Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.

Sticks and Stones

   55 BC - Londinos of the Catuvellauni roared up the hill towards the hillfort of Breahinga. Led by several horse drawn chariots, the charging mass of Catuvellauni made a fearsome sight. Most of the warriors ran on foot, their wild hair flowing behind their mostly-naked bodies. Fur or leather wouldn't do much to stop an arrow or spear blade so it was considered by most more valuable to unencumber oneself, though many warriors carried a small wooden shield strapped to one arm.

   Upon reaching the walls, the charioteers wheeled their vehicles around as their riders hurled javelins over the walls. A light shower of rocks came back at them but many of the defenders were saving their stones for the massed infantry to come into range.

   The armor-clad Catuvellauni leaders skillfully leapt out of their chariots as they passed the front ranks of infantry to join the charge. Only the richest nobles could afford iron swords and armor and Cassivellauni, leader of the Catuvellauni, gleamed gloriously as he led the charge of the final hundred feet with his shining sword held aloft.

   The sky darkened as several hundred short javelins (barely more than short relatively straight sticks with sharpened flint spearheads attached) were hurled through the air at the defenders on the wall. Like a swarm of bees the dark silhouettes of hundreds of stones and rocks came out to meet them and quickly began crashing amid the attackers.
   Someone to Londinos' left was hit in the head with a dark rock, falling with a sickening crunch, but sheer luck left Londinos unscathed and the battle-frenzy left him unphased.
   The massed attackers reached the rough wall undeterred and began scrambling up it. Most of the first up the wall were easily knocked off by the defender's spears, but between the defender's that had been killed by javelins, and the simply overwhelming number and ferocity of the attackers, it was only moments before Londinos and other were on the wall fighting with their own spears.
   Londinos couldn't tell if it had been thirty seconds or thirty minutes before he found himself panting among the low thatched cottages inside the hillfort with no more enemies to be found.

   The Trinovantian king Imanuenti had been killed, but unfortunately, his son Mandubraci had escaped.

   54 BC - Londinos gazed up at the Cantiaci hillfort. Just one more just like the dozens that had fallen to the Catuvellauni host over the last few years. Cassivellauni, it seemed, was making war more or less constantly with nearly all the neighbouring tribes, and, proof of his military prowess, rather than sap his people's strength the constant wars had steadily increased the Catuvellauni territory and prestige.
   A delegation of could be seen descending from the hillfort holding aloft branches of truce. Londinos smiled proudly to know that their reputation was enough that they might not even need to fight any more to gain victory.

   "The Romans are back!" word quickly spread through the small army as the delegates began to converse with Cassivellauni. Londinos had heard of the strange giant armor clad army that had come to the shores for a brief time the year before but hadn't had a chance to see them before they had left, and hadn't been entirely sure they were just some myth the tribes to the south had invented to scare those to the north.
   "The Cantiaci and the other southern tribes want us to lead them in war against the Romans!" the second bit of shocking news spread through the army. Legend or not, the Roman threat was not one anyone was about to take lightly, and any animosity towards the Cantiaci was quickly forgotten as the army hastened into the welcoming hillfort to prepare an even bigger war.

   Londinos stood atop the hillfort's ramparts and watched the approaching army with apprehension as it marched from the south. Several pitched battles had proven that stones and throwing spears largely bounced off the armor-clad Roman soldiers. The make-up of their army had been truly shocking to behold - every single one of them wearing an iron helmet, armor of metal bands, very large iron-reinforced shields, and even swords! Even the javelins the Romans hurled were straight and uniform with an iron tip. And they were even designed to crumple on impact so they couldn't be thrown back! How could anyone fight a foe like this?

   Even so, the sheer mass of the united tribes of Britain could probably have pushed them back. Unfortunately, however, the treacherous Trinovantes, along with five other tribes, had switched sides to ally themselves with the Romans. Londinos wondered angrily what honeyed words the Romans had used to entice the tribes to betray their homeland to these strange short invaders.

   After being pushed back in earlier battles, Cassivellauni had retreated across the dark river Tamesas, which provides a major natural barrier between the south and the rest of the island of Britain and is only fordable in a few places. Spikes were placed underwater at the few fords, but still the Romans managed to get across the river, though at least they had been forced to leave their huge stone-throwing machinations on the far bank.
   Led by their traitorous Trinovantian guides the Roman army had inexorably marched into the heart of Catuvellauni territory. With 4000 chariots (what would have seemed an astronomical number before the Romans arrived with their hundreds of ships and tens of thousands of soldiers), Catuvellauni had ambushed, and harassed the Romans across his land, making maximum use of the mobility of the chariots against the infantry in a guerrilla war.

   As the dark mass of Roman legionares flowed closer across the rolling hills, the perfect order of their lines and columns could be distinguished. Londinos anxiously eyed his pile of stones and throwing spears. If only the tribes had remained united. If only the other tribes hadn't listened to the insidious words that would divide them all apart...

   As it happens Cassivellauni himself was forced to agree to the terms of Roman general Julius Caeser - to pay tribute and give hostages - and then the Romans left again. But 97 years later it would be on the pretext of these surrender agreements that Emperor Claudius would launch another Roman invasion that would subjugate Britain for the next three and a half centuries and forever change it.

   Londinos, whose name roughly translates to "wild one," would go on to settle on the banks of the Tamesas, which you may know as the Thames, and his little farmstead would be known as Londinion...

Tags: fiction, historical fiction, history, lj idol entry
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