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Thursday, July 21, 2011

From "The Amber Treasure" Richard Denning

The Amber Treasure6th century Northumbria: A 17 year old youth is in battle for the first time...

Suddenly, there was a great shout from the enemy and as one they moved towards us. A handful of archers and slingers ran ahead of them, trying to weaken our line by killing or wounding as many as they could, so that when the shield wall arrived the wedges could bite into the weak spots and cut us apart. Cuthbert and a couple of dozen of our skirmishers exchanged shots with the enemy archers and also fired at the mass of men bearing down upon us. In the scale of this battle it would make little difference, I thought, until a moment later when a sling stone missing the front row, glanced off my shield and ricocheted away from my helmet. I was stunned by the blow and staggered backwards into Grettir who caught me and held me up, until my head stopped spinning. When my vision did clear, the first thing I saw was an arrow taking the warrior in front of me, in the neck. He collapsed back onto my shield and slid gurgling and choking onto the ground where, after what seemed like an eternity of thrashing and twitching, he finally died.

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