The year opened with a fire lit in the breasts of the Salisbury knights. No longer would they be content to be on the defensive: Their walls were strong, their army was ready, their allies were gathered, and they were going to take the fight to the barbarians in their land. With that resolution, it was a surprise to the Knights when Duchess Ellen summoned them to discuss the possibility of paying tribute to Prince Cynric again.
The Wessex prince had arrived with a demand for tribute – twice the usual rate to defend, but also three times the rate to fight alongside the Britains. The Duchess proposed actually taking up the Prince on his offer of defense, and committing her entire army to wiping out The Silver King once and for all. Though continuing to pay Saxons was distatseful, the thought of marching to battle to wipe out an enemy caught the ear of all present, and it was eventually agreed on.
The call went out for mercenaries, and one more group arrived to assist: Praetor Syagrius had arrived on the island at some point, and offered the services of him and his mercenary army to the Salisbury knights in exchange for a payment of 500 Librum. The expenses this year were great for the Salisbury knights, but many notable knights came forward with enough money, including Sir Isadora, Sir Esme, , and Sir Peregrine.
With the Saxons left watching their lands against incursions from King Idres, the Salisbury army set forth to settle things with The Silver King. Fortunately they did not march alone, for en route they came across a large force of Hartland troops sent by Count Gariant to reinforce them, led by Sir Gwynhael herself.
Marching North into what had once been Gentian, the Salisbury army was soon met by a massive force to oppose them. Composed of two disparate elements, one portion seemed to be a group of rabble and soldiers, large but untrained, while the other seemed like something out of myth and legend – an army of the fair folk. The Silver King could be seen extolling the faerie army, and from the halo of light around him, the troops suspected that this was Calthabor, back for revenge.
Sir Isadora had been given the honour of leading the Salisbury army, who gave an impassioned speech and led her troops into battle. Under her command, she swiftly cut through the enemy army, routing the rabble and even scattering faerie knights under her sword. As she approached the enemy rear for a flanking action though, a terrible trap was sprung. The Silver King charged Praetor Syagrius’s men, and rather than opposing them, Syagrius joined up with him. Calthabor then removed his mask and passed it to Syagrius, revealing him to be the true Silver King.
The battle threatened to collapse at that moment, but even with the now outflanked position they found themselves in, Sir Isadora held firm and her troops fought off the two armies arrayed against them. Finally breaking to the enemy rear, she directed her troops to wreak havoc on the enemy forces. Sensing weakness, Calthabor himself led his troops to challenge them. His bodyguards were fierce, but Sir Gwynhael managed to defeat her opponent, and challenge Calthabor. The Faerie prince, though blustery, proved to be her lesser in a fight, and Gwynhael slew him in one blow.
With Calthabor’s death, his forces disappeared as if they were fog in the morning. Now lacking an army, Syagrius attempted to retreat, but found his exit cut off by reinforcements from King Nanteleod, who had launched a simultaneous attack in the North. The Roman commander was defeated and surrendered, leading to the destruction of Argent utterly.
Syagrius knew execution was likely, but managed to bargain for his life with a secret that he had. Sir Cynehild, missing these last few years, was currently being held and tortured by Cerridwen the Sorceress. In exchange for her location, he was banished to the continent to face the wrath of King Claudas of France. Though the Goblet Knights were eager to rescue Sir Cynehild, the army itself stayed with Nanteleod to go and reinforce Duke Corneus against the Saxons.
The battle at Lindsey was perfunctory, as the much larger force of Logres and Cambria easily outmatched Sir Uren and his mixture of Cymri and Saxon forces. They were forced into an early retreat, and Lindsey was finally relieved. In gratitude, Duke Corneus swore a pact of friendship with King Nanteleod, adding to the Cambrian’s powerful allies in Logres.
For Sir Cynehild, the Goblet Knights rode North to Cumbria, and a secluded glade where Syagrius claimed she could be found. Before they could enter, they were met by Sir Cynehild’s squire who begged them to go no further. Apparently this was a plan between Sir Cynehild, Nineve, and Duchess Ellen to stall for time to find out how to defeat Cerridwen once and for all. Though none liked it, eventually all knights turned back, swearing to return next year to rescue her come what may.
None of the Goblet Knights were happy with Duchess Ellen, but she promised to explain them in the spring. This was not the only bad news of the year, for Duke Ulfius was attacked by Essex, and the city of London had fallen into Saxon hands. In spite of that, the news was optimistic for the coming year. Two threats had been removed, and Nanteleod seemed stronger than ever.
For the first time since the death of King Uther Pendragon, there seemed to be hope in the land…