The Squires and the Wolf

Summer A.D. 496

The squires of Our Knights Adventerous are sent by Lady Ellen to Archbishop Dubricus to retrieve the knucklebone of St. George in hopes it might help drive off the wolves that had been tormenting the shepherds of Salisbury. Along the way, they discover scandal and meet a wicked robber knight.

With the encroachment of the wilderness since the death of the King, the shepherds of Sarum had been suffering from increasing attacks from wolves. Lady Ellen requested our Knights adventurous to send their squires to Archbishop Dubricus at Carlion-on-Usk to retrieve the knucklebone of St. George, a patron of shepherds, in hopes that it might help with the problem.   The journey to Carlion-on-Usk was uneventful, though shadowed by the darkness of the newly expanded forests. On the road, Nudd saw a strange golden haired wolf watching them from the darkness.   Upon their arrival, the squires were given the knucklebone with little difficulty, but Kestrel ran into Minerva, the sister of his knight Dame Monroe. The squires soon discovered that Sir Bob was also there and that he had impregnated and married Minerva!   With this scandal on their minds, the squires set out to return to Sarum and on the road they ecountered a pilgrim, who advised them of a hunting lodge of the road where they could stay for the night. However, this was a trick. The squires were ambushed by bandits, who stole one of their horses and severely injured squire Nudd. The squires managed to capture several of the bandits, but not to retrieve the horse.   Thus burdened, the squires attempted to find the road back, but instead found themselves at a swollen river. Making their way along the river, they discovered an island in the middle of the river on which was dwelling the hermit Reece. Reece invited them over and gave them his hut to sleep in. While they slept, the squires dreamed they were sheepdogs guarding a flock of sheep from ravening wolves, only to have one of the other sheepdogs in their midst go mad and start attacking the wolves.   In the morning, the squires were awoken by the sound of angry peasants, who had gathered across the river. The peasants accused the hermit of being responsible for their river drying up. Their priest, who was with them, spoke to the squires after and told them he was skeptical Reece was responsible, but asked them to visit him in the village of Haredown.   In Haredown, the squires were told by the priest Father Aigulf that his brother, Sir Arfon, was an incredibly cruel lord who had done much to drive his people to banditry.   The squires were then approached by men-at-arms of the local lord, who demanded fares for them bringing their horses across the local bridge. The squires were in the midst of arguing with the men-at-arms when the lord Haredown himself arrived. Nudd noticed that Sir Arfon was wearing an ugly wolf-pelt with golden fur and that his arms were a golden wolf head on a field of sable. They inquired about this, and Sir Aigulf said the peasants believed the cloak allowed Sir Arfon to take the form of a wolf.   Sir Arfon went in to argue with the priest, and the squires overheard that the priest had married two of the peasants without Arfon's permission, and that Arfon was furious about this. Sir Arfon had his men-at-arms seize the peasants and told Father Aigulf that he would listen him and not separate those whom God had joined together. He then turned to the squires and invited them to join him in his hall that evening for a feast.   The feast at which the squires found themselves was a meager affair and the host was quite surly. The squires eventually inquired about the couple he had captured and he began to laugh uproariously. Sir Arfon took them outside and showed them a log that had been cut down the middle, tied together, and thrown into a pit. From inside the log, the squires could hear sobs, but they could do nothing since they were under Sir Arfon's hospitality.   Suddenly, a great mob of peasants arrived, demanding to see the couple. Matters were tense until Squire Kestrel decided to breach hospitality and cut open the log. Inside, they saw the man still alive and the peasant girl dead. The squires confronted him about him breaking his promise to not separate those whom God had joined together and he said he would be happy to fix this and took out his sword to strike down the still living man. The squires turned on him and fought him, even as the peasant mob surged forward and Sir Arfon was struck dead.   Kestrel took up the cloak and cut it into pieces.   The squires then left the manor in the care of the peasants and returned home to Sarum. Upon their return, Lady Ellen thanked them for their assistance, but warned them that Sir Arfon had a cousin who was an ally of Sir Huw and who would not be pleased at the death of Sir Arfon.   Having learned of Sir Bob and her sister's marriage, Minerva invited them to her manor. She was upset with them, but they mended fences. Lady Ellen agreed to release Sir Bob to the service of Archbishop Dubricus, and he was given Haredown as a manor.

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