The first and second parts in a series I hope to write. A celtic warrior leads a small band through the landscape of the Seluries but to what end?
Though he made his way silently forwards, treading carefully through the forest undergrowth, the night was still broken by the occasional crack of a twig that had succumbed to one of their party. As he paused to scan the trees ahead, a startled bird flapped into the air. There was certainly no break in the trees, let alone the meadows and fields they were looking for. Clenching his spear tightly, he continued on with his rough woollen brat tossed over his shoulder a cloak to show his rank amongst the men.
“Is it near?”
The voice was one of his mens’, hissed out into the night, and instantly agitation flooded into him. Their guide had told them the farm was only short walk ahead but already he had begun to think they had misjudged.
“Keep quiet!” He snapped, his anger plain even though he kept his voice quiet. His dark eyes kept sharp even as the brambles constantly snagged at his truis causing him to curse under his breath.
At last the forest broke, finally reaching the edge of the small woods, and he paused to rest a hand against the gnarled bark of a tree. The bleak emptiness of the Selurie fields spanned away from him. Flat and barren, it was difficult to make out anything in the night, aside maybe the outlines of hedges that lined the field, but he could smell the smoke of a fire ahead, and he knew they were getting close. A small glowing light stood out like a beaccon in the dark and he looked across to where one of his men crouched, similarly looking at the flame’s luminosity.
A quick thoughtful rub of the moustache and, giving a nod, he gestured with his spear to the hedge. Three warriors darted off into the night, heading for the living wall that would hide their progress.
He turned to another four who waited for his orders, “Wait here. When we return everything goes back to the boats with you.”
There was no point waiting for a reply. His firey warriors would most likely be disappointed, even resentful, at having been left out of the heat of the action and he didn’t need their grumbling. Darting off after his men, he scrambled across the ploughed soil, soft underfoot. Once atthe thorny bushes he swiftly made his way towards the firelight.
Even in the darkness he could see the dark shadow looming out of the night. What had been hidden from view from across the field, hidden by the inky blackness, was a small hovel; round in shape and roofed with a threadbare thatched roof. The flames they could see, dancing and sending their plume of smoke upwards, was visible through the doorway, open to the farmland around it. His men were already lined up against the small farmhouse’s walls, waiting for their leader.
Finally reaching them, he saw their eager gazes in the darkness, yellow toothed grins that accompanied keen weapons. They were not there to fight, they would be long gone by the time any warriors came down from the hill fort, but a swift blow from the shaft of a spear would easily subdue a captive.
Raising a finger to his lip, feeling the heat of the fire like a siren calling him, he rose to his feet. His chest rose and fell faster, clearly visible under his brat as he wore no top beside the cloak, and his fingers tightened around his weapon.
With an adrenalin rush lancing into his veins, he leapt through the open door.