Celtic Britannia - 398 AD

Celtic Britannia - 398 AD

A Chapter by Alex W
"

The beginning of the story, focusing on the main character Turi.

"

            Turi scanned the area for more movement, notching an arrow to his bow, but there was nothing. For a second he thought he might have imagined it, but he knew his senses. He had always been able to see movement far in the distance, or hear the snapping of a twig from three hundred paces. Such powerful senses had been recognised by his Clans’ druid Aislin as a rare gift, and after several years of being taught how to hunt for food, at the last clan feast of the previous year he was announced as the chief hunter for his people.

He scanned the tree line again, but still nothing. He was sure he had heard it, and then it rang out again. A horn blared through the light fog, and a distant roar of cheering followed it. Turi knew the sound well, he had been witness to a Saxon raid before, and he knew that he must raise the alarm. The local Auxiliaries wouldn’t be this far into the forest, as though they were on good terms with the local clans of this area, they were also Christian and feared the Pagan gods of the valley.

            Once again the horn blew, and this time he could make out the flit of an axe being thrown, and the clash of metal. The Saxons had been pillaging the area every few summers, and Turi knew that the Clan would need to be warned to stand a fighting chance. He leapt over a fallen elk and headed for the village outskirts, running parallel to the sound of the horns that now rang out more frequently.

            He put the arrow back into its quiver and ran for what seemed like an age, the fear of being caught alone only beaten by the fear of his clan being faced by the raiders without a chance to prepare. He finally reached the clearing, but the raiders had beaten him to it. Before him, down the steep slope to the edge of the small palisade, were around forty Saxon warriors, all equipped with axes and shields. Their chainmail looked impressive upon their chests; Turi presumed that there were Saxon nobility among them. Not many warriors could afford such battle gear.

            Seeing that the main village gate had been closed, he lowered himself onto the grass, trying to stay out of sight, as he caught his breath. A wave of relief washed over him, as he knew that at least now they could face the raiders. If they had reached the village without an alarm being raised, then his people would all have surely been slaughtered. Around one hundred people lived in his Clans village, around thirty warriors with their wives and children. Turi had been born here, his mother died during the birth, and his father killed on a raid not long after. He had been raised by the local Druid, of whom saw potential in him, and tried to find a way to use it for the good of the Clan.

            Scanning the horizon, he could see no Romans in the area, his hope that a passing patrol might come to their aid was not to be. Bowing his head to the ground, he prayed to Sucellus, God of forests, to thank him that the village had been warned. The echoing of weapons must have alerted the Clan, and he promised to pay a tribute to Sucellus once the raiders had been dealt with.

            He looked up to see the Saxons were hacking at the village gate, but to no avail. Several more had moved back towards the clearing, and were chopping down a tree, for what Turi suspected would be a makeshift battering ram. The village gate wouldn’t stand much damage; it had only been put up to keep the wolves out after a number of them had attacked the two men on guard several nights ago. But he knew this delay would give the Clan time to arm themselves and get ready for the oncoming fight.

            Turi felt for how many arrows he still had in his quiver. Two had been spent when trying to snare a deer that had come hurtling from the direction of the Saxons just before he heard the initial horn blow. Another had fallen out somewhere along the way, but he still had 12 left. Despite the fact he’d have to be very precise with his aim, he felt better for the fact that he was equipped to defend himself if the time came. He also had his hunting knife, which he used to kill deer if the arrow had not quite finished it off. He did not enjoy the task of killing deer, Turi was amazed by their speed and grace, but the Clan needed food and deer were the best food around.

            The sound of shouting came from above the gate, and Turi could see a few of the Leaders bodyguard taunting the Saxons as they shouted abuse at each other. He could not see his Leader, Aodhan. Aodhan was the son of a great warrior from the west of Britannia, who had settled in the area and became leader when the previous leader died heirless. And so when he died his son Aodhan became Clan leader. His name was said to come from the word for ‘fire’, and anyone who had fallen foul of Aodhan knew he had a fiery temper.

He had once gutted a careless Roman messenger who insulted the Clans honour, and sent the head back to his employers. But he was a good leader, and a brave one, who ruled well over clan proceedings. Looking across again Turi could now see Aodhan and a large number of the clans top warriors gathered above the gate where they were shouting all manner of insults and curses towards the Saxons. The insults were matched by ones that Turi didn’t understand, as they all seemed to be in Nordic. He knew of the language, but had no idea of the words or runes that made up their language.

As he watched the Saxons toiling away at the tree, the clang of an axe made Turi jump in fright. As he swung himself up and turned to look behind him, he saw an axe flying towards him and with no time to move he just shut his eyes, fearing the worst. He felt the axe head rip into his left shoulder, and Turi screamed loudly as an intense pain now struck his left arm. He wrenched the axe from his body, screaming again, and looked up to see two lightly equipped Saxons with helmets and hunting equipment. He instinctively grabbed for an arrow but upon stringing it and pulling the bowstring the pain in his arm was so great that his arm shook uncontrollably. He loosed the string, and the arrow arced to the right of one of the Saxons.

Knowing he could not use the bow, he dropped it and pulled out his knife. He could not match two warriors with his knife, and thought about running towards the village, but he’d ever outrun the two warriors before him. Holding the knife in his right hand, he beckoned the warriors towards him,

“Come on then you Saxon scum, meet your f*****g maker!”, he roared.

The Saxon on Turis’ right roared at him and charged. He swung hard at Turis’ already wounded left arm, but Turi ducked the attack and swung his knife at the warriors’ throat. The blade sliced through his neck like the skin was never even there, and the Saxon fell back, gargling and clutching his throat until a few seconds later he moved no more.

The second Saxon looked at his fallen comrade and approached cautiously, hissing Nordic at Turi as he slowly crept closer. Turi noticed the axe on the floor next to him, and before the Saxon was close enough he made a grab for it. Just as he got his left hand to it, the Saxon leapt at him, attempting to bring his axe down onto Turis’ skull. Turi was too quick though, and with a roar of pain and effort, he swung his left hand upwards and felt the Saxons axe just brush the side of his face as his own axe connected with the Saxons forehead and blood splattered across Turis’ face.

As the lifeless Saxon body fell to the floor, everything became still again. He could still hear the insults from the village being shouted, and now a banging sound, but Turis’ mind wandered. He lifted his hand to his head, and he felt blood there. Running his hand up to his forehead he could feel now more blood, and it dawned on him that the Saxon had not totally missed. He could feel a gaping wound there, and he threw up as the pain now rushed to his head.

The world began to spin, he could no longer make out the trees properly, and upon trying to stand up again he merely slumped back down, his legs not taking his weight now. He realised he was dying. He looked up at the mid-day sky, and he wondered at how beautiful it was. There was a calmness in death he thought, and as a dark veil come over his eyes, he shut them, and then there was nothing……..



© 2013 Alex W


Author's Note

Alex W
Let me know what you think of the story, obviously if you've read the Book description this isn't the end of Turi.

It'd be a bloody short book if it were! lol. (There may be typos, I fix them when I notice them)

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




Featured Review

I was gonna say...wow, short book.

This caught my eye, because I'm working on a project that focuses on the Roman conquest of Briton several hundred years before. Something I don't have is a great understanding of the actual historical realites of the time period; you, however, either have a good understanding of time period you are writing about, or can fake it really well. I like the names. I like the style. There are a few things to work on--take care to craft each sentence in the best possible way, so that it flows. You have a couple clumsy ones. You have some good ones; that shows me you can fix the not-so-good ones. Keep writing!

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I was gonna say...wow, short book.

This caught my eye, because I'm working on a project that focuses on the Roman conquest of Briton several hundred years before. Something I don't have is a great understanding of the actual historical realites of the time period; you, however, either have a good understanding of time period you are writing about, or can fake it really well. I like the names. I like the style. There are a few things to work on--take care to craft each sentence in the best possible way, so that it flows. You have a couple clumsy ones. You have some good ones; that shows me you can fix the not-so-good ones. Keep writing!

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

336 Views
1 Review
Added on December 12, 2010
Last Updated on May 3, 2013
Tags: Pagan, Celtic, Fight, Saxons, Death, Clan.


Author

Alex W
Alex W

Heanor, Derbyshire, United Kingdom



About
I like to write things, as you might expect from someone here. I abandoned this account years ago but I've come back to post a little. I write mostly comedic pieces but sometimes dark or slightly '.. more..

Writing