Reflections of Gothryd
Gothryd of Breylak
Gothryd has until recent weeks been in service to his master, Sir Beaumont, a loyal vassal knight who himself owed service to the Baron Alred. Sir Beaumont’s manor house and fief was on the southern border between Aldred and his enemy Duke Grisaille’s lands, on the Breylak plains north of the town of that same name.
When open warfare broke out some months ago, the simmering unrest of skirmishing raids which had been the norm for longer than that evolved into open hostilities. Baron Aldred was hard pressed to defend his whole border his army was too small and his enemies were allied against him. He relied heavily on his knights and their garrisons and militia to attempt to hold any territory they could and push any invading forces back.
A month ago, a strong force of mounted men-at-arms and crossbowmen in service to Duke Grissaille, crossed the River into Sir Beaumont’s lands and set fire to an outlying hamlet. Beaumont seeing the smoke column rising on the horizon gathered his soldiers – some 15 able bodied men, and left a few at his fortified manor to defend it. Heavily outnumbered Sir Beaumont’s men, a handful of knights young and old, and some militia armed with older weapons and armour stood little chance, but vowed to do their duty. A short, sharp, decisive skirmish occurred and Beaumont was unhorsed and slain by the captain of Grissaille’s troop; A man with black hair and a scar across his left eyebrow. All of Beaumont’s loyal men, save Gothryd were also slain.
Gothryd made good account of himself that day, slaying 6 enemy soldiers, before he himself had to retreat and flee else he would also lose his life and for what purpose? There were at least 30 enemy soldiers remaining. He had exhausted his arcane powers, and his arms were weary with exertion, yet with a final effort he outdistanced the pursuing enemy riders. Gothryd rode north stopping at Sir Beaumont’s manor, helping the women and children to gather some small portable possessions and leave hurriedly, before the enemy troops arrived to capture the manor. He succeeded in this task by a few scant hours, surely saving the serf’s lives.
Resolving to forewarn Aldred of what had occurred at Sir Beaumont’s manor house Gothryd was fortunate to see the tracks of the army; the fields and roads churned by the movements of thousands of men. This could only be Baron Aldred’s army. He caught up with them at their campsite, a day after the great battle.
Gothryd was allowed entry to the camp after showing his tabard which bore Sir Beaumont’s crest and shown to the Baron’s tent, where he relayed the story of his friends deaths and the capture of the manor house. Aldred recieved the news solemnly and took Gothryd on as his own man, speaking to him with a measured, thoughtful tone: “Gothryd, in these times of war, good stalwart men are needed and I praise you for saving the lives of the villagers and for finding my army to relay this news so quickly. Now I have another important task for you… Ride to Ravensbrook castle, avoid any remaining patrols which might be abroad, the Earl Montombre’s army is in the field and the land is yet dangerous, the struggle is not yet over. Take the news of this first victory home to my castle and tell my son and wife. Make yourself useful at the castle and when I return I shall have more work for you. Well done Gothryd of Breylak, and thank you, I am sorry for our loss, Sir Beaumont was a fine man. Prove to me what I already suspect, that you are also.”
With these words, Gothryd rode north for over a week, exchanging his horse at several inns, so as to reach Ravensbrook castle faster. He arrived some days ago, to deliver the joyous news of the victory, it did a little to brighten his own mood, but his heart was still heavy for the loss of his long time friend and the land, Albion, where he was born and raised, was still gripped by war.
Who was the man with the black hair and the scar above his eye, Gothryd does not know his name, but he will always remember the face of the man who slew Sir Beaumont, and he has vowed revenge upon him. It might take a month, or a year, or ten years, but in this endeavour he is patient, it is a promise he intends to keep.