With talk of war brewing and the Saxons still raiding in the Northeast, the knights descend upon Sarum to do their yearly duty to Earl Roderick. They are brimming with excitement at the possibility of once again riding forth to bring battle to the ravaging Saxon horde. Instead, Earl Roderick crushes their expectations and announces that they would stay behind and perform garrison duty in Sarum. There was much grumbling, but the knights are loyal and do their duty to their lord.
On a routine patrol, the three knights happen upon an elderly goatherd, who cries out for their help. His prize goat, a beast of unusual size, has slipped his lead and run off up a hill. The goatherd begs the knights to catch the prize goat as his back and knees are far too sore and weak for him to make the climb. The knights immediately take up the challenge, though they mutter words of suspicion and distrust, and charge their horses up the hill in an attempt to catch the goat. The goat proves itself far too nimble, however and easily eludes their clumsy attempts. It runs into some thicker brush down the other side of the hill and disappears.
The knights begin to trot down the hill when they hear the goat shriek in pain and then suddenly the ground shakes and the trees part. A huge, three-eyed giant emerges from the copse of trees, the hapless goat clutched by the horns in the giant’s huge fist. Spotting the knights, the giant tosses the goat aside and tears a tree from the earth to use as a club. The knights, undeterred by the size of their foe, dip their lances and charge! The knights strike true with their weapons and lay the giant low. “That’s easy!” they cry as they gather up the goat and return to the goatherd.
As they approach the goatherd, the air around him seems to shimmer and he suddenly transforms into Merlin! The nods at the knights and tells them that they will suffice for the coming task. He bids them follow him and protect him as he goes about the business of the kingdom. They follow him into some woods and find themselves walking through the faery realm itself. A short time later they come upon a calm lake, a small raft secured at its shore. Merlin steps onto the raft and tells the knights to defend him with their lives.
Before the knights can question the druid, a mounted knight emerges from the woods. Both knight and horse are a sickly green color and seem to be slimy and not-quite solid. The knight holds a green sword in each hand and, to the horror of the knights, grows another set of arms! With those arms it rips free branches from a nearby tree to use as clubs. The knights boldly move to intervene as the creature charges directly toward the lake and Merlin. The conflict is bloody, with Sir Jaradan nearly being killed with a single blow of the slimy, green knights sword. Sir Tristian, likewise, falls to the creatures attacks. Sir Morah, the last knight standing between the knight-creature and Merlin, suffers a stunning blow and is knocked off his feet. Morah, being a tactical and prudent knight, plays dead for a moment, which causes the green knight to move past him toward Merlin. Morah then surges back to his feet and launches a desperate attack, which finally destroys the creature, just a few feet from the lake. Morah, bloody and barely able to stand, watches as Merlin’s raft drifts unerringly to the center of the lake. He gasps as a hand, clad in the brightest, shimmering samite, rises from the still pool clutching a glowing sword. Merlin takes the sword and tucks it under his robe. The hand then slowly slides back beneath the surface and disappears.
With no visible means of propulsion, Merlin’s raft slides across the water and returns to shore, where he acknowledges Sir Morah’s bravery and skill at arms. He then uses his strange powers and heals the knights, returning them to full health. With a wink and a small bow, he disappears back into the woods, leaving the confused knights to return to Sarum with their strange tale. Sir Morah and Sir Jayden take the strange green swords that the Nukulavee (as they learn from Merlin) dropped when killed.
Back at court, Sir Morah awes the assembled court with a song about the exploits, while Sir Tristian tells the tale around the hearth fire. Sir Jayden butchers his version of the tale and is accused of boasting.
Thus ends Year 486….