In 864, General William Baines, serving under King Robert, defeated an invasion attempt by Westland. The two armed meet in the wilderness north of Kingsford, in a decisive battle known as the Battle of the Woods. The fighting was chaotic due to the thick forest, making archers almost useless and relegating the cavalry to reserve status.
The crux of the battle came down to the footmen of both sides, in who fought a day-long battle. The Westland forces were finally defeated when the Mercerian general captured the enemy commander, forcing the surrender of the invading army. Baines negotiated a truce, agreeing to let the Westlanders return home in exchange for a vow to never again return.
By the populace, General Baines was heralded as a great victor, but the king was furious that the enemy was allowed to escape, and in retaliation, he removed the general from his position. Baines spent the rest of his days reliving his glory, becoming a self-declared expert on battle. His accidental victory has had a profound and detrimental effect on future tactics of Merceria.
The final incursion by Westland was in the summer of 916 when they launched a full-out attack on Colbridge. The Duke of Colbridge, using the tactics put forth by General Baines years earlier, suffered a serious battlefield defeat and was barely able to withdraw into the city to defend against a siege. He was killed later that day by a trebuchet bombardment that smashed into his house, destroying all within.
The successful defence of the city was then taken up by Sir Harold of Stilldale, who distinguished himself by counter-attacking at a crucial point. Sir Harold was lauded at court and held in high esteem by King Haran, but refused the honour of a further title. Instead, he returned to his home in Stilldale, where he tutored a young Richard Fitzwilliam.
Subsequent events are detailed in the series Heir to the Crown.