King Nanteleod sent the word far and wide this year: The army of Logres would meet up with his, and together they would march on and end King Cerdic of Wessex. It was a bold and ambitious plan, and to the eye of Count Gariant one that was risky, yet could pay off great rewards if it worked. The forces of Logres were for the most part willing to join up with Nanteleod to join – but not all.
Prince Uffo of Silchester came to court as the army was mustering, bringing with him a missive from Duke Ulfius, saying that Nanteleod was being too arrogant and his overconfidence would doom their army. Silchester would not be sending knights, and Uffo urged Salisbury to do the same. Surprisingly, Sir Beorhtric came to the defense of Nanteleod, and argued the prince down. In the end, Earl Roland agreed with his knight, and ordered an all army deployment to join Nanteleod.
Before the army could ride out though, one knight did not answer the call. After years of plying his romance, Sir Carver had his amour towards the former queen Ygraine answered, but the Lady would not break her vows towards God. However, unwilling to live without the other, Carver took up the Cloth of the British Christian church, and the pair retired to live out their lives serving the church of Durrington
The Battle of Netley Marsh was the largest since the Battle of Eburacum in Uther’s day. Around 10,000 combatants on each side faced off with each other, ready to settle the fate of their respective Kingdoms. King Cerdic had chosen his battle well, for the terrain was unfavourable to the horses of a knight, giving them a small advantage. Some understood then Gariant’s analysis, but their troops were still superior, and the order was given to charge out.
Sir Isadora led her own eschille consisting of Sir Beorhtric, Sir Heddwyn, and Count Gariant into the battle. An early opportunity led them into behind Saxon lines swiftly, and they prepared to wreak havoc on their lines. As they charged forward however, out of the Saxon’s many tents rode hundreds of horsemen, led by King Idres – the Cornish forces were waiting to reinforce!
Hard pressed by these reinforcements, the Salisbury forces were forced back, but with fierce fighting, again Isadora led her troops to the rear line, whereupon they turned and fell on the Saxons, greatly devastating their lines. King Cerdic gave the order to retreat, and the Logres army made ready to pursue and crush them. At this moment of victory, came a great tragedy – a knight that none recognised rode up to Nanteleod in the confusion, and slew him in a single great blow.
This knight was recognised by some as Prince Cynric in disguise, and he and his disguised retinue caused havoc behind British lines, attempting to refocus on Earl Roland. Sir Esme, Sir Brud, Sir Peregrine, and Sir Aethswild all fought to reach their Lord. Though blows rained down on them, they arrived just in the nick of time thanks to the heroic actions of Sir Cynehild taking the blow for Earl Roland. Unable to slay the Salisbury Lord, Prince Cynric tried to retreat, but was dealt a ferocious blow. Unfortunately, they were unable to seize the Prince’s injured body as his troops led him back to safety.
The death of Nanteleod still collapsed the Logres lines, and the army was forced to withdraw. Thankfully Isadora led her troops out of there, but more than half the army that rode to Netley Marsh died there, and the Cornish/Saxon alliance was left free reign to plunder the land. The rest of the year, the knights stayed in their own manor, unable to challenge the greater forces. Their fields were razed, their lands looted, and it seemed that the days which were so bright earlier were now dark once again.
And yet it was out of this deepest despair, that a new plan of hope would arise, for Britain could not afford to put off crowning a new High King any longer…