King Uther Pendragon rode out with his entire army to meet the northern Saxons, Octa and Eosa, in battle. Battle was joined outside the walls of Lincoln, and the fields shook to hooves of 2,000 mounted knights and 5,000 footmen of Briton. Their charge is met by a solid wall of 10,000 slavering Saxon dogs. Though the first hours of combat were kind to our heroes, they are struck a dolorous blow, as Sir Rhydderch is felled from his destrier. Both Sir Cadfael and Wynfor of Broughton are struck serious blows as they ride to their companion’s rescue. Beset upon all sides by enemies, the knights and their armsmen fought their way to the hospital tents, barely arriving in time to staunch Sir Rhydderch’s bleeding. The battle goes very well for the Britons; Duke Gorlois beheading the monster Eosa! The Saxons crumbled not long after, fleeing the field in panic.
3 months later, our knights have recovered from their injuries thanks to the gentle tending of the ladies of Lincoln. Earl Roderick tasks them with representing Salisbury at the King’s Court while he returns to take up management of his lands once again. The knights spend the next several months following the King from castle to castle in Malahaut and other small northern kingdoms, as he uses the power of Excalibur and his diminishing army to coddle, force and cajole the obeisance of the local lords. The King’s presumption reaches new heights as he continually forbids Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall and his enchantingly gorgeous wife; Ygrainne. There are rumors that the King’s untoward behavior is driven by a lust for the Duchess.
One frosty night, our heroes are recovering from their carousing around a fire in the courtyard of a small castle the King and his court have appropriated. Though Sir Cadfael and Sir Rhydderch are overcome by drink, Wynfor of Broughton notices a small group of figures attempting to sneak out of the castle under the cover of the blizzard. He steps up to confront them and is surprised to find himself face to face with The Lady of the Lake, who has cast an enchantment to help Gorlois and his wife flee from the dastardly king. In exchange for his silence, The Lady bestows a healing salve to take back to his ailing infant daughter.