Monday 6 February 2012
The Battle of the Via Claudia, 453 A.D.
Grey the ships which brought us here
Serpent prowed and eager for sailing,
Through the sea foam’s fury
And dark nights of rain.
To the land of rich grazing,
Golden halls of stone,
Fat cattle herds and bloated Lords
Laughing like children.
Bone-white cold was the morning
When we stalked from the shadows,
Battle ready, with the keenness of ravens
Scenting the morning’s prey.
Handsome in their war armour
And shields of bright colours
The enemy stood before us
Twisting in their cold fear.
Ecgfrith, lord of the ring mail
His knife sharp and keening
Stood before them. Their women wept
As his knife drank blood.
Fast and sharp, like wolves
In the thin light, the champions fought.
The bone-bags scarred and wrecked,
Ecgfrith fell, in honour immortal
Out of the cold moor
Came our Saxon host, stalking.
Cunning and hungry
For revenge on their foe.
Battle ragged their standards quaked
In the fell wind of our bitter fury.
Our sharp spears
Shattered their shields’ clash.
Gold gleam and jewel hoard
Drew our Anglii kinsmen,
To burning and slaughter.
The enemy’s wails were terrible.
Sword cursed and hateful,
The enemy fought us,
The stench of their burning farms
Wreathing the battle-fold.
Sons of Hengist,
We carved into slivers
Their wooden-walls, splintered
Recall now, Earlmen,
Our victory in the dawn gloom
As we shattered their forces.
Ravens glutted on their slain.
So, there you have it – the second battle report from our ongoing Dark Age campaign set around 5th Century St Albans, and the rival Saxon perspective on Lard-Thane Richard Clarke’s fine pro-British blog from last week. We’re still working on the detailed rules for the battles and campaigns, so it’s a bit early to talk about tactics and mechanisms. But I will say that the second battle really saw some aspects of the game coming together, particularly with respect to the battle between the rival army champions, and the ferocious fighting which focused on the British shieldwall.
The members of my local wargames club are really getting into the spirit of the period, which is proving as colourful and dramatic as I hoped it would.
On the modeling and painting front, I hope to blog the final 25 Saxon figures (actually Anglii mercenaries) shortly, together with one or two extras I hope you’ll enjoy. The next game is tomorrow night, so watch out for the third battle blog report later this week ...