Battle of the North

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Border of Northrumbia 866 A.D.


Ethelred raised his oval shield and caught the falling Ax with a massive crash that ended all sensation in his arm. He was one of a line of warriors 50 deep and more than one-hundred long. Ethelred shoved with all his might against the Scot who had attacked him and was quickly met by a sword thrust towards his gut which dodged and countered with his spear stabbing him in the gut, blood spurted along the length of the shaft spraying him in the face and giving him a feral look. The scotts had been rushing them all day believing that their continuous waves would break the Northrumbian army.

Ethelred was among the Fyrdmen who made up the frontline of the army. Behind the Fyrdmen were the Thegns (light infantry armored in chain mail and also equipped with spears), and finally behind them were the crem de la crem of the army “the Huscarls”; armed with heavy swords and axes, armored in the finest Lamellar armor (scale armor formed into plates that covered multiple parts of the body. Two weeks ago the king of his land had mustered any able bodied man and summoned them to do battle against the Scottish.


His father had been called in ages past to do battle against the Eirmann, the Picti, and a new group calling themselves the Scotti who had swept in from Ireland and were now uniting the Picti and creating their own tribal kingdom under one king the people were calling themselves the Clan of Scotland using the Germanic tongue of the Saxons to prove their intentions of appearing on the political scene.


The spear was wrenched from his grasp and he gripped his shield and slammed forward with all the strength he could muster and smashed a scot clean off his feet. He swiftly grabbed his foes axe and then swung the blade upward obliterating the shield of another attacker, and then he swung the blade in curving motion cleaning shattering his skull. A courage (or madness) he’d never known he’d possessed came over him and he shoved axe up into a man’s gullet. Releasing the axe as the man fell he unsheathed his spatha and he dropped his shield. The scots starred at the lunatic in front of them and watched as he slashed the throat of one then stabbed another.


Ethelred dropped his spatha and grabbed his saex and promptly stabbed a man and used a lobsided motion he’d done countless times after a hunt and watched as it had the same effect. Suddenly realizing he was alone and surrounded by any enemies he ran, and continued to run until he was alone.


The Huscarls stared at the tactics used by the scotts. Unlike their pictish rivals they had used intelligent tactics. The scotts had attacked from the sides and flanked them, the shield wall had broke rank and the strength and discipline had shattered. The Saxons were fleeing the battlefield in droves. Asvard turned to his fellow huscarls and spoke “gentlemen ….. I do believe this battle is over”, and cantered away on his horse towards the forest.



Aethelred was in the middle of the forest when he finally stopped running. He took in his surroundings as he panted for air. He saw he was well off of any path. He heard the rushing of a stream nearby and promptly began gulping water. The next thing he felt was a sword on his neck and he violently spat the water out. He rose to his feet and looked at his assailant. The man who held him at sword point had long tangles of black curled hair and a face that was sun tanned to the point of being a dull very light brown. Their leader’s eyes were black and full of malice and a madness that went far deeper and older than the hatred of a mere enemy.


Waeltrice looked through the leaves of the forest intently at the Scotsmen and their victim. They were barely clad and looked more like their neighbors the Picts. There were three of them and they had the Saxon at sword point. She gripped her falchion in anger (had they no respect for the old ways).
Aethelred was rather taken aback by the sudden vicious appearance of the woman who suddenly attacked the scots. She held a falchion and charged fanatically at them. The leader turned and let out a vicious snarl that sounded more like a feral beast than a man. The woman swung her blade and it collided with that of the leaders with a loud “Thwang!” that reverberated throughout the forest for miles.


The two warriors stared at each other with looks of hate. The man’s was a fierce glint like hawks. The woman’s was a more passive look; she showed no true hatred only a look of intense disappointment. The two warriors merged into a frenzy of clashing swords and whirling bodies. After nearly two minutes of fierce combat the two warriors separated and stared at each other once more. “Leave this one black hand or I shall rip your guts from your body and leave them for the worms” she then threw a vial at him that shattered against his chest and splashed green fluid over him. The man unleashed a roar of fury and pain as his chest suddenly turned red and began boil.
(To Be Continued)





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