The Black Knight Returns
The Black Knight Returns
Location: Northern Lyonesse
Date: 23 Nov 18
Summary: Constantine and Doom ride north to rally the locals and defeat Cern's wild men.
Characters: Constantine, Doom, and Person 3
NPCs: NPC names

Northern Lyonesse. Having retrieved the Flame of Man, Sir Constantine follows vision and rumor north of Argent Meadows. Wild men are gathering there, it is said. Followers of Cern, whose only wish is to plunge Lyonesse back into darkness and barbarism.
Sitting upon a large roan, the knight in ancient black armor makes his way along a road less travelled, following rumor and wondering how he may defeat an army alone.
Trotting along at a weary pace, a knight in piecemeal armor rides a horse that looks ready to drop. It too has a quality about it that suggests its seen too much action, but stubbornly refuses to kick the bucket. Oddly enough, the knight is riding it towards the path from a point where there is no such path at all. The horse whinnies and the knight's armor clinks. Spotting the black armored knight, the rider pauses when he is almost stepping hoof onto this road, potentially intercepting. It raises its hand to hail and keeps its hands away from the spear, sword or shield stowed with it.
The black-armored figure returns the salute, slowing the roan's walk a bit. A closer look would see neither banner nor emblem upon his gear, including the blank shield. A large, black axe hangs at his saddle brow with a black broadsword balancing the weight on the other side. A deep, hollow voice sounds from within the helm. "What ho, good sir? I ride north, on a matter of gravest urgency. It will mean wholesale slaughter, but it is necessary to preserve Lyonesse. Will you aide me or thwart me?"
A voice issues out of low-budget Knight that takes its time and is a bit old. It lowers its hand to his side. Eyes aren't showing out of its own helm, but there's plenty of breaches to allow an inquisitive eye to make some assumptions. The knight listens carefully, but is searching for some manner of crest or advertisement that says where allegiences lay. And the armor gives it a lot of pause. Not to mention the weapons. "For Lyonesse?" There's a click of a dry tongue to audibly directs its horse closer to speak more conversationally. The horse's skin is just nearly translucent in the right light. "This sounds serious indeed. I cannot claim a Lord to serve in her boundaries, but its fate is important to me none the less." A bit of gravel to the androgynous tone. "Death then, on a great scale. Especially when it is grave. I would not halt or thwart, yes? I would aide in this I think?" He removes an ivory pipe and taps old ash from it. "Call me Samael? And you?"
"Constantine. Sir Constantine." And again, he declines to state any allegiance. "Your assistance is most welcome, Samael. Come, then." Using the pressure of his knees and the lightest guidance of the rein, he turns the big roan and sets off at an easy pace. "There are villages along the way. I intend to gather them against the wild men."
Samael turns its mount and squeezes its legs to urge speed to match Constantine. The knight is still trying to analyse his traveling companion. "My memory is as dusty as a tomb. There is something about your bearing, perhaps your helm, but it crumbles when I reach for it." Samael directs his attention to the road ahead. "You will make a levy of these villages? How many will you require to match the foe?"
"As many as we can muster." comes the response. The armored visage turns to face his new companion, and the voice adds. "You know of the Black Knight of Lyonesse, then? For I bear that armor and soon will bear the burden as well. The destruction of Cern's wild men is my task to complete."
Doom offers a long 'ahhhh' as Constantine helps to realign his memory and slide it into place like sword in a scabbard. He turns his helm to take in Constantine again. "The Black Knight. I…I begin to understand. Yes, how fortunate for me then. I would be honored to assist you in this. Those that bear the colors must carry great responsibilities upon their shoulders, yes? If you succeed…" Memory fails again, but he's focus now. "The wild men shall not be long for this realm then."
The black helm conceals any expression, but the chuckling sounds from within are less than wholesome. For some, at least. "If I succeed, then the Black Knight returns once more to Lyonesse." he declares simply. "Come, then. We ride either to victory or to ruin." They approach a signpost; a village is imminent.
Samael tilts its helmet just a little in question or contemplation. "Aye, and all that that means." But by its tone, that's not necessarily a bad thing. A statement to add on. "Ruin for certain, but only for the foe. And quiet eternity for the fallen." The knight turns its attention ahead for the village and what potential forces it may possess.
The village isn't a large one, and from the ruined fences they have already felt some of the sting of Cern's wild men. The two armed men on horseback attract some attention, and by the time they reach the center of the village there is already a small gathering. Constantine swings down from the saddle. Turning in a slow circle, the black barbs trailing down his back ignite in a blaze of sparks. "Good people! We have come to enlist your aid. To the north is a force who would slaughter you all. I intend to put them all to the sword."
Doom dismounts and allows the horse to crop at the grass. However, as Constantine rallies the attention of the villagers, it stops and even it cocks its ears. Samael stands near, but apart. Watching that helm and listening to that strange voice. Constantine has the floor and Samael intends to assist. "Listen to his words." the voice is gravelly. "Heed this."
There are a few murmurs of dissent, but there's something about the flames that keeps their attention. The black knight continues to pace in a slow, energetic circle while he speaks. "I have seen the damage they have done to your village already, and yours is not the only one. But this is your chance! OUR chance! Meet them in battle before it is too late. If you remain divided, they will destroy you easily. But if you unite, you can wipe this threat from the face of Lyonesse!"
Doom murmers, at a level that is really only for the ears of those near him rather than trying to be at the same attention grabbing levels as Constantine. "Weeds must be pulled before they become more than a nuissance. Rabid dogs must be put down for the good of all." He puts his hand on the pommel of his sword and he stands with a firm stance. "Justice delivered and by honest salt of the earth." Samael draws his sword and raises his voice, "I will follow!"
The black knight's associate's cry is answered almost immediately. "Aye! AYE!" And soon the black knight's pacing and their words have the village stirred to action. "Gather arms, then, and meet me here. For we march onward!" he cries.
And from village to village they go, gathering all who can bear arms. Their numbers grow steadily as they move northward.
Doom rides beside Constantine as the column of irregulars grows. A motivated mob is a sight to behold. The fate of the battle hangs like a sword of Damocles and promises death. That prophecy of spirits freed from bodies kindles a bit of spunk in the clockwork deathknight. Marvelling at the spirit that's been fired up by Constantine, and momentarily distracting him from his Death sight which could douse morale if it were to speak. But look at that spirit and how it grows from stirring words and presence.
And while they ride, Constantine speaks to his new ally while sparks trail behind them to stir their growing force. "I have fought these wild men before." he explains. "They know neither fear nor pain. And so they must be wiped out completely. A surprise attack on their force before they reach full muster."
Doom has lit its ivory pipe during the journey and puffs like a steam engine. Purposeful obvious inhalations and exhalations that seep out of the seams of visor and helm. "A sound plan, Sir Constantine. These wild savages have challenging aspects. They sound like some legions of the dead made animate. No half measures with them. Very well, the same will be given to these wild men. Thorough means and at their disadvantage."
As it turns out, however, the wild men are not so easily caught unawares. A small patrol party is met and almost immediately wiped out, but not before sounding loud cries and giving alarm. "Well we're for it now." Constantine declares, beginning to give order to the local force. They advance, catching the wild men's encampment unprepared if not completely unawares.
RPG: Consumed Constantine's token F6N 'Black Knight' for a +3 bonus.
RPG: Constantine challenges a difficulty of 12. Constantine chooses Force and the gifts BLD-LY, FGT-CA, SKL-AR, SKL-MC, and STY-KN. He expends token F6N. Constantine succeeds.
Samael does a little limbering up, which results in a lot of noise. But afterwards movements are more fluid if not more quiet. Out comes a battered old blade from a forgotten battlefield. "To death's door go the foe!" the grating shout as his old abilities are scraped of rust and renewed. Staying in step with Constantine's orders rather than breaking off.
There are a few horses in the force of villagers, and Constantine leads them in a charge with Samael at his side. The flame burns in his wake, causing foes to blanch and allies to fight all the harder. Ever and again does the black axe rise and fall, until it is slick with blood. The wild men fight fiercely at first, then waver, and finally break.
Samael slashes without mercy to the left and right. Whenever a savage of the wild folk is within range, he strikes out. His mount doesn't balk at the scent of spilled blood or the violence of the melee, sometimes just trampling at whatever is in its path. There's no savage cry from the Knight, just an almost mechanical reaping. Very purposeful. When the foe looks like they've had enough, Samael continues to cleave unless called back.
Constantine loses Mabel in the second charge, the roan taking a spear straight-on. He continues fighting unhorsed, however, until all of the wild men have either gone down or are surrendering. Flame still blazing, he turns to Samael. "Kill them all. Man. Woman. And Child." Many of the villagers blanch at the orders, but more than a few join in and obey all the same.
Samael threshes through them, and there are times perhaps when roused villagers or wild men in flight threaten to blur. The gore streaks armor and lubricates his joints. He stares at each savage that he drops death upon though, to ensure it is as near to final as can be proscribed. No time to judge whether they should linger as wounded, and delivers mortal wounds to be sure. In service to the one who will take up the mantle of the Black, there's firm direction. And being upon a battlefield again does more than lubricate the joints.
In the end, the two knights with a dozen or so villagers complete the slaughter. Every one of Cern's forces is destroyed. And after the battle the bodies are piled together. Wood is cut, and such oil as can be spared is brought. A large pyre is lit, the flames rising high into the evening sky.

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