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Aethelwulf's Revenge

The British leaders were feeling confident and perhaps a little cocky after their previous Dux Britanniarum victory over the Saxons in Caer Colun. Simplex Lignius Clavius (aka Simplex Simonius) used the treasure to mount all his followers on horses — not all of his men were impressed. Most would have preferred arm rings and some of them could barely ride!

Simplex’s mounted force, together with Firmum Coquus’ and Primus Flask’s foot, launched a raid on a Saxon village, hoping to draw the remaining Saxons out of their drinking hall so that they could be wiped out in open battle. The Saxons obliged moving in force on the church of Longus Sermon in the hope of liberating the devout churchmen from the burden of worldly possessions.

Simplex’s men rode bravely forth, driving away some Saxon skirmishers.

Their target was Aethelwulf. He had good reason to fear a mounted charge having been badly mauled by Simplex’s charge in their previous engagement.

The British charged with great élan but somehow the Saxons managed to hold the line despite suffering high casualties.

Meanwhile Primus Flask moved towards the church and formed his men in shieldwall to block the  advance by Saeberht and Betwulf’s Saxons and to protect the villagers who had gathered on market day.

The British shieldwall held as more men from both sides were fed into the fight.

In the woods, Saeberht’s Saxons gained the ascendancy over one of Simplex’s contingents led by Orbis Poculum. The latter were unaccustomed to fighting on horseback and so had dismounted. They were soon fleeing to find their horses again.

The situation was stabilised by a timely charge led by Pepsi Maximus.

Simplex’s horsemen were ground down in a prolonged combat and then were caught napping by Aethelwulf's comitatus charging out of a wood. This completely overwhelmed Simplex and the few remaining men of his comitatus. With capture inevitable, Simplex took the honourable way out. He stabbed his pugio into his breast and was left for dead on the field of battle.

Then it was Aethelwulf’s turn to be caught off guard by Firmum Coquus’ devastating attack.

As night fell, the weary warriors parted. The British held the field and had killed more of the enemy, so they could claim victory.  The Saxons, however withdrew in good order with heads held high. Saeberht’s men had fought with greater valour than ever before. Betwulf helped himself to the treasures of Longus Sermon’s church and Aethelwulf had his revenge against Simplex Simonius’ horsemen.

Aethelwulf’s Scops sang of the battle in the Saxon mead hall.

Hail to Aethelwulf the Vengeful,

Mighty son of Wuffa,

Of Woden bom,

His name is known across the land,

His praises sing through the heartlands.

Death to the sons of Rome,

Hated warband of the Cymri,

Riders of horseflesh,

Craven curs,

May the scops ever sing of your fall.

Hail to the Gedriht,

Faithful warband of the South-Folk,

Protectors of their lord,

Drinkers of mead,

A hundred hundred fall to their spear-song.

Of the horse-lords of the Cymri

None remain

Spear song shatters their armour

Swift swords strike black hearts from the breast

For the carrion crow and the raven beak.

Hail to Aethelwulf the Mighty,

Victor over the lord of Cymri,

Who fell from his battle-steed,

Onto his own bright blade,

No honour found in craven demise.

Sweet the taste of vengeance,

Like mead-drops from the lips

Of wenches in the Mead-Hall.

Hail to Aethelwulf the Mighty

Slayer of horse-lords.

Woden rejoices at the slaughter.

The story, however, may not yet be complete. A local shepherdess is rumoured to have taken in a finely dressed British warrior who had been left for dead on the field. Could it be that Simplex Lignius Clavius has survived to perhaps fight another day?

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Brilliant stuff, Simplex Simonius, perhaps we will indulge in spear song again. And the poetry of AEthelwulf's Scop is excellent. 👏


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