In 1220, Anne VII disappeared from the Castle at Rhondisfarne, leaving no trace of her whereabouts. Long mad, the Queen had a habit of hiding from her Royal Escort, playing this children’s game well into her mid-thirties. The position of Shieldbearer was created in response to her games, though it sadly ineffective in this case. Theories abound on what happened to Mad Queen Anne, yet her body was never discovered. Anne VII, herself an only child, also gave birth to a single child, Marion, who would rule as Marion III. Marion died without issue and so the throne passed to her mother’s brother’s son, Willem, who would rule as Willem V. Willem also died without issue, creating a succession crisis. Two successive rulers had died without issue with an abnormally small number of siblings. The next of kin to the king was third cousin, of which no less than twenty-six claimants qualified, all descendants of Anne VI. The Succession Crisis had begun.
Four major contenders quickly distanced themselves from the rest by way of power and bribery. They were: Katerina, the current Earl of Eaton; Deron, the current Earl of Mancaster; Harold, Lord of the Dun Fortress; Anne, eldest daughter and heir of the Earl of Mornton. Jockeying for position, they convinced their fellow claimants to drop out and throw their support to them, offering titles, lands, and gold. The Hollow Regency, a collection of Marshals and bureaucrats that kept the kingdom running while the nobles decided who would succeed Anne VII, threw their early support to Katerina, great-great-granddaughter of Anne VI. She would take the throne twice, from 1272-1273 and against from 1274-1275. Deron, 38th Earl of Mancaster, staged a coup, taking control of the city, but nothing else, and crowning himself King. The city lay under siege for over a year, until it was retaken by Katerina’s forces.
During the siege, however, one of the other claimants, Vicaria, Lord of the Harlan Vale, themself a descendant of Anne VI, was trapped within the walls as well. They gave food and shelter to the poor while traveling the city in the dead of night, often hiding from Deron’s soldiers. They became a symbol of resistance to oppression and avarice as they roamed through the streets and alleys. When Katerina retook the throne in late winter 1274, she named herself Queen. Within a month, however, the people of Rhondisfarne came to demand that Vicaria be named Ruler, telling stories of their heroism and devotion to the people. Katerina relented and abdicated the throne, later marrying Vicaria and becoming Princess Consort. They died the same year, 1309.