2011/11/28 - Marcus Petronius
Wallingford is the lowest place on the Thames where it can be forded. It has a castle (Mott and Baily). Apparently the 3 knights that started all this are all from Silchester.
The White Tower is the major fortifaction in London. It is a Roman fortification, and is occupied by them at the moment. They have a small fleet docked here, and they use it to control the channel. We are invited to dinner at the Tower, and are introduced to Marcus Petronius, a Roman who apparently is very good at finding things out.
There is a plan for Marcus to travel in as a Roman official, wanting to commission a copy of a bible from the Scriptorium there. We will be going in as mercenaries working as his bodyguards. We dress down a bit, and add some Roman cloaks and style of armour in order to fit the part.
We ride up to Wallington. On the way, Marcus manages to pump the wife of an innkeeper for lots of information when we stop at an inn nearby. The new management has started levelling tolls on everyone using the ford, which has caused a lot of upset. They are charging a penny per leg for people crossing, including those going to weddings etc. The knock on effect is that market prices have gone up, so inn prices have had to go up.
The people are grumbling, but they have been told that the money is being used to help defend against the Saxons. They have actually been building up the quality of the castle walls. It is Sir Beige who is in charge here. He was quite liberal with his coinage, and is actually preferred to the old lord. Si Talfryn is his 2nd in command. He was from Logris, and his mother was from Silchester.
Before we reach the ford, we come across a group of peasants with a wagon, being menaced by 5 scruffy chaps. Marcus rides up and demands to know what they are up to, playing up his role as an official. Both the peasants and the scruffy chaps seem highly suspicious, The peasants claim that they are carrying beer, which is unlikely. Marcus insists on trying some, which turns out to be some cloudy substance which tastes awful.
Caradoc rides up and breaks the barrel open. Inside is bad beer and some mail. The peasants hide behind the wagon, and the scruffy chaps form up and start to look a bit more professional. The leader is Brython. He was Lord Keddigor's name, and now a man of Lady Eonor.
He is the local resistance, working against the new management . They are forcing the peasantry to help them smuggle arms and armour around to help them. It sounds like the peasants like them less than the new knights, but they're on our side.