The scream that broke the morning’s song immediately caused Brennus to snap up, alert like a feral beast with ears pricked up. He scanned the fields and small hovels of peasant farmers, and trying to see what had caused the noise.
There, the quick movement of a Celt darting from the undergrowth where he had been hidden amongst the trees. And he wasn’t Selurie.
Skidding down the embankment, slipping on the morning dew but managing to catch himself before he fell, Brennus ran back towards the path. His weapon was in the main roundhouse and he would be useless without it. Instead, he was met by his father: Dafydd ap Morcant.
The large chieftain, now old in his years, was lacking his tunic and brat, almost naked save for the short pair of trous that covered his upper legs. Dafydd’s son had captured his father’s handsome rugged looks; both had black, curly hair with angular jaw bones that emphasised their masculinity and strength. To look at them was to see the true power of a Celtic warrior, muscular torso’s and tight abdomens.
Tossing a spear to Brennus, who nimbly caught it, they both ran on towards the gate, followed by Dafydd’s guard. A horn blared out, tearing the peace of the morning asunder, and the village was suddenly alive with warriors hurriedly dashing out from broken sleep.
“Raiders have been spotted,” Dafydd informed his son as he and Brennus jogged towards the gate. He was armed with his sword, a rare weapon in such times and a piece he was immensely proud of. One day it would be inherited by his son, “and your sister is missing.”
Brennus knew his father’s blood would be boiling at the second statement as his younger sister had been visiting the farms on a regular basis, specifically one of a young boy who she claimed she had fallen in love with. Anger seethed through him. Last time he had broken the youngster’s nose to dissuade him from seeing his sibling and threatened him with worse should the affair continue.
Already half way down the hill, they heard the sound of a chariot bumping down the track behind them. A simple wooden structure, merely a platform to carry them to battle, it would serve its purpose and allow them to reach the farmsteads faster. A Celtic warrior leapt down from the moving dais, leaving a decorated shield for both Dafydd and Brennus, allowing the leaders to speed onwards. Behind, two more chariots and numerous fighters followed, eager to keep up.
The horses were fiery animals: bodies glistening with sweat and nostrils snorting as they carried the chariot down into the first field. Through the gap in the thorny hedge they pounded across the field of corn leaving a path edged with deep ruts. Swinging around to the first hovel, its thatched roof almost down to the ground, Brennus leapt from the vehicle as his father guided it onwards.
Shouts, screams, the roar of battle.