The year starts with a bang as the grateful Bella of Oswestry forces her may into the Dux’s villa to announce a Sugales-Orfoise army is on the march attacking in alliance with Cameliard.
Sir Renauld is despatched to secure the aid of King Rhyons of Norgales with the Squire Errin.
Rumours of King Pellinore being held a prisoner in the midst of the Sugales Army and the expectation that he will be used to provoke some mischief with Norgales sees the Squires Piran, Spurius and Mathuin despatched to se eif they can rescue him.
Embassy to Dinas Bran
Sir Renauld bonds with King Rhyons who is suspicious of Cheshire cowardice. He also discovers Brother Padrig (that Sir Hannibal met in Moels) has converted the Norgales to christanity though ths does not seem to stop the rapine and cannibalism of the court. He sympathises with Father Michael the priest assigned as Rhyon’s confessor and meets Sir Belsen the rough hewn Castilian of Dinas Bran. The Armies of Norgales ride to the aid of Cheshire.
Attack of the Squires
Confirming the prisoner as King Pellinore the Squires concoct a plan whereas Piran escorts Spurius as a Pirsoner and Mathuin will create a firey diversion.
Piran is escorted into the midst of the Sugales camp escorted by Spurius. The Roman Squire stands out a little but there are Roman mercenaries amongst the throng so he is able to blag his way past curious on lookers (valorous check for both Squires for keeping their nerve.)
The Suglaes-Orfoise Army is a throng of civilised Cymric knights, Squires and men-at-arms, wild mountain men, Mercenaries not only Romans but Irish from Estregales, Franks and Saxons. Piran will recognises and draws his cloak around his head when Orofoise and Cameliard knights he saw at Guinevere’s christening pass close. Eventually you draw close to Pellinore – his cage is attended by a burly man at arms with a spear and shield.
Mathuin means while assembled his kindling only to be interrupted by a peasant boy shepherding goats he cannot bring himself to slaughter the boy and blows his cover to provide a diversion, Defeating a guard Piran and Spurius escape with the delirious guilt-laden King. Exiting the camp they comes across the Lady Ygraine – to be exled north for talking to Piran of the secrets of the order and she gives them some time to escape before raising alarms.
Sir Gregory of Stafford leading a small contingent of Cameliard with the Sugales force chases Mathuin and captures him with the aids of his sallow and sinster comrades the three brother Cerebus. He hoists Mathuin on a st Andrews cross and promises him unending torment in revenge for his brotThe her. So great is the Knights quest for vengeance that he has sworn himself to the Devil and the brothers Cerebus, expert trackers each, as his reward.
The View from the Beeston Crag
The Knights engaged in observation spot a Cameliard force advancing on Middlewhich. Sir Anerin and Sr Gato ride out for close reconissance and end up defeating and capturing Sir Brutus and Sir Alfred, exiled Knights of Gotham, refugees from the Saxons now serving under King Leogandance. While they garner intelligence Sir Hannibal and Sir Gilmere encounter an insect munching knife wielding maniac Reinfield who professes to love of ‘the Master’ tied to the prior home of the blood sucking lice – Beeston Crag.
The Battle of Chirk
King Rhyons with Sir Renauld accompanying him leads his army to the village of Chirk where they meet the Sugales force. King Pellinore left by Spurius as he seeks Renaulds council and as Piran goes back to rescue his friend Mathuin wanders onto the battlefield confused,. he is nearly killed by King Rhyon’s mighty bow but Renauld provides a distraction.
Battle is grave and bloody. Renauld leads a cavalry force round the flanks but misses the master stroke of King Belisans of Sugales who had hidde cavalry Renauld rode past which attack the Norgales flank causing King Rhyons to hold the line while his Army escapes the field. Spurius has a failing of will be is surely injured in the retreat. Piran manages to slip behind the lines and rescue the half crucified Mathuin.
Pellinore is found after the battle surrounded by bodies and escorted to Chester by Spurius – the confused King has a curious battle sanity that seems to leave him as the thrill of battle grows old.
The Battle of Middlewich
The kignhts of the Crag rejoin at Middlewhich and judging the townfolk incapable of a defence fake a garrison with scarecrows and antics by local village lads in order to trick king Leogandance to deploy his army to take the town. They are joined by Cunwrich a rider for Rhyons despatched to tell them of the defeat at Cirk. Sir Gilmere parlys with the King to create further delays but seeing he is getting nowhere challenges the King to single combat.
Give King Leogandance is still sore that his favoured Knight (Sir Gregory) has sworn himself a Satanist due to Sir Gilmere order the torture of his brother (Sir Geoffrey.) THe King accepts. Int he course of an epic battle the Sir Gato and Sir Hannibal evacuate the townsfolk and at the end both Leogandance and Gilmere lie bleeding an unconscious on the battlefield. Despite the narrow victory for Sir Gilmere the Cameliard forces sack the town.
Sir Anerin meanwhile has scouted for forces of Cameliard – identifies a force of Roman siege engineers. Caputirng and then killing their leader he makes it look like the activity of the Cameliard forces leading the Romans to quite the army. he further exercises his capacity for deception by pretending to be a rider from King Belisans telling the grievously wounded Leogandance that the Suglaes Army is defeated in retreat. Consequently following the raising of Middlewich the Cameliard forces starts to head south.
The Battle of Wrexham
The Dux taking the advice of his Knights rides south to check the Sugales Army. Renauld is again despite wounds that keep Mathuin and Spurius in Chester under Brother Cadfel’s care sent out to parley with Rhyons. King Leogandance is also in Chester.
The Chester forces meet Sugales outside Wrexham. Outnumbered they charge the skirmishers giving the Chester foot a chance for an orderly withdrawal then regroup behind their foot before repeating the process. They do this three times – with Hannibal losing his horse and behind surrounded and captured despite having being rescued once by Piran. All are gravely injured. Rhyons arrives all 8 foot of him charging on foot at the head of his cavalry but on thi day King Bellisans is a better general than Dux or King of Norgales and manages to escape with his army in good order. The allies shepherd the Suglaes Amry back to Orfoise taking crops and mounts but enter Winter anxious for renewed hostilities.
All is not grim – Sir Anerin manages to ride upon the battle late and pulling a similar deception claiming to be a Knight of Camelird purchases Sir Hannibals freedom even if he cannot restore his dignity.
But Sir Gilmere is changed hands at Stafford a taken to suffer innumerable indignities at the hands of Sir Gregory and the brothers Stafford. Who will save him ?
Sir Gato, Sir Anerin, Sir Hannibal and Sir Gilmere ride swiftly and make camp on the blasted top of the Crag. From there they have a view in 8 counties and kingdoms.