The new year was an optimistic one for the people of Salisbury. With The Silver King defeated and his Kingdom broken, the mood was optimistic. Unfortunately, King Idres was not idle the last year and had begun an invasion of Summerland, conquering much of King Cadwy’s lands and driving the King and his knights into the swamp. This year, among the visitors Princess Junah and Prince Boudwin were in attendance, as well as Sir Alain, and Prince Cynric – a tense group.
The mood refused to be dampened though, for Roland, their heir of Salsibury, had demanded to be knighted despite his young age. Pressing Sir Peregrine his former master into knighting him, he then ascended to Lord of all Salisbury knights. During his coronation feast, he made no secret of his plan to march on Sir Beorhtric and the traitorous knights who had refused to stand with his mother, and now him.
Not all were eager to attend a Siege though. The news of the fate of Sir Cynehild had affected all Goblet Knights, and they were eager to march off in search of her. Duchess Ellen informed them that Cynehild had left at the request of Nineve in order to placate the anger of the sorceress Cerridwen. As Cerridwen had proven all-but-immune to normal attacks, Nineve had left to try and determine the source of her immortality, and find a way to surpass it.
Her words were well-timed, for Nineve chose that moment to return and request the help of a handful of knights to rescue Sir Cynehild. Sparing Sir Matthaus, Sir Dragain, Sir Gwynhael, and Sir Peregrine for the quest, the four knights set off with Nineve while the remainder of Salisbury made ready to defend their lands, as well as besiege Sir Beorhtric.
Nineve revealed to her four companions that Cerridwen had learned her spell of protection from four ancient hags that had long ago plagued the land of Britain. She had managed to track down three of them, but was no closer to discovering their weakness. Time was running out for Sir Cynehild though, and she asked for the Knights to ride with her and try to slay the creatures while there was still time.
The group headed North into Cameliard where they witnessed a knight whipping some peasants for intruding on his lands. He was in the right by the law, but Sir Gwynhael implored him – privately at the request of Sir Peregrine – to forgive the peasants before finishing their punishment and Sir Dragain offered to pay for the lost food. The knight agreed, and in thanks the peasants revealed that they had only strayed from their grazing lands because of three horrible creatures in the mountains. The strongest of them had set off to try and confront the creatures, but had not returned.
The mountain passes proved a little difficult to navigate in, but Sir Peregrine easily tracked down the site of a skirmish where there were two blood trails: One heavily wounded one leading into some nearby caves, and a lightly wounded one heading up the mountains. Choosing to follow the lightly wounded one, they journeyed for a day and a half to the top of the hills, at the summit of which was set another cave. As Sir Dragain let out a mighty Irish taunt, the three hags emerged from the top of the hill where they had been hiding to argue with the group.
All but Sir Dragain charged up the mountain, braving the rocks hurled by the hags to confront them. Sir Peregrine and Sir Gwynhael were first in the fight, with Sir Peregrine using his great skill at Grappling to pin and immobilize one of the creatures, while Sir Gwynhael was hard pressed by her opponent’s razor-sharp claws. Sir Matthaus found his climb impeded by many hurled rocks, but also came up to confront the creatures. Unfortunately, their weapons – though varied – proved unable to penetrate the Hags’ skin, and Dragain’s taunting failed to elicit the secret of their weakness. The weapons could knock them down, but no damage could be found.
The battle was interrupted by Sir Gwynhael’s squire, who came out of the cave bearing a small, peasant’s dagger that had some blood on it. Furious at this, the Hags redoubled their efforts to strike down the knights, but though all were unskilled with a dagger, they brought down two, while the third one fled. Sir Peregrine wanted to pursue it, but Nineve felt with its weakness uncovered another could kill it – the priority now was Cerridwen
Cerridwen’s glade was again located, and Sir Cynehild’s squire wept openly to see Nineve coming to save her master. Once more trying to protect the Knights from Cerridwen’s bewitching, the Knights found that Cynehild was down by a lake with a massive knight in red looming over her. Coming out of a magnificent pavilion was Cerridwen, whose allure was immediately felt by all knights present.
None fell under his sway, but Sir Gwynhael and Sir Matthaus refused to give in to her blandishments. Sir Dragain and Sir Peregrine approached, as if under her spell, but Cerridwen saw through Dragain’s deceptions. Asking Peregrine to slay his friend, he instead turned and drove his dagger deep into her chest. Though it was a mighty blow, Cerridwen did not die, but did yell for her giant knight to kill the others.
The fiend roared and was intercepted by Sir Gwynhael and Sir Matthaus, while Sir Dragain and Peregrine fell on Cerridwen with their daggers. They were joined by a wounded but furious Sir Cynehild, and the three again dealt a ferocious blow to the sorceress, who repeated her trick of turning into a thrush to escape. The tiny form eluded their daggers, but the fiend knight had been brought down, and Sir Matthaus called for the falcon he had brought earlier to hunt down the thrush. It raked the creature slightly, but it was enough to knock her from the sky. Turning into a human as she fell, Cerridwen lay on the ground badly wounded, and if she survived the fall, she did not survive Cynehild’s retribution.
Sir Cynehild was rescued, though badly scarred from her experience of constant fighting. Returning to Salisbury, Nineve promised to try and help her get through her ordeal, but it would be some time. Unfortunately, though the army in no way was beaten, the Siege of Over-Wallop ended in an inconclusive result.
Their band was stronger, but their enemies remained many, and there was no sign of relief on the horizon…