Cheshire is ill at ease after a brutal year of war in 499 and many knights join a fraternity the Kibbo Kift devoted to ceasing Cheshire fealty to Rhyons – they plot around Pellinore but take no action.
The Middlewhich Cuckoo
A lead is garnered regarding the disappearance of The Baroness Middlewhich, Aunt of many of the player knights. Sir Gato tracks across snowdonia following leads eventually coming across the Baronesses’s skin abandoned in a stone circle – further investigations reveal it was taken by witches to Angelesey Ynys Mons.
There he finds Raven witches being entertained by Segg-Hutton a sorcerer for hire who is to restore the skinless witch. He reveals the Baroness died nearly 10 years ago replaced by raven witch doppelgänger – the witch Megan who has been using her skin since.
Impassioned by his love of family Sir Gato cannot let this stand and attacks. The Raven witches transform into their namesake and mob him.
Initially Gato is laid about by three birds – holding his shield high he backs to a wall deft forward and backhand strokes despatching ravens as he goes. At one point things look pretty tricky when five sweep about his head the talons and beaks seeking out his juicy eyeballs but he is able to force himself flat against the wall and sever another avian mid flap.
As quickly as the attack has begun a half dozen Raven flap panicking out an open window. On the floor transformed is the rendered and cut asunder bodies of their now human sisters pouring ooze and ichor upon the hall floor.
The startled Segg-Hutton gestures mouth a gape and Geg and Mageg , his guards charge at Gato shields aloft and axes raised. Kicking some furniture at one to delay him Gato steps under the sweeping axe blade of the other – a shield bash throws the Cymric back, opening his guard and Gato’s sword drinks deep of his guts felling the foe.
An enraged brother beats Gato’s guard and his axe drinks deep into the Roman’s flank but despite taking damage the Roman keeps on this feet. He slashes wounds on the retreating axe hand and Mageg falls.
Given to mercy Gato allows him to regain his feet and then deftly cuts his throat with a precise jab downing the guard.
Segg-Hutton looks around eyes agape.
” Sir Knight you have me as a disadvantage” he draws a sharp sagged and holds it to the skinless witches neck ” your word you’ll spare my life and I shall offer you this witchly offering. We cannot effect her chrysalises now with the holy number and your vital essences seem keen to remain in their veins but take her to your Dux and I’m sure the secrets of Rhyon’s manipulations of his court will interest him.
Have we a bargain?”
Gato takes the offer and hails a boatman and making a prudently hiring him to sail him all the way to the Wirral and Moels where he can catches a boat to Chester and escapes crossing Rhyon’s hostile territory.
He shares his news with the Dux and family. The court is alive with rage at Rhyon’s subterfuge and fear now it has been discovered.
The Bronze Birds of Belisama
Refugees from North of the Belisama (Mersey) are impinging on Chester territory driven from their homes by rampaging brass birds. Sir Renauld, Sir Anerin, Sir Hannibal and the Squires Spurious and Rhys travel north. They find a stone eggs the birds hatched from tainted with magic in the dirty pool opposite Wallasey. Speaking to refugees they find tracks and trace the beasts up to Martin Mere. Here at this Lake they find the Lady Ygraine having protected herself and the sword Caliburn in her charge with a magic circle. She is practically catatonic.
Having noted the size of the beasts – three times the height of a man and that they seem bronze they have set traps with nets in the Marsh.
Crashing and smashing through the undergrowth come the beasts. Worse than imaging – skins and wickedly curved talons and beaks gleaming by the light of their fiery breath.
Acting quickly and in concert you charge the lead beast with the net carried on lance points. While the second bird flaps out the way the first is successfully draped and pinned by net though you horses panic in the proximity to the flailing fire breathing foulness and you have to dismount and let the horses flee or be carried away.
With one beast incapacitated you draw swords* to engage the mobile creature. Initially making good progress but after 4 turns the netted beast finds the range of Hannibal with its first breath and despite him raising its shield it renders him hors d’combat.
Spurious runs to his master’s defence. Anerin fumbles and loses his sword. All this time Renauld is like a one man cohort keeping the mobile bird from attacking them by covering the ground between it and his comrades like a lightening bolt his sword and shield flashing and blocking it at every turn landing the occasional blow.
Spurious shields Hannibal and with a raising shield charges down the firey breath to strike a powerful hit on the weighed down avian but the air being burnt away from him is too much and he swoons.
Anerin takes up Hannibal’s sword and Renauld join forces to combine against the mobile beast. As a team and manoeuvring to keep their foul foe between them and pinned beast they triumph. Turning on the pinned creature they still work deftly though Renauld gets hit and knocked down but being missed the following turn manages to find his feet and deliver the fatal blow.
The Knights of Cheshire have triumphed but at what cost ?
Fortunately Ygraine knows Chicurgery and can stabilise Romans Hannibal and Spurious who are unconscious. Relived by Sister of Minerva Nia – that the now married Renauld pines for they ride South to ill news of their aunt and the war.
Sir Piran, Sir Gilmere and Mathuin join the Cheshire Army as it ploughs south into Orofoise joined by comrades from Norgales. They hit resistance at Tern Hill cutting off a Cameliard Army looking to join their Orofoise and Sugales allies.
The Chester and Norgales cavalry mans the reverse slopes of hill while the infantry the facing hills with Chesters Legionaires holding the centre. Norgales skirmishers spread in the dead ground at the foot of the hill.
The Cameliard forces blunder into the Norgales in there urgency to join their allies. Peppered with javelins from all around they flounder and try and withdrawal but Rhyons commits the Cheshire cavalry to the west and his cavalry to the east closing around the Cameliardians.
This isn’t King Leogandance’s first battle and his spots the signs of encirclement and pulls his cavalry back however you still have chance to full upon the Cameliard foot caught in the traffic jam behind their van guard as Piran and Gilmere charge try and snap shut the jaws of the trap.
Both strike well with their lances into the Cameliard foot upending many – drawing swords they set upon the packed infantry both cleaning their way through sealing the trap in time to trap the Cameliard cavalry.
Riding out of of the Cameliard host comes Friar Stephen: the same Friar Stephen who leaked Sir Gilmere’s comrades so they could rescue him from the satanic Sir Geoffrey of Stafford – however such counts for nought with Sir Gilmere who charges him.
Sir Piran is engaged by the a Neil O’ Muirgheasea an Irish survivor of the siege of Chester now in Cameliard service.
Sir Gilmere , Sir Piran and Mathuin charge into the fleeing Cameliards trying to seal the trap.
Sir Gilmere is charges at Friar Stephen channeling his trauma and rage into the battle.
Mathuin is battling a Squire Cynon and Sir Piran his knight Sir Tathan.
Sir Gilmere is laid low by the Priest abs has to be sent to his manor to recover. Mathuin is wounded and Sir Piran fails to significantly hurt his foe. The Cameliard’s escape.
Battle of Wrexham
Sir Piran and Mathuin follow the Dux’s Army as he chases after the forces of Cameliard. The enemy avoids battle at every turn and the Sugales Army is reported behind by the Chester rear guard. There is a frantic race to the west to try and slip out of the jaws of the trap and race up the Chester road. The Cameliardians are laggardly in pursuit but the Sugales sit astride the road at Wrexham blocking the retreat. There is no sign of Chester’s Norgales allies.
With nothing to lose the Dux commits everything to the assault.
Sir Piran and Mathuin meet the clash of lances and are both unhorsed hurt ! Mathuin unconscious. Sir Piran at a disadvantage fends of an assault by an eager Sergeant-at-arms of Sugales eventually seeing his chance and dispatching his opponent with a stab under the ribs and extended shield. However a fumble on a horsemanship roll sends the Sergeants mount skittering into the melee.
Things are getting desperate now. They are going bad for Chester and all around Sugales men mill. Sir Piran successfully calls upon the passion for his Lord and sets to a Sugales knight in a flurry of blows he knocks the mounted man from his horse but again fumbles and sends the south Welsh horse fleeing into the fight.
Things are close now and Piran is close to getting fatigued with one last effort he launches himself at a new opponent taking blows on his shield he manages to smash his sword on his foes kite. Rolling under a wild blow he grabs Mathuin’s sword leaps up despatches the Sugalian, throws Mathuin over the pommel and hurls himself into the saddle – just in time as fatigue sets in next turns as he spurs the horse slumped away from the chaos of the battle.
He joins the stragglers heading north – the flower of Cheshire knighthood has been broken and their will be dark days ahead for the country – surely it will need any friend it can get – even Rhyons?
Dark days for Cheshire – Betrayal by a liege, division within, enemies victorious