With the Belgae defeated, and the Durotrages given their freedom, Artur casts his eyes across the sea to the ever-gathering shadows of war. Around him, there is disharmony and discord, with friends having fallen or turned against him. Before him, there is an army more powerful, and more vicious, than any the world has ever seen.

Can he make a stand where so many have fallen? Can he defy a great tide that is set to wash the Dewnan from their lands?

There is little chance for them in battle, and no choice but to fight, so he does the only thing he can do…

Gathering his Company, he joins the Veneti warriors in crossing the Mor Pretani. Whether he is ready yet or not, he has to put aside the suffering of his childhood so that he can confront Caesar’s forces and save his people.

Even with Morlain’s guidance and Lancelin’s blade, it might not be enough. Even with his men’s undying loyalty and the Sword of Menluit in his hand, it might not be enough. But they will stand and they will inspire the legends that will follow and, if this is to be the last page of their story, so be it. For it will be a story well told. A story to inspire. The story of the Dewnan.

‘Harrumph!’ The front line moved again to within paces of the Dewnans as they scrambled to their feet. Now they were up and alongside Lancelin who had stopped to wait for them. All three ran, but as they did, a company of pilum throwers standing behind the advancing legionary line took their mark and launched their deadly cascade. 

‘Run!’ 

Artur and Kea were both shouting now. Lord Perig was now at the gate and had run through with most of the Veneti, Silyen and the gilles quickly following. 

Tinos stopped and turned, was about to shout something, but then, instinctively, looked up at the sound of the gentle rush of wind that accompanied the spear’s deadly descent. It went straight into his open mouth and split his skull in two. He was dead and pinned to the ground in an instant…

 

Morlain surveyed the sparse battlements. It was worse than she had thought. They had done well to hold out for this long, but she could not let Artur’s comments go by without response.

‘Artur, Lords Killas and Casworon came to your aid with all they could muster. Brave and fearless, they fought determinedly, giving the Romans plenty to think about, instead of thinking about scaling the battlements. Both are men of the valley, Artur, from the old families, and their distant ancestors were here, before the Lords of Achaea, before the Pretan. This sacred land courses through all of us. It is part of us and we are part of it, and none more so than Casworon and Killas. In their words and actions, rock, earth and water speak, as well as the voices of countless souls who have gone before, lived and breathed this valley and this land. They are the original Ocean People, of uncertain beginnings, who were here from the early days. The temples and barrows of their ancestors still stand watch on the hilltops and they will never allow it to be said that the descendants of all who lie in those barrows stood by when the men and women of Nanmeur were in need.’

© 2020 Tim Bagshaw

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