You are Gwanona of Northumberland. You are a Cymric (Welsh) person and a Christian. You are 15 years old, the fourth daughter of a squire. Your character can neither read nor write, but she has an amazing ability to memorize things she has heard, word for word, and has perfect recall. Your father works for a knight attached to Wandesborow, which is at the eastern end of Hadrian's wall, the boundary that separated the Roman territory from the free lands to the north. Wandesborow is on the coast of the North Sea. You can see just where you live if you go to http://maps.google.com and search for "Newcastle Upon Tyne". There is a major city there now, but maybe the castle was located here, where Bamurgh Castle now stands: http://www.bamburghcastle.com/history.php Your mother's job is to help her husband's knight's wife, to take care of their household, and do her dirty work. You help her with this.
Your mother loves your older sisters, but she knows that they will be fine marrying men who hope to be squires, but will probably be farmers or woodsmen. She knows you are different, and she knows the bravery of your spirit cannot be contained in Northumberland, and your desire for adventure and new experiences cannot be served by a quiet marriage and a lowly life. However, she knows there are not many choices for women outside of marriage, and that there are very few female knights in the service of any king. One morning after she has served at the knight's table for breakfast, she pulls you into the kitchen to tell you that she has overheard exciting rumors at the knight's table. Britons in the south are joining together to fight the Saxons and drive them back to the continent for good. The knights of your homeland of Northumbria had been fighting off Saxon attacks from the North Sea for decades. Yet, you and your mother both know that there is no future for you as a knight here, where you are already known as a squire's daughter. Your mother gives you her permission, if you wish to leave home, to travel south to seek your fortune. She tells you she will help you to pack as many supplies and as much money as she can help you pull together, for the trip. Will you leave the safety of your home and travel south to seek your fortunes in Logres?
You are Gwair of Gorre. Your culture is Cymric (Welsh) and your religion is Pagan. Your father is a knight, and his name is Sir Aeron. You have five brothers, all older than you are. Three of them have already become knights and You are 15 years old and you live in Gaihom. You were born in the year AD 470. Your passions are Loyalty to your liege, Love of family, Archery, and Power.
You receive a letter from your Uncle, your father's older brother, who lives in the land of Logres, to the south. When the letter arrives in your father's manor house, it creates quite a stir, since letters are very rare, and you, being the youngest son, have never received one before. Pretend this is written in Latin. He writes:
Greetings, Gwair, to you, your noble father, your wise mother and your brothers. Good health to you now and forever.
I am writing to let you know about an opportunity for you here in Logres. I am offering you this information instead of giving it to your older siblings because you have always been my favorite. And anyway, they are all idiots. A baron knight here in Logres has a mad, brave plan to restore Maiden Castle to its former glory as a fortress. This was that place, Gwair, a thousand years ago, where our proud Cymric people built one of our finest forts. This is the place, five hundred years ago, that we lost the battle with the Romans, where Vespasian knocked down our defenses. This is the place, my favored nephew, where we may make our stand against the filthy Saxons, now the Romans have gone. I know you're only fifteen years old, but I think you could find honor and adventure in a career as a squire with Sir Cadfael of Aron. Bring with you a letter of recommendation from your father, as well as all the money and supplies he can spare you for your journey. I hope to call on you soon at Maiden Castle, reborn. Your loving uncle, Ifan of Amesbury.
YOUR CLASS ASSIGNMENT:
Choose one of the following writing assignments. You are the only one of the four players whose character would be able to write, so you will be writing "in character," that is, pretending to "be" Gwair:
1. Write a letter to your father asking for money, supplies, and permission to take the trip.
2. Write a letter to your uncle (keeping in mind you may have to take it to him yourself.)
Please respond to this email letting me know if you plan to make the trip to Maiden Castle or take your chances as a sixth son in Gaihom. If you want to google/wikipedia "Maiden Castle" or "Amesbury" or "Welsh people" or "Welsh language"
You are Talorc, a Pictish pagan of the Out Isles. You live in the northwest part of what is now Scotland. Go to http://maps.google.com and look up Isle of Skye and you'll see where you were born. You are the second son of a squire. You are fifteen years old, and you cannot read or write. You have been trained as a mason and have worked cutting stones for farm buildings and the mountain fortresses around the lochs and cliffs of your land. Your homeland was never conquered by the Romans, so you hesitate to travel south of Hadrian's wall, where the Saxons and Britons are fighting it out. However, your dream is to be a knight, and you know that as the son of a squire, you are not going to get very far.
While you are working on repairing a hearth in a meeting house in a local village, you overhear a conversation between a local man who traveled south to Logres and became a knight, and his father who he was visiting. The knight's name is Sir Morleo.
Father: Son, I'm glad you're home for good.
Sir Morleo: Don't be foolish. I'm going back to Logres as soon as I can visit my sisters and sell my estate here on the Island.
Father: Why would you go back? Can't you make a life for yourself among your own people?
Sir Morleo: There is a rich knight in Logres named Cadfael. He has a plan to build a fortress on the site of the old hill fort, Maiden Castle. He is in need of many knights to create an army to defend this fortress against the Saxons, and keep them from entering the lands to the West.
Father: Forget it. It's not our war. We are Picts. Let the Saxons overrun those wretched Welsh fools. We defended against the Romans, we can defend against anyone, but here, in the North.
Sir Morleo: The Britons have asked us again and again to help them keep the Saxons on the continent. We must respond.
After thinking about this news, you wonder if you shouldn't try and make your way down to Logres yourself and investigate this army that intends to fight the Saxons. Perhaps with all these knights, many squires would be needed, and you could lend your aid, perhaps someday become a knight yourself. Will you travel south, to Logres, to check it out?
YOUR CLASS ASSIGNMENT:
Choose one of the following writing assignments. Since your character can't write, you will be writing this as Stephen.
1. Find out a little about your character's origins. The Picts were called "The Painted People" -- why? Who are the Picts? Where are they from? Start here: http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/picts/ Tell me ten things about the Picts that I should know.
2. If you decide to go to Logres, your character will have a long journey ahead of him. What supplies will he need? Where will he get them?
Please respond to this email letting me know if you plan to make the trip to Maiden Castle or take your chances as a stonemason in the Out Isles.