As winter gave in to spring, word was filtering down through the British command structure that a great battle was on the horizon. King Lot had accused Merlin the Magician of stealing away and murdering newborn babies in the North, and had demanded the magician be turned over for execution. High King Arthur Pendragon rejected all such notions, stating that Merlin was the finest man he knew and those charges were baseless. With King Lot being unwilling to compromise, war seemed inevitable and Earl Roland charged his knights to make ready.
Before the battle though, a great amount of gossip swept through the land. Some were troubled by Lot’s accusations of Merlin. Arthur did not deny the event happened, but remained resolute in his faith that Merlin could not be involved, and for most – though not all – that was enough. Troublingly though, Merlin told the High King that he would not be at the battle, his efforts were needed elsewhere and Arthur would have to lead his troops to victory on his own.
As the eve of battle dawned and Merlin was nowhere to be seen, some in the camp grumbled accusations against the wizard, but Arthur was unbowed, and believed that his knights would carry the day. Aid came from an unexpected quarter, as Sir Balin and Sir Balan – both still exiles after their murder of Nineve – arrived at Arthur’s camp with the shackled King Ryons. The pair had snuck behind enemy lines, battled, and captured the king, who now spat curses at the beardless commander who would oppose him.
In the morning the knights of Logres made ready to face down the Cambrian men, supported by the Cornish troops of King Idres. King Lot however was nowhere to be seen, nor was his army. Arthur’s troops had the advantage numerically, and it would have to be enough as the Battle of Terrabil commenced.