As they marched to St. Albans, the four Knights who had traveled to the Forest Sauvage last year were caught up on the events that had led them to this point. The diplomatic envoy to Estregales had ended in disaster, and the assassination of King Canan. Lindsey had been completely overrun late in the year, and Duke Corneus was missing and presumed dead. Without the Northern army, the Saxons had been gradually pillaging their way south into Logres, and the army was heading to St. Albans to make their stand there. Unfortunately, as they approached the city, the news from the fleeing peasantry told them that they were too late – the Saxons had already arrived.
Hurrying to St. Albans, the British army found that the gates of the city were already open, and impulsively Uther ordered his infantry to advance. Many of the Knights suspected a trap, and were proved right when the gates of the city suddenly snapped shut, and archers appeared on the battlements cutting soldiers down left and right. The unmounted troops frantically retreated, but the British forces took a large hit and morale was low. Many thought it was time to retreat, but Uther insisted they hold their ground and prepare for siege. The next morning, the gates of St. Albans opened, and a Saxon force twice the size of the British one emerged – the Saxons were going to meet the British in battle after all.
The Battle of St. Albans was a fierce affair. A mixture of Malahaut knights led by Sir Uren, German mercenaries led by Herr Waldek, and Saxons led by the tactics of King Octa and strength of King Eosa. Sir Liam O’Malley led the Salisbury contingent, and together with Sir Gariant, Sir Beorhtric, and Sir Judicael met Herr Waldek in combat personally, and slew both him and his bodyguards greatly disorganising the Saxon forces. Sir Carver succumbed to a strange madness in the battle and fled, and Sir Gwold assisted Sir Liam and Sir Judicael in tearing down King Octa’s banner further confusing the Saxons. Having been fighting nearly all day, the battle came to an end when Kings Octa and Eosa met King Uther and Prince Madoc in combat, and Octa was slain, and Eosa critically wounded. The will of the Saxons was broken, and a great victory was declared for the British forces.
The victory feast was a grand celebration. For their prowess in defeating the Saxons, Sirs Gariant, Gwold, Judicael, and Liam were all invited to dine with the High King, while the remaining knights camped outside in the bailey in a celebration all their own. Sir Cynehild and Sir Isadora took up watch to ensure a repeat of the Battle of Mount Damen didn’t occur, but the night was a joyous and raucous affair… until Sir Conlan heard screams of terror coming from inside. Bursting into the hall, he found a grisly sight before him.
All the Lords of Logres lay dead, their bodies contorted and blood foaming out of their mouths. Only a few survived, among them Sir Gariant cradling his brother’s body. Father Dewi also survived, and later confirmed that the only Knights who survived were those who had drank no alcohol that evening – the Lords of Logres were dead by poison. Uther, Madoc, Roderick, and more all dead in an instant.
King Uther and Prince Madoc were laid to rest at the Giant’s Circle, and though many expected Duke Ulfius – who survived due to being wounded – to take up the mantle of leadership, he ordered the remaining Knights back to their manor to make fast against the coming wars and winter. The unity of Britain was shattered, and people retreated to their own counties.
In Logres, Lady Ellen was now the ruler of Salisbury, as her eldest son was still too young to assume the throne. Many disagreed with the idea of bowing to her, including Sir Beorhtric who refused to swear fealty to the Duchess. Most however followed the lead of Sir Gariant and pledged to follow the Duchess through the coming trying times. Though many called for vengeance against those who refused to swear loyalty, Duchess Ellen allowed any who would not serve her passage to leave, with only the telling that no Knight of Salisbury would render any assistance to them until such time they honoured their oaths.
Winter was harsh this year, as if nature itself mourned the loss. Driven by snowfalls, the Knights of Britain prepared to weather an uncertain future, with no King to look forward to, and enough Saxon Kingdoms left to threaten them all.
And far away, in London, Sir Carver regained his senses in a churchyard, where he found Excalibur buried in an anvil, which bore the inscription “Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of the Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise King Born of All England”…