Lion Knight History 5 – 8
Chapter 5: 1988
The Black Falcons had been beaten – but suddenly there was not just one new threat to the peace of the Lion Knights, but two… On the edge of the forest, where there had been an investment in heavy industry in the earlier period, there were now green-cloaked armed peasants who were going to try and stop any more incursions into their territory. The Lion Knights invested in some heavy artillery to try and suppress these rebels, but it would be the last major assault weaponry that they would be able to bring into action.
The other, more deadly, threat came in the form of the new Black Knight – claiming descent from the original adversary of Sir Richard, they moved straight into the heartlands of the Lion Knights with forces that were better equipped than the Lions, and they came with a formidable fortress and a much larger number of soldiers. Time would tell whether these new troops could be beaten…
Chapter 6: The Secret Tournament (1988-89)
This hidden set might just give a clue as to how the Black Knights were so successful in taking over the territory of the older factions and in driving out the Lion Knights from their home. While they are covered by different set numbers, as you can see, they are identical and were released under a Shop at Home banner instead of through mainstream releases in two consecutive years.
Looking at them and what came next, my suggestion is that the members of the royal court faced a grave threat of taking on the Black Knight in battle, having already been weakened by the previous campaigns and looking at the strength of the opposing forces in 6085: Black Monarch’s Castle that had been seen in the previous period. They therefore delivered an option of their own, to set up a challenge in the tournament ring with champions present, with the winners having the choice of the territory to be occupied. A new knight was chosen to represent the Lion Knights, due to the heavy reliance on ground forces in the previous recent periods, but the Black Knight himself came forward to answer the challenge. With his proven experience in battle under the Falcons banner, he was the clear victor in this tournament, and the Lion Knights were forced to give up their heartlands.
Time was running out for the Lion Knights – they were being pushed back on all sides, and they faced grave threats to their authority and prosperity. Could they dig in somehow for a final push to restore their fortunes and livelihoods…?
Chapter 7: 1989-90
After losing all their territory to the Black Knights in the secret tournament, the Lion Knights and their royal masters were forced to retreat and regroup. By some ironic twist, they were assisted in this by their old rivals the Black Falcons, who rose in rebellion against the Black Knights in this period when they launched a final desperate assault in a bid for independence. The Falcons were beaten back, but it gave just enough time for the Lions to retreat and build themselves a mountain fortress, where they were able to pause under the royal banner and regroup.
However, it is clear that the threats from the Forest People were becoming too much for the Lions – they were being relentlessly pursued, and even an assault on the outlaws’ river fortress was easily beaten back, showing that the Lion Knights were no longer the invincible force of their earlier glory days. There were token victories for the soldiers, including the capture of a key outlaw ringleader, but the official records show that even the Mountain Fortress was ultimately overwhelmed by the green Forest People – who were probably assisted by the appearance of a ghost in the middle of the fortifications, which must have been devastating for morale amongst the troops.
And so we enter the final days of the Lion Knights, who were about to disappear without trace…
Chapter 8: 1991-92
By 1991, the Lion Knights had been overrun from their positions and were being relentlessly pursued – these two sets that were released didn’t even make it into the official catalogues. I see 1480: King’s Catapult as being a last-ditch defensive post as the royal family retreated into the mountains, but I suspect that it wouldn’t hold the Black Knight off for long. 1463: Treasure Cart suggests that the last of the treasure was being smuggled out into hiding – but I have to assume that in the absence of anyone else around, the rest of the knights and the royal retinue had been captured – perhaps by the new Wolfpack faction that appeared to cause further problems for the forces of law and order.
The land was descending into chaos, which the main armed factions were unable to control. The Wolf People would last a short time, but new armies were coming: the Black Knights would face the green shields of the Dragon Knights, and then new Royal Knights would appear – but they seem to have had no relationship links to the Lion Knights – but even with their mighty warriors they couldn’t bring order to the land. New outlaws would appear and Fright Knights and even Ninja would fight for prevalence in the land. There would be wizards, ghosts, dragons and witches amongst the standard levels of fighting.
For some, this period (1993-1999) would be seen as a dark age for LEGO Castle, while for others it would be the chaos that they grew up in.
And so we come to the end of our story marking the glory of the Lion Knights – who would go down in Castle legend and be remembered for a long time afterward. There was a brief sighting of them in 2001 in 10000: Guarded Inn, but that was more of a memory than anything else. However, we can never say that we have seen the permanent end of this faction – after all, the Black Falcons made their own reappearance some 30 years after they disappeared from the official records – so maybe the red and yellow flags of the Lions might once again fly again at some point in the future…