History & Mystery

The Struggle For Britain
AD 410 was a difficult time for a lot of folks. Rome got sacked by Alaric the Vandal and Emperor Honorius called back his people from the far-flung corners of his Empire. The furthest flung being The British Isles.

Parts of Britain (mostly southern England and a bit of Wales) had enjoyed a nice civilized spell under the Romans, once Boudicca’s rebellion got squashed in AD 79. The Romano-British culture waxed for three centuries. But, as always the ‘Wolf was at the Door.’

These ‘wolves’ were yellow-haired foreigners from Northern Germany and Denmark: The Jutes, The Angles, and The Saxons. (We’ll call them all Saxons just to keep it simple.) At the time of Rome’s demise, a king in Britain (Vortigern) was paying good coin to these sea-wolves to fend off invasions from the Irish and the Picts, who were big on raiding back then, when they weren’t fighting each other. Which they did a lot too.

Ireland was thriving, the four Kingdoms of Ulster, Leinster, Munster, and Connaught, all doing nicely. But a few bad eggs just had to keep raiding. Some of these settled in West Wales –– in Dyfed. The Scots too came from Irish stock. They originated from the Scotti, one of the several tribes in Ulster.

These Scotti fell out with their neighbors and crossed the sea to Argyle and established a colony called Dalriada. But further east, they found the Picts (painted people — another bunch of Celtic folk that we don’t know much about) waiting for them. Suffice to say these Picts and Scots did not get along and years of war followed with the Picts eventual defeat and Pictland becoming Scotland. Upshot: things were rough up there.

Vortigern paid more and more gold to the Saxons, and these wanted more still. And they wanted land. At last, they settled in Thanet in east Kent. Here the brigands held sway becoming a thorn in Vortigern’s side. The Scots and Irish continued their raids. Vortigern ignored them having a new more terrible foe. Hengist and Horsa were the two chieftains who led the Saxon Scourge as it became called.

The war that followed gave rise to the Legend of King Arthur and many other tales. Eastern and southern Britain (the realm is eventually known as England) was overrun by the yellow-haired warriors who gave no quarter to their Celtic foes. By this time the Celts were mostly Christians and had quietened down somewhat during the later Roman Period.

The Saxons, like the Celts, were a warrior race. But they were land-hungry and murderous whereas the Celts more settled. Proud Pagans; these Saxons worshiped the old gods: Woden, Thunor, and Tiu ( Our weekdays, Wednesday, Thursday, and Tuesday all derive from the names of these warrior gods.)

Over three centuries the wars raged until the Celts (Romano-British) were forced back into Wales, Cumbria, and Cornwall, the Saxons having overrun the rest of the country.

The brutality of this period was beyond description. Entire tribes were eradicated as the Saxons established new territories, including Sussex, Middlesex, Essex and most famously, Wessex.

All things must pass. Eventually, the Saxons settled down too. By Alfred The Great they had found the Cross and were behaving quite well. England was taking shape. Just in time for the next wave of yobbos. The Vikings! More on that lot soon! Read more on this fascinating history via this Wikipedia Link


Weekly Fantasy Series: Episode Five ––The Camp At Dusk


nextHe missed the river, but at least the pines broke his fall, and Corin was allowed to crash and groan through their twiggy limbs, before impacting the carpet of needles below. Ouch didn’t cover it. Strangely he was alive, with nothing broken — just a host of new bruises to add to his old ones.

Corin glanced up at the high ridge. He could just make out the shaggy shapes of his recent captors jumping about up there. They looked a bit stressed. Maybe the idiots had believed his yarn about the gold. Greed so often makes fools of men. Corin grinned; the day was improving. Sort of. Now — time to get Clouter back and be about his business…

The camp lay twenty miles east awarding extensive views of the desert shrub. That and a glimpse of blue haze hinting the sea, and some murky towers close by. Corin knew them for the swelter-pot den of villainy and vice called Cappel Cormac.

Corin found Krugan’s camp easily enough. Previously, he’d spent a few days scanning the region, hence discovering that cliff and his canny escape. It pays to keep your eyes open in this life. Dusk was approaching, and a cluster of seven shaggy figures sat laughing around a fire…

…They were laughing at Ugami, who still nursed a bruised chin and mourned the loss of two front teeth. Krugan had sent men with dogs down to that river, but they’d found no sign of the mercenary. Most assumed the water had carried his body far from the place. But Krugan and Ugami weren’t so sure.

“Keep your wits about you,” Krugan growled as their leader took to his sack. He’d had a long day, and tomorrow he’d join the rest of his men up in Cappel. Once there he’d organize an accident for that meddling merchant up in Port Sarfe. Krugan smiled picturing Silon’s head on a stake. That image enabled him to relax sufficient until his snores filled the desert night.

Krugan’s men diced long into the dark as the fire spluttered and at last gave out. Weary and wine-sodden, they claimed their blankets. All save Ugami. Big Ugly was left alone on watch, nursing chin and wounded pride. He didn’t see the shadow behind him. Nor did he feel the rock as it battered the back of his skull…2016-09-16 08.17.59


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