Llwyd at work
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Yeoman Llwyd the Forester is one of those rare things in the SCA. He is not a nobleman. Shocking but true, he has a job and works for a living, pays taxes on his small plot of land, and serves the Crown as a Royal Forester. Residing in the Forest of Distant Shore in the Barony of Ruantallan he makes his living overseeing a small farm and hunting down the ruthless bands of outlaws, brigands and robber knights that seek refuge in the Royal Forests. As a Forester he is at the disposal of the Baron of Ruantallan to guide his hunts and to pathfind for his army through the unforgiving wilderness that is Tir Mara.
Llwyd was born in 1313 in northern Wales (he is unsure where) when his mother was attacked and raped by soldiers from the English garrison. As she fled into the camps and villages of the Rebel Welsh, Llwyd was born and named after one of the rebels who later died attacking the English. Life was hard and growing up starvation was a constant in his life. Like other youths, Llwyd grew up with a bow in hand, ranging in the wilds as a poacher, rebel, and thief.
By his late teens an amnesty was offered for anyone who would hire on as an archer to fight in the Scottish war and so with the promise of food and silver, he was away north on campaign. While Llwyd hated life in an army; murdering and thieving for great lords, as opposed to for personal survival, he none the less recognized it as a far better option than starving or freezing in the mountains of Wales, or being hanged as a criminal. Because of his skills in escape and evasion, and unchivalric warfare he quickly distinguished himself among the men as a brutally efficient tracker and manhunter.
After the fighting was over, Llwyd was given a position as an Underforester in Cannock Chase in the English Midlands. Here he hunted outlaws and criminals for over a decade, learning to read and write from the local Forest Court Magistrate. When a force of men was needed for a campaign in France, Llwyd was among the Midland and Anglo-Welsh archers that were called up. In his 30's he was now able to afford to bring a horse on campaign and was now one of the elite mounted archers who primarily protected the nobility as a body guard. With a decade or more of manhunting experience, he was able to capture a low ranking French knight at Cambrai during a nighttime counter attack. The ransom was small and was largely awarded to the English Lord to whom Llwyd was employed with, but still, his share was a great windfall for him. Years later and after Crecy it was onto Calais and home.
Returning home after the French campaign, Llwyd was just in time to witness the last of his village succumb to the black death, and so he personally buried them all. Alone and embittered he lost faith and broke with the church seeing it as foolish and parasitic. However due to the massive labour shortage, and availability of land after the plague, Llwyd was able to use his new found nest egg to buy a number of adjoining acres of land and became a Yeoman, a free land owner.
As the previous forester had died in the Plague, Llwyd was selected to replace him as the new Forester. He had a feared reputation already amongst the outlaws, and he was also able to read and write, and so administer the law efficiently, thus making him a highly qualified choice for the post. Now being quite comfortable with a small house and a farm, Llwyd paid an escaped family from a brutal Lord near Derby to work his land. Llwyd continued to arrest and bring to justice criminals and outlaws with a personal hatred of the robber knights who pillaged for sport.
While he turned an occasional blind eye to some petty peasant criminals, the outlaw gangs of the nobility were a constant source of frustration to him, as they were frequently pardoned and released after his efforts to bring them in. In his mid forties though, he began to have a win some lose some attitude and continued on with his post as Forester with no further frustration. The social mobility after the black death was good to him, and while he was well respected as a Yeoman often eating at the tables of knights, and guiding hunts for great lords, he did not have to enter far into that world, and was most comfortable in the forest and on the land.
Offices & Positions
Various Curia in the past.
In 2012-2013 Llwyd created the East Kingdom Foresters Guild and helped to Charter the East Kingdom Foresters Guild in 2015. He formerly served as its first Warden or principal officer. The members are primarily a camping and outdoor living group that study and teach; medieval wilderness skills, survival, and other woodland arts and Sciences. Taking on the role of Royal Foresters they also will occasionally bring outlaws before the barons or king to face justice.
Projects & Publications
Over 20 years experience in fabrication; mostly leather, textiles, wood, metal, antler, and bone.
Mundanely Llwyd is Lloyd Smith who is a professional wilderness guide, expedition canoeist, and outdoor enthusiast. Seeing like minded people as himself leave the SCA he created the foresters guild. They meet at SCA events and mundanely for activities and wilderness expeditions. Lloyd has been in the SCA since 1997.