Restitutor Orbis

Badon

Arthur Pendragon and his army arrive at Aquamann as Ælle’s vast Saxon horde begins to close in. They move quickly to seize a hill just outside the city, called Badon.

With the vast force arrayed against them, Arthur and his knights decide to attack the flanks to concentrate the Saxons, so that they can break them with one massive charge.

They attack the western flank on the first day, commanded by Ælle’s son, Cissa. Cissa is a berserker, and commands several others like him, but the knights defeat him, breaking Ælle’s western flank and killing his son in battle.

On the second day, they attack the eastern flank, commanded by Ælle’s last remaining son, Wlencing. Wlencing has a greater reputation for cunning and strategy, and he does not disappoint, as he uses the Roman road to deploy Hun horse archers against Arthur’s knights. Despite the surprise, though, the knights still manage to win the day, breaking the eastern flank and killing Wlencing.

In the night, Arthur’s forces smuggle a shipment to the hill from Aquamann: clibinarii armor imported from Byzantium. Arthur had prepared for this moment even before they had left Camulod, and made sure that this would be prepared for them here. He has only enough armor for his own warband, but in it, they are veritable living tanks. The armor is heavy, though; if the fighting goes on too long, they’ll become exhausted. But if they can win quickly, it could give them what they need to break the Saxon threat once and for all.

A terrible storm rages that day. Arthur and his knights meet Ælle on the field.

“I should thank you,” Ælle tells Arthur. “Without the threat you pose, I never could have united all the Saxons under my banner.” Arthur can’t help but smile, and that sets Ælle on edge. “What is so amusing?” he asks.

“That was my plan,” Arthur says. “The problem was that you Saxons were striking and raiding all across the isle. There was no end to you, and no way to fight you off. So I gambled everything on this. I created you because I needed you. I needed someone who could bring them all together, so that you could all be defeated at once — in one battle, in one charge. Whatever else may happen, the war ends today.”

In the middle of the storm, Arthur led his warband in a mighty charge down the slope of Badon Hill, directly into Ælle’s line. Titus Drustanus beat Ælle into the whirlwind, but was himself swept into it and dashed against some rocks, breaking his legs irrevocably. Caius avenged his father by delivering the killing blow against Ælle. The battle was brutal, but in the end, the Bretwalda was dead, the Saxon threat broken, the war ended, and Arthur, High King of the Britons, was victorious.

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Dobunnia

One of Caius’ men finds a wax tablet left by Titus Martinianus Valerius Maximus, addressed to him and warning him about Myrddin. It relates a story that Myrddin is the son of the devil, the antichrist. Caius disregards it as the ravings of a religious zealot.

Modron offers help to Caius to find his family, preparing a potion that will bring him to the brink of death, so that he can learn things otherwise unknowable. He has a vision of a hill sprouting a town.

A local named Melisos seeks Peredur’s help, asking that the women rescued from the legion be put to death. It is revealed that they offered human sacrifices to their pagan gods. In ancient days, criminals were sacrificed. Modron and her sisters continued this practice, sacrificing those who were not held accountable by Roman law, primarily rapists and wife-beaters.

In Glevum, the three magistrates of Dobunnia each hide behind the others to refuse help to Arthur, so the knight trick them into a meeting, where they can all be forced to cooperate.

The situation in Glevum forces Badiovirus to choose between a Roman model of virtus, a British ideal of manhood, or pursuing his own path. He chooses the latter, beginning to formulate his own, personal code of chivalry, based largely on Pelagian ideals.

As the army turns south on the final road to meet Ælle, they’re met by three druids, guardians of the grove of Bran the Blessed. They tell Arthur that they bring him good news: he will triumph in the battle to come. Arthur asks them how they know this; they tell him that they sacrificed a man, giving him the three-fold death: feeding him mistletoe, drowning him in the sacred cauldron, and slitting his throat. They foretold the future in his dying convulsions, and how the blood spread in the water. Incensed at this murder committed in his name, Arthur commands his men to kill the druids, then find their grove and bring him to it.

Myrddin turns to his apprentice, Owain Rheged, to help smuggle the Cauldron of Bran out of the grove before Arthur finds it. He brings it to the shore, where there is a small boat waiting for him to spirit it away.

When Arthur finds the grove, he destroys the head of Bran the Blessed. The druids are horrified, sure that Arthur has destroyed the island’s supernatural protection. Arthur has no tolerance for the gruesome rites of human sacrifice that he has seen displayed, and says that the Britons must now band together to defend the island, without the intervention of whatever bloodthirsty, demonic powers that would demand such sacrifices.

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Tribruit

The tenth battle was waged on the banks of a river which is called Tribruit.

Caius Hectorius Moderatus and Ualcos Magesos return from their mission to Londinium. Moderatus tells his father that Ælle has had their family’s villa sacked, and their family has been sent to some of his allies in Gaul — precisely where has been kept a secret. As word of this spreads among the other commanders, Lugh Striking-Hand, Quintus Badiovirus, and Peredur hatch a plan to capture Æthelflæd — who is following them, according to the Saxon raider they captured in the mountains on the way to Deva Victrix — and try to exchange her for Caius’s family, or at the very least assurance of their well-being. Caius resists the plan, believing that Ælle cannot be trusted to hold up his end of the deal, but Peredur, having already been ambushed by his own father once, goes out on his own, hoping to be captured. He is, and brought to the ruins of an old villa, where Æthelflæd throws him in a pit, and begins trying to turn him the same way she did his father. The other knights arrive to rescue him, and take Æthelflæd prisoner. She scoffs at their plan, saying that they do not understand a warrior’s spirit; her father is perfectly willing to sacrifice her.

Though captured, Æthelflæd’s plans still create a problem for Arthur and his army: she has gathered bandits and mercenaries from across the island to stop Arthur before he reaches Viroconium. Arthur sees this as an opportunity, though: victory would mean crushing a significant portion of the island’s lawless elements in one fell swoop, adding legitimacy to his claim to the High Kingship. On the eve of battle, Nennios approaches Arthur’s camp to speak with his old comrade, Caius Hectorius, and plead with him to turn away. He tells Caius that many of the old veterans have become mercenaries, and if Arthur’s army continues, he will have to face many of his old brothers-in-arms in battle, and none of them want that.

In the battle, Arthur’s army fends off the brigands, while Caius Hectorius charges into battle against the mercenaries. Vorcunos and his pack of werewolves dive into the ford, eager to kill Arthur’s warriors. Badiovirus unleashes his polybolos, then leaves his warband to prepare another volley while he personally rides up to the ford to duel Vorcunos alone. Vorcunos proves a powerful opponent, however. His werewolves bite and claw at Badiovirus, and Vorcunos breaks his ribs and hacks off his left hand with a hatchet, leaving the knight with his head bashed against a rock and presumed dead. Lugh beseeches the mercenaries to help them defeat Vorcunos, finally offering them an honorable way out of their contract with Ælle. The warriors spend the remainder of the gold from the hoards recovered around Eboracum to pay the mercenary bands to join their army.

Peredur notices that Badiovirus is actually still alive, so he is taken to Myrddin. Peredur asks Arthur for the right to execute his father personally, which he grants, but he wants to keep him alive until after the war, so that he can execute him in Londinium amidst the proceedings that will follow. When Badiovirus awakens in Myrddin’s tent, Myrddin challenges his foolish concepts of Roman virtus which led him to this condition, and promises an education to follow.

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City of the Legion

The ninth battle was fought in the City of the Legion.

Word from Owain Whitetooth reaches Eboracum that a force of Irish and Saxons have breached the walls of Deva Victrix, the City of the Legion. Arthur realizes that this puts his new claim to the title of High King to the test. He sends Titus Drustanus ahead of the army, relying on his ability to pass unnoticed among the Irish to scout out the area. They discover that the Irish follow Crimthann, an Uí Liatháin prince whose family once controlled colonies in Britannia Prima, before Cunedda — Owain’s father, Lot’s older brother, and Lugh Striking-Hand’s uncle — pushed them out, at Vortigernos’s invitation. He has made a deal with Ælle to split the island between them once Arthur has been defeated. Crimthann isn’t stupid enough to really believe it, of course — he expects Ælle to go back on his word — he just sees an opportunity to grab some loot and place himself in a better position to regain his kingdom when the Bretwalda does betray him.

As the army crosses the mountains, they come under attack from a band of Saxon raiders. They take one of them hostage, who tells them that he follows Æthelflæd, and that both she and Vorcunos are following the army closely.

The army rendezvous with Titus and Owain at a small village north of Deva Victrix, with command of the city’s aqueduct. Quintus Badiovirus leads his men through the aqueduct into the heart of the city, while Titus’s men position themselves in the fort’s fabricum to save Owain’s capacity to manufacture otherwise-lost pieces of Roman military equipment and siege engines, including Badiovirus’s new flame-thrower and polybolos. Meanwhile, Arthur moves into position on the parade grounds outside the fort, while Lugh and Peredur ride into the city to gather up the raiders and drive them towards Arthur. Caius Hectorius finds himself engaged with Cymen, Ælle’s son and commander of the Saxons here, in a desperate fight — until the other warbands finish their tasks and are able to join him in the fight at the fort’s gates. They slay Cymen in battle, and drive the Irish out of the city, recapturing it for Owain Whitetooth.

Lucius Drustanus arrives on behalf of his lord, Marcus Cunomorus, telling Arthur of the enormous horde that Ælle has assembled, and its drive across southern Britain towards the Severn, threatening to divide Dumnonia from the rest of the island. This puts Arthur in an awkward position; he admits to his knights that he’s been in communication with Gerontius, the leader of the rebels seeking to overthrow Cunomorus and replace him with a Dumnonian king. He leaves the decision to his knights, who agree that they can’t afford to take on another fight right now, so they must back Cunomorus.

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Eboracum

On the way to Eboracum, Aulus Hectorius sends Caius Hectorius, Quintus Badiovirus, Lugh Striking-Hand, and Peredur into a valley to recover as many buried coin hoards from the ruins of old villas as they can, to help pay for the campaign. They manage to recover four.

When the army reaches Eboracum, there is much debate about what Aulus Hectorius should be acclaimed as. At stake is the nature of his kingdom, and what the army is fighting for. Should he be declared Emperor Aulus Hectorius, leader of the last bastion of Rome in the west — and possibly the next Restitutor Orbis? Or should he be acclaimed as Arthur Pendragon, High King of the Britons — the leader of a new nation? Lugh becomes the foremost leader of the Nationalist faction; Caius, of the Imperialist faction. Early on, when Lugh tries to champion his cause among the men, Caius takes offense, interpreting it as an attempt to manipulate and strong-arm his brother. The confrontation leads to a private duel in the woods, which Caius wins.

While the debate continues in the city, with each of his commanders offering their advice to Aulus, Sextus Blossius Martianus arranges a secret meeting with Peredur, where he tells him the story of Firactus’s treachery, and how Æthelflæd turned his father, Vorcunos, into the monster he is today. Peredur made Martianus one of his Outriders.

Meanwhile, Bishop Auspex spoke to Caius of his concern over Aulus’s Pelagian heresy, and having an Enemy of God like Badiovirus so close to him. He told Caius that if he cares for his brother, he should do more to save him from the infection of heresy. Caius took offense at this, and cowed the bishop by threatening him.

When Peredur went to Gwenhwyfar to advise her to help Aulus make a decision, she explained how she had tried to push him into taking the title of High King, but Aulus listens to his brother’s advice, too, which had led to an impasse. She decided that for his own good, she should try to drive a wedge between the brothers. She sent Lugh to advise that Aulus be anointed by a Pelagian bishop, hoping to provoke a response from Caius. Caius advised against it simply because it was divisive. Aulus pointed out that whether the bishop was Catholic or Pelagian, it would be a divisive move that alienated some on the other side. Caius pointed out that if he, a known Pelagian, were anointed by a Catholic bishop, it would send a powerful message of unity. Aulus agreed, and sent Caius and Badiovirus to Bishop Auspex. The guard would not admit Badiovirus, who grew angry and slew him. They then intimidated the bishop into agreeing to anoint Aulus. In the process, Caius was angry enough that he slipped, and told the bishop, “You will anoint Arthur High King.”

Lugh had clearly overestimated Caius’s devotion to his faith, and underestimated his commitment to his family. Caius is no deep theologian; he accepts the Catholic faith because it’s part of being a Roman. But he’s devoted to being a Roman because he sees pietas, devotion to family, as one of the core principles that define romanitas. Lugh asked Aulus why he would be anointed by a bishop he does not agree with? Will he not need God’s blessing to rule justly? Aulus told Lugh that every man has equal access to God. He does not need a bishop to bless him. God will bless him, or not, based on what he does — and no priest can change that. Lugh found this shocking, and more than a little bit arrogant.

When he returned, Caius explained his slip with the bishop to Aulus, and admitted that even he found it natural. He advised his brother not to abandon the dream of Rome entirely, but that perhaps it was time to begin something new. Aulus promised that his vision was to unite the Roman and the British to find a new way forward, guided by principles and ideals.

In a huge gathering in the city, where over a hundred years before Constantine had been first acclaimed emperor, Caius leads the troops in acclaiming his brother as Arthur Pendragon, High King of the Britons.

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Caer Guinnion

The eighth battle was near the fort Guinnion, where Arthur bore the image of the Holy Virgin, mother of God, upon his shoulders, and through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy Mary, put the Saxons to flight, and pursued them whole day with great slaughter.

When the winter broke, Aulus Hectorius rode south with his army, where he was met at the old Roman fort at Vinovium by Osgar Ravenshield, an emissary of the Bretwalda. He announced that the heir of Ambrosius Aurelianus, Ambrosius Aurelianus Brittanicus, the new emperor, had named the Bretwalda his magister militum, and that the Bretwalda had sent him to offer Aulus Hectorius the opportunity to serve him in the emperor’s army. Caius Hectorius and Aulus both knew Brittanicus in their youth: a vain, pompous, cruel, and cowardly boy. Aulus gathered his knights to discuss their options. By uniting their enemies, the Bretwalda did bring peace to the island, but Caratacus Strongarm warned that such a peace would only be one that benefitted the Bretwalda’s warriors. To refuse to serve the Bretwalda would mean declaring open rebellion against Brittanicus, Ambrosius’s lawful heir. He gave his commanders time to consider their decisions.

When they reconvened, each of them agreed to rebel against Brittanicus and the Bretwalda. Caratacus, having found friends in Caius and Badiovirus over the winter, revealed that the Bretwalda had approached him, inviting him to join his forces, revealing himself in the process. Caratacus revealed the identity of their enemy as Ælle, King of the South Saxons.

Osgar had not come to Vinovium alone, though. He had several Saxon warbands waiting in the countryside nearby. The knights carefully coordinated the fort’s defense in relative secret, extracting the garrison from the blackmail the Saxons had used against their commander and Einion ap Mark. They also discovered that Ælle had made an arrangement with Gartnaich, who brought even more Picts to the battle, in exchange for Gwenhwyfar. Lugh Striking-Hand slipped out of the fort at night with Gwenhwyfar and hid her with a friend living in a nearby estate, then found Gartnaich and convinced him to let Gwenhwyfar marry Aulus, and thus bring peace to Pictland. Gartnaich agreed, but vowed to watch closely, and that he would take Gwenhwyfar back if Lugh’s suggestion proved fruitless.

In the morning, Aulus, bearing his shield painted with the image of the Virgin for the first time, led his army against the Saxons. They repelled the attack, and Aulus’s warband spent much of the day running down Osgar’s personal retinue.

The battle marked a critical moment, like Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon — Aulus and his knights were now irrevocably in defiance of the Bretwalda Ælle and his imperial puppet, Brittanicus. The army marched towards Eboracum, where Constantine’s troops acclaimed him emperor over a hundred years before, to determine the future they were going to fight for.

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Cantium

During the winter, Content Not Found: badiovirus approached Aulus Hectorius about the fate of his kingdom, Cantium. Aulus pointed out that the Cantiaci had fled generations ago; their descendants considered themselves citizens of Londinium, Icenia, or Atrebatia. Even if Badiovirus succeeded, most would not leave their homes simply to fulfill their grandparents’ nostalgia. Meanwhile, Saxon settlers had come from across the sea — men, women, and children, come to simply live their lives. What would Badiovirus do with them? Was this a mission of genocide?

Badiovirus referred to his family’s history in the Revolution, how they fought to free the poor, urban, Christian population from the exploitation of a rural, pagan aristocracy. Now, he said, the people living in Ceint suffer under a new tyranny: the warmongering god Wotan, and his religion of violence and domination, created a society where those ordinary people who came simply to live their lives suffer under a warrior aristocracy. Badiovirus said that he did not want to take back his kingdom to drive out the Saxons as a people, but to liberate them from their pagan oppressors. Aulus was satisfied with this answer, and authorized Badiovirus to return to Ceint for the remainder of the winter.

Aulus called in his brother Caius Hectorius and asked him to accompany Badiovirus on his mission. When Badiovirus told him his vision of a kingdom guided by Pelagian principles, Ualcaved also volunteered to join him. Badiovirus sought help from Caratacus Strongarm, who provided a keel, and offered some of his own Saxon warriors to follow him.

As they sailed to Ceint, Badiovirus told Caius and Ualcaved about Ceint: how Hengist and his warriors came from the Franks, but the settlers who followed them came from Saxony and Frisia. He told them of his family’s history in the Revolution, and his plan to encourage the settlers to rise up against Æsc’s rule. Badiovirus was quite successful in this. As he convinced more and more of the settlers to join the revolt, Caius spent more and more of his time turning a rag-tag bunch of farmers into a disciplined army of warriors.

After a few initial victories, Badiovirus was contacted by a messenger from Octa Big-Knife, asking for a secret meeting. There, he offered to betray his father, Æsc Hengistsson, in exchange for becoming Badiovirus’s magister militum, the commander of his military. Octa could see that Badiovirus would win, eventually; better to join him now and secure position and power in his new regime, than die as his father’s heir. Badiovirus asked about his beliefs; Octa told him that he believed in Wotan, because Wotan gives him strength and glory, but also warned him that many of Æsc’s warriors would gladly accept death for the glory it would win them, so unless he wanted to fight to the bitter end, he would need someone like Octa who could control those warriors in his name. Badiovirus accepted the wisdom of that assessment, and agreed to Octa’s terms.

Octa threw open the gates of Durovernum, and with a significant portion of the warriors joining Octa against his father, they won the battle handily. Æsc was executed. With the winter ending, Badiovirus had to return to rejoin Aulus’s army. Octa offered to rule the kingdom in his stead, until he returned. Badiovirus was wary, until Octa warned him that many of the soldiers were still loyal to him, so if Badiovirus tried to call upon someone else, they may become angry and revolt. Octa promised he would try to dissuade them from that, but said he couldn’t promise that they would listen. Badiovirus assented, leaving Octa in charge of Cantium until he could return, but he also left Ualcaved there to keep an eye on Octa and keep him in line.

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Din Eidyn

After Kaw’s defeat at Cat Coit Celidon, Aulus Hectorius’s army headed to Din Eidyn, the capital of Guotodin, to winter in the court of King Lot. A number of other dignitaries were gathering there, as well — from the Picts, their king, Nechtan, along with Gogfran, Gartnaich, and his advisor, Theodora; from Novant, Queen Corotica and Abbot Galam; from Ystrad Clud, King Dumnagual; and from Dál Riata, Fergus mac Eirc. Hectorius’s plan for his northern campaign was to win enough battle to forces the various kings of the north to gather at Din Eidyn to establish peace in the north, for the first time ever.

Lot had a delicate problem, though, so he turned to his son, Lugh Striking-Hand, to settle it quietly. The bandit Vorcunos had been making trouble in Guotodin. If any harm came to any of the rulers traveling to Din Eidyn, it would bring shame on Lot — sending the message that he could not keep his own kingdom safe, and possibly hinting at weakness to his enemies. By the same token, taking the matter directly to Hectorius would do much the same thing. Instead, Lugh went with Vorcunos’s long-lost son, Peredur, as well as Badiovirus, Caius Hectorius, and Titus Drustanus. They encountered Vorcunos and managed to run him off, eliminating the threat to the traveling dignitaries, but Vorcunos escaped.

Back at Din Eidyn, Lot managed to reconcile some of the deep rifts in his family. Badiovirus, looking for a wife, married Corotica, offering her a Christian king to use as a figurehead, deterring Abbot Galam’s efforts to overthrow her. Titus, an old rival of Fergus’s, stole several of his men from under his nose. Together, the knights succeeded in negotiating a treaty that brought peace to the north.

Meanwhile, Gwenhwyfar arrived with news that Ambrosius Aurelianus had died. She began working with Myrddin and Lugh to move more quickly on their plans to make sure Aulus succeeded Ambrosius as High King of Britain. They pointed to the incompetence and selfishness of Ambrosius’s heir, Ambrosius Aurelianus Brittanicus.

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Cat Coit Celidon

The seventh battle was in the Caledonian Forest, that is, Cat Coit Celidon…

Riding hard to catch up with Aulus Hectorius and the main army, Caius Hectorius, Lugh Striking-Hand, and Peredur fall into and then escape a Pictish ambush. Meanwhile, angry with himself for his failure, Quintus Badiovirus maneuvers around Kaw’s Pictish guerrillas. During one of their ambushes, the Picts wound Aulus, forcing the army to move into the ruins of an ancient Roman fort to hold out until their commander can recover.

When Baviovirus makes it back to camp, he’s looking forward to some time with Aedan ap Cynfelyn, but Aedan wants to penetrate Badiovirus this time. In explaining why he doesn’t want to do that, Badiovirus explains that a Roman man cannot be used like a woman in such a fashion. Aedan, for the first time, that their relationship isn’t about love, but domination.

Myrddin sends Caius, Lugh, Peredur, Badiovirus, Owain Rheged and Titus Drustanus to a nearby well said to have healing powers, to bring some of its water back for Aulus. There, Caius drinks from the water, giving him a vision in which the Virgin Mary leads him to a battle against his darkest self. The monk guarding the well accuses Titus of murdering his wife in Ireland. Owain’s gwyllt overcomes him, sending him naked into the woods, where he encounters the god Bran and can only regain his humanity by mastering the language of the trees and guessing the god’s name. Lugh notices the syncretism of the shrine, uniting the imagery of the older goddess Brigit and the Virgin Mary. The monk admits that he used to be a druid, and has composed a poem encoding ancient druidic secrets, called the Cad Goddeu (“Battle of the Trees”). Owain learns the poem, and notices that it seems to relate to his encounter with Bran.

After they bring the water back, Aulus drinks from it and recovers. He tells Caius that he had a vision of the Virgin Mary as well, in which she appeared as a fierce mother bear, cast him into a fire to burn away his sins, called him “Arthur,” promised that if he painted her image on his shield his campaign would succeed, but said that he would only save the Britons if he could learn the lesson she had already taught his brother.

Aulus sends Titus to infiltrate the Picts. When the Picts send him to kill Badiovirus to prove himself, he takes Badiovirus’s bear pelt, and murders and beheads one of his men, to convince them. Badiovirus, angered by the apparent death of one of his men at the Picts’ hands, pursues them and finds their hidden camp. He returns to alert Aulus. Lugh promises that whoever of his men kills the most Picts will win a prize. The army attacks the camp, killing Kaw in the process. Only after the battle is over does Owain realize that the events of the battle seem to already be encoded in the poem.

Aedan killed the most Picts of any in Lugh’s warband, and Lugh reveals the prize as the pick of the Pictish loot. Aedan asks for the head of Badiovirus’s man, displayed in the middle of the camp. Badiovirus is furious. Aedan offers to give it to him — if he will submit to Aedan penetrating him right there, in front of the entire army. As he finishes, he whispers in Badiovirus’s ear, “If you want to make this about power, then I can oblige.”

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Bassas

The sixth battle was on the river called Bassas…

With the eastern coast secured, Aulus Hectorius takes the army north. In Eboracum, Einion ap Mark hosts a feast for the Dux Bellorum and his army. There, Firactus’s attempt to have Peredur killed fails, forcing him to reveal that he knew Peredur’s father, Vorcunos, who is still alive, and has become a brutal, cannibalistic brigand. Caius Hectorius has to deal with the local bishop, Gnaeus Pollienus Auspex, who is upset that Aulus expects the church to contribute monetarily to the war effort. Meanwhile, the Duke is trying to push his daughter Velua on Aulus, so Lugh Striking-Hand intervenes to keep them apart.

The army continues north, traveling beyond the Wall to stop an Anglian warlord named Bassa. There is contention among the army. Why are they traveling beyond te Wall when the Saxons remain in Britain?

Aulus wants to pull Bassa’s men away from the walls of the old fort at Alauna, now under Lot’s control, but beseiged by Bassa and his army. Lugh’s men, eager to win glory in their own lands, convince him to charge them here in a morning attack. Peredur sneaks into the fort in the night with a message — without realizing that the message asks the garrison to join the attack at first light, which means he’ll have to join them.

In the morning, Lugh’s warband charges Bassa’s army, while Peredur leads the garrison as they sally forth to join the fight. Caius takes up position behind them, expecting Lugh’s warband to draw them into the open field, when Picts in the fog-shrouded forest launch a surprise attack. The battle turns into utter chaos, and Caius succumbs to gwyllt. His son, Caius Hectorius Moderatus, has the presence of mind to take command of his warband, and leads them bravely. Lugh slays his Pictish rival Hueil in a duel, and Peredur kills Bassa. The Saxons are defeated, and Aulus sets off in pursuit of the Pictish warlord Kaw, while Lugh and Peredur go to find Caius.

Caius experiences several lifetimes as different plants and animals before Lugh and Peredur find him naked in a stream.

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