south to Pengwern for Grainne’s wedding to Cumhall.

Stormfront

View
518-9 Escape from the North

Riding, walking, sleeping, with only the occasional Pict arrow to relive the monotony. The picts harry us across the north, trying to delay us, for what?

Soon we find out. We spot the scouts for a group of Pict Warriors riding fast behind us. We are lucky to do so for their woodcraft is good. They will catch us soon, so we set an ambush. They ride into it, but are covered in tattoos and magic. The fight was short but hard, Picts needing more blows to keep them down than any ordinary warrior would need.

Many of us have injuries, and our banner riders nearly lose the banner. But they do not and we prevail. We take the ponies and provisions and ride South some more.

Finally, we meet riders with our banners. The riders are Companions of King Blean of Pengwern, sent North to find us. We finally see The Wall again.

Hadrians wall

We have a great feast with story telling when we finally get to Luguvalium. There are tales of the death of the King of the North, tales of the Miracle of the Robins, and we hear of the Priest Cyndeyrn who performed the Miracle and now travels the Pict lands converting them.

View
518-9 Dark Lady, Dark Days
The Adventure of the Road to Achavanich Part 7/ The adventure of the Road Home Part 1

The battle continues. It seems our whole lives have lead us to this moment.

36492 459575600772365 1599849632 n

!Merin liberates a horse from the ships while the chariots and riders fight. Two more chariot warriors are dispatched. The Lady drives for the Stone Circle.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.