Brennus Ap Dafydd snapped awake from a sound sleep, sitting upright in one quick motion. As he tried to calm his mind, he felt his heart beat slow and his eyes focused in the dark. It had been a deep sleep until then and, after the initial anxiety had been swept from him, he couldn’t help wonder why the gods had awoken him in such a manner.
Shadowed forms slumbered in the darkness and all that remained of the fire was a heap of ashes, timber that had been claimed by its hungry tongues. For a second he considered relighting it but decided against it. He needed a walk and it would burn out before his return. Besides, the summer’s warmth held onto the night at this time of year.
Making his way to the door, he leaned on the wall, looking out over the landscape. The hidden moon meant everything was covered in an inky blackness but he could still make out the shapes of the round huts in the night. There, the other warriors lay, sleeping in a land where dreams of battle and bloodlust lay.
Feeling more awake than asleep, Brennus walked down the path that led to the gates. Up here, the small village was protected from raiders and other tribes but outside, down in the fields that surrounded them, the small hovels and farms had a more risky life. The thought occurred to him that maybe it was the peasants down there who had the true courage, but then would they live their lives outside if they had the choice?
Passing the tribes meeting point, a huge fire surrounded by stones where they could sit and talk, he continued down the slope. Eventually he reached the last few huts and in the silence of the night the embankment rose from the darkness in front of him. He always felt a sense of awe when he looked at it: stretching upwards it was at least twice as tall as a man and surrounded the full hill stop.
Barefooted and wearing only a rough pair of truis, he scrambled up the bank, finally reaching the palisade at the top. Already he could hear the call of the day’s awakening birds and the sun’s light was a breath-taking sight from here. Leaning over the timber wall, he listened to nature’s choir welcome the new day.