The Patchwork Warriors # 7

This is starting to take on a joint writer/reader effort which is fine by me.

So this is the 2nd part of Chapter Three… bit of a long read

Over to you folks….

 

“No wonder he’s in a distressed state,” Beritt suggested as she tried to come to terms with having a sort of contact with The Astatheia; she reckoned Stommigheid was the much better sounding, it levied a warning on the listener.

“Nevertheless,” Dekyria interposed “I need to know if he truly was looking for us and why,”

“Excuse me for asking captain but does The Major know?”

“He’s in contact with Drygnest, medician,”

Squirtz! The Castle! Oh gladsome day! If I do something wrong, I get the Castle dropping a big midden right on my poor little blonde head. Fribbit! I’d rather be midwifing that colonel’s daughter again! Anyways this more a job for an Andliga, except that the LifeGuard keeps all its religious officers at The Castle studying old texts,’

Battlefield decision.

“You’ll have to tell the sergeant and the fileman to let him go Captain. That style of restraint is agitating him,”

Neither man felt her suggestion was a good one and expressed as much with slow shakes of the head. The captain looked at Beritt, she looked back, he winced; she was right but it was still his decision. These medicians did fall into that role of reckoning they had the right to address ethical issues to anyone, irrespective of rank.

“You’ll have to tend to your own injuries if this goes wrong,” he warned her. “Sergeant Erzns, Fileman Creylan when the medician is ready let the man go,”

‘Oh wondrous, the art of the shifting the responsibility’

There was little enthusiasm the pair’s faces; in addition, the other two Norvan and Drell who had been at rest against the far wall, eased off of it and moved in. As Beritt drew closer the man twitched and screamed, his breath coming in that hysterical sharp and high way. She was certain he was trying to speak, and she supposed she would have to try to break through that barrier of terror, so she knelt before him, cold stones at once assailing her knees; his terror now reminding her of her baby brother when pa’s meanest hound had barked at the tot.

Good way to start…

“Hello,” she said softly and managed a gentle smile.

No scream, but a grimace of fear and a pleading look. She thought it might be a start so she glanced up at the soldiers and nodded, Erzns’ men of course referred back to the captain who in turn did his own nodding. At once the man shot up to a crouch and Beritt was left kneeling before someone who previously had been struggling against two very capable soldiers. As he ground his teeth together and hissed in his breath, she was struck by the sudden fear that he would bite her nose, aside from the pain she would have to put up with endless jokes on the matter.

“You are safe,” she said, plainly, but heavy on the apparent confidence. You had to make them believe in you. Truth be known you had to make yourself believe you! He fixed his attention on her as if only now aware she was there, his expression confused, his breathing turning to a simple panting as he looked down, now trying to make sense of this person kneeling, in apparent calm repose “You should sit with me and we can talk about what troubles you,” she knew this was a risk; patching up wounds was one thing, getting into the twists and turns of the mind was quite another, having the possibility five soldiers ready pounce and afterwards call her a fool was not helping. She took some solace she was still wearing her undershorts, so if she did end up sprawling backwards, all would remain hidden.

The man’s mouth worked, wordlessly at first, then he sank to his knees as if the effort to speak was draining him, thus face to face with Beritt who was in turn trying to feel she had this all under her control while not letting on that she was making all this up as she went along. She smiled, encouragingly, then the man suddenly lurched forward, and Beritt was glad she’d not crouched, after all any sort of sprawl was not dignified.

“They…they…. they,” he said, which she reckoned was a start, so she reached out and took his face in her hands.

“Are not here,” she hoped that came out as a statement and not a suggestion. Also she had a problem as she wanted to reach for something out of her mediphsic box while keeping him calm. Never mind the rest watching. Concentrate. She lowered one hand to his chin, fumbled backwards with the other, assuring him all the while he was safe now.

“The dire screams and the burning iron sun!” the words came in short burst, punctuated by more keening breath “Then they saw me, called out my name! Showed me dying…dying innocents, tortured, said I would be next. They loped! They slithered, they reached!!”

Beritt with one hand brought up the slender glass tube. Using her thumb, she flipped open the top and passed it across the man’s nose, while holding her own breath, it would not do for the two of them to slip under its soothing vapours. Easing her other hand from his chin, she swiftly sealed the tube and dropped it into the box. The man blinked, swayed slightly once more surveyed the room, this time his eyes in focus, comprehension taking place of panic as the vapours did their calming work.

“Safe,” she said with a little more confidence “Secure,” she added, and with a sudden inspiration born firstly out of the memory of her baby brother and desperation to get him settled as her feet were freezing and knees protesting, she leant forward to carefully place a light kiss on his forehead. The shock of sudden tenderness caused him to sit down, blush and run his hand through his hair in surprise.

“Goodness,” he said suddenly “An angel,”

Drell muttered a complaint that she’d not done that to him when he’d been afflicted, causing Norvan to ask who would want to kiss a boil on the arse, particularly Drell’s ugly hairy rump.

A glower from Erzns stifled any further commentary.

Meanwhile Beritt was trying not to fluster herself with surprise at her own precipitate action.

“Oh no sir. Just a medician in the LifeGuard,”

“Then I have arrived?” he said, trembled and tears of relief began to flow down his face, as he took hold of her hands “But please don’t give me anything to sleep. Not sleep, they will find me in my dreams. I want to stay awake, there is much to be said,”

Beritt managed another smile, and holding his hands rose. Once they both stood, she turned the man gently towards Captain Dekyria.

“This is the officer sir you should talk to. Captain Dekyria is a fair and reasonable man,”

“She’s obviously willing to kiss a captain’s arse,”

“I heard that Trooper Norvan!” growled Erzns.

Beritt with her back facing the sergeant and looking at trooper Norvan extended her right hand’s middle finger along her nose indicating she’d heard him too. Then with a dismissive sniff attended to the pressing business of putting her socks on. Dekyria either chose to ignore lower rank business or was concentrating upon the fellow and although not possessing Beritt’s capacity for gentleness none the less spoke in his own calm respectful way.

“You’ve obviously had a very troubled journey sir. We will get you some refreshments and we might have some conversation. May we know your name?”

“Bleymore, Geral Bleymore” he said.

 

Karlyn was untied and allowed to slither off of the horse, Meradat expected a stream of complaints or wild assertions; instead she stayed crouched scratching her shirt and sniffing the air.

“S’there. Long aways, but it’s there. And something new too,”

 

Beritt did not bother going back to bed, by the time she’d crept into the room of grunts and snores, she knew there would be short space to catch up on sleep, so she eased in, stole away with her uniform and other equipment and went to the cupboard space that was officially a room of medical examination and treatment. Under the pretext of checking supplies and getting ready for the next (or today) day’s duties, dozed head on the table.

In the shortest of spaces there was a persistent knocking at the door.

“Yer,” she grumbled, loudly, as by the marks on the temporal candle there was still another thousand to go before the Medician was ready for the day’s duties. Whoever the careless clown was who’d tripped over in the dark and reckoned severe damage some part of his precious male being she would be telling him what she thought and-

The door opened, fileman o’ the watch Desreg peered in, like most in the outpost his expression was unsympathetic; he’d obviously decided a count of five was quite enough time for her to be up and at the door.

“Major wants to see you Medician, now”

The emphasis in the word ‘now’ suggested she should be there ‘now’ presenting herself to Major Gellgrachen; at this instant.

“My pleasure,” she said; Desreg gave her a questioning look, he was not a man who appreciated the layers of womanly sarcasm.

 

Major Gellgrachen was seated at his desk, upright and correct, of course. Short hair and trim moustache and modest beard all in place, and his round full face composed. However, he looked concerned.

During Beritt’s tenure of four lunations at Outpost Dorigen, she didn’t think she’d given the major cause for concern. She did though wonder as one of the older officers if he felt ‘girls’ as medicians and looking at, and having to deal with men’s most intimate of parts was a problem. Perhaps she had thought he had a close to a paternalistic worry, that if she looked at one too many dongers she might get over-heated and faint.

“At your request Major,” she said, standing to attention, correct salute, hand to the heart, teeth then clenching to stifle a yawn.

“Medician Beritt, Captain Dekyria has reported to me of his approval of your assistance in calming down our, as it were, ah, guest,”

“My duty Major,” she replied, respectfully, in the approved manner. According to some who had trained her, sewing back a leg with needle and twine so that the man could hop, skip and run, good as new was mere ‘duty. Raising someone from the dead might get a nod of approval. Mixed reminiscences were replaced with apprehension when Gellgrachen began to fiddle with the quill, usually in neat placement two handspans up and two to the right.

“Yes. Quite. Good work medician, but,” he paused, leaving her to wonder just what boundary specific to her womanhood she’d tripped over “I’m not sure though medician about this kissing the fellow!”

Oh…

“I am sure you meant well. But this is an outpost in hostile country Medician; the men are tensed for action, as they should be. This kissing business tends to put notions into their heads regrading a young woman. It might raise expectations, you should not fulfil,”

Beritt did not reply straightways, she was trying to keep a very straight face and not go into girly sniggers over the ‘raising of expectations’; this lot could keep their expectations in their trousers, or hands or….

He was ‘looking at her’.

Expecting a reply, no doubt.

“I apologise Major,” she said, not snapped as most LifeGuard indulged in when replying to something that irked them, always sounded churlish to her. “And thank you for your advice. You have my assurance this was a tactical decision Major. But it I appreciate it was a bit headstrong. Might put an onus on my sister-in-uniform Equesteria H’senez. It won’t happen again Major,”

“Ah. No excuses. That’s what I like to hear Medician. Splendid,” but there was no dismissal, so she concluded there was more to be dropped on her “Now this guest of ours. As you may have gathered he is valuable, therefore I require that you visit him, morning, evening and any other time when Captain Dekyria feels necessary. You are to check upon his health in body and spirit, as it were. We can’t have the poor chap running riot about the place, though the Good Lord God knows what he has been up to get into this state; Captain Dekyria is coming up with the most lurid hints,” the major realised he had drifted off slightly, coughed and gathered himself “Anyway that’s for another day,” he lowered his tone “And whatever you hear Medician Beritt, remember this. We are LifeGuard. We are the line of defence that cannot waver. No matter whatever is the nature of the foe,”

“I understand Major. As instructed Major,”

“Good,” that measured tone of approval somehow bothered her. “To about your duties then,” and he returned to some papers on his desk; the snatched sight of his weary resignation making Beritt feel he would rather be patrolling some windswept remoteness on the slovosskian borders; she’d heard some impressive tales…

 

She stepped down the corridor and looked over her shoulder, not certain what to expect. The way of Dekyria’s short lecture and the look in the fellow’s eyes were putting strange ideas in her head.

This was an outpost and you could expect a few nuisance raids from folk as shadowy as they were; but this events of the night and this dawn were making her feel as if a Battlefield was coming to them.

The Patchwork Warriors #8

The Patchwork Warriors #6

The Patchwork Warriors # 5

The Patchwork Warriors # 4

The Patchwork Warriors#3

The Patchwork Warriors #2

The Patchwork Warriors # 1

 

 

 

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The Patchwork Warriors #6

So far, fairly linear. Introduction, then two chapters containing the same characters and one aspect of the plot. This is where we take the first test to check if the narrative will hold true is strength and continuity:

Chapter Three (part one)

Many would have been surprised but to Karlyn this situation was fun. She was enjoying herself immensely scaring folk with facial contortions and muffled exclamations. She hauled in breath through her nose to commence a truly wondrous snort.

All halted when she caught a tang of the hot pungency of fear, mingled with the aroma of oil on warm metal, much, much stronger than in the town.

‘Ooooh by the way my nose twitches

                   I can smell little scared whichies!’

Her further adventures into commentary and poetry were stilled by another scent swiftly following. This was a rare one, she was not use to clean smells, like someone had washed everything. Another odd thing was the way it made her feel sort of, well nice?

She twisted her head to look north and west, but the horse was in the way. She supposed she’d find out more when she was let down.

In the meantime, she went back to upsetting folk.

 

There was a hammering at the door

“Medician Beritt! Urgent! Now!!”

“Oh ffffrib,” she muttered

One other female groan issued forth, followed by an unclean sock, lightly impacting on her face. Lareh had uncanny aim.

“G’wan Deya and let me get back to sleep,”

“I only just got into bed,”

“Well Medician Deya Beritt you can only just get out again,”

Lamenting the injustice of having a duty which everyone thought required no sleep the medician stumbled to the door and opening it peered into the ill-light of a shoddy candle.

“Yer?” she was not bothering to stifle her yawn and ill-humour until she noticed the twin shield insignia of a captain faintly glimmering, she then bothered to look up. “Oh Cap’n Dekyria, err, sorry. How can I help?”

“Serious injury just brought in,”

Short on information but not inclined to argue with a captain, Beritt was quick to grab her mediphsic box and naturally stubbing more than one toe hobbled out, While in answer to a ragged plea, closed the door behind her.

 

Although the officer was tall and with a start on her, Beritt was not long to catch up with a man whose right leg below the knee was of wood, the flesh and bone long since mouldering far, far away to the east upon the northern slovosskian border. As she drew level Dekyria looked down at her, slight bemusement upon a square face lined before the proper age.

“Bare feet and service night gown Medician?” he asked a tinge of humour there somewhere.

“If it’s urgent captain it might not wait for me to get into boots and uniform,” she patted a pocket in her thick uncomfortable service nightgown “I’ll put my spare socks on when I get the chance,” slight cough for deference’s sake “If I may captain; battle or accident?”

He placed a finger to his lips, leaving Beritt to ponder on the paradox of someone making all that noise and drawing attention then insisting on secrecy. Two years, three lunations, one decan and two days in the Imperial LifeGuard Regiment and she still could not understand officers’ ways. This one being in charge of the ‘owls’ of the Observation Station Dorigen made the business all the more puzzling.

A sudden swing to the left and then a descent down stone stairs had her wishing she’d taken a few moments to put those socks on; this chilly passage way was a swift trip to one of the three cellars. What the frib were they doing putting an injury case down there? There was a perfectly good-

She nearly missed her footing at the sound of the thin wail. If the injury was that bad she was not so sure she would be able to deal with it. But outposts did not have doctors or physicians, that was for the grand folk at Drygnest or Soralach. Drafty little stone keep outposts got medicians and The Blessed Lady Captain help this poor girl if she could not work miracles.

As they came closer there was a scream. Beritt had had some experiences of screams in her career of patching up damage or easing folk out of this world; she had a notion the one she’d just heard was more out of terror than pain; pain caused long, almost angry outbursts, this one was too high and shrill; suggesting more of a mind than a body in torment.

“Keep up the pace Beritt!”

          ‘How could a man with one and half legs of flesh and bone swing that quickly down a stairway? and that with its own sort of pain and discomfort too. Not that he’s ever asked me to attend to it as he should. Officers!’

At the foot of the steps there was just about enough for one pace and there was a door, progress made all the more difficult by the presence of two troopers. Trex with his usual lazy smile, Myrrek, always doleful, but both sharing a tense alertness which made Beritt inadvertently retreat until she banged her bare heel on the stairs; Erzns’ men. Sergeant Erzns file never said anything about their activities, you could get banter and you would get sweeping generalisations about how the regiment should be run but never any detail.

One more loud chilling scream of fear.

“What the Fourth Hell is going on!” Beritt demanded her sense of service overwhelming any respect of rank “You torturing someone in there cap’n and gone so far that you want me to patch ‘em up!”

The trooper with the lazy smile winked at her in approval, she did not feel in the mood for any sort of compliment.

“Nothing of the sort medician,” the captain said, wearily he jerked a thumb to the door “In here is a fellow who has been messing about with business he should not have and got in far too deep. You are going to see what happens when someone is careless with The Astatheia,”

For an instance her body would not move. Even smoothed out by the LifeGuard’s own idiosyncratic official term for The Stommigheid she was still prey to a deep sense of agitation at the mention of the stuff. Not even her two years being in the atmosphere of the more objective religious philosophy of the Devoteds of the Libratery had eased her instincts.

Beritt took in a deep breath; yes she knew this was one of the reasons why the LifeGuard had the keep as a Station of Observation. To watch the four princedoms of the Southern West. But Dekyria’s ‘owls’ usually kept themselves and their work in their own room. The only contact being the brief social nod, exchange of opinions on the lack of comforts and the requests for ‘something to help with a head pain’, the reason for which you never asked about. This flurry of recollections being swept out of her head when the captain nudged her in through the door and closed it behind them.

They’d taken a lot of trouble to put as much light as they could; they’d even brought in some decent bedding for the fellow to lie upon. You could almost call it comfy. Not that the man was in any condition to appreciate it, Erzns lean and hardened by years of service held him at the waist, while his fileman Creylan grasped the shoulders and was speaking in his trademark everyday way, trying to infuse some sort of calm into the writhing figure. Two others stood by and shook their heads.

The man was not listening to anyone. Beritt had witnessed this sort of stare before; the look beyond the people in front of you, the stare driven by the fear that was running rampant through your head. She’d met it with silly lads who’d not meant to kill someone in a tavern brawl, with soldiers who had their first or one too many battles, folk who’d tried a mysterious brew they shouldn’t have. In addition to warfare and military maintenance The LifeGuard did like its medicians to impose onto the Community; Maintain a Presence they called it.

The man seemed to be seeing something on the opposite wall, as his wide-eyes were fixed there, another long wailing scream and a stream of incoherence. Creylan turned to Beritt a grim smile on his face.

“Hullo Medician, you wouldn’t have something for this awful earache I’m getting would you?”

Dekyria spoke in a, slow, factual, precise way.

“You are now going to learn something about my file, Medician. We started noticing something upon the oculators,” he fixed an intense gaze upon her “Oculator Medician?”

“Those dark grey metal boxes, with bright gems on the surface and black stand up mirrors?”

“Well, you know too much already,” his mouth turned up into a tight smile.

“Medicians end up being everywhere with everyone Captain,”

“Fair comment. Anyway, we observed series of bright sparks jumping. It’s called grasshopping,” he gestured to a thick grey brown leather belt inlaid from the buckle to each half way around each side with large pale green gems “And that’s the Jordisk device they use. It allows someone to pass in and out those places beyond the World Physical; just of the edge of the Fourth Realm. Hazardous. Only the most daring usually use it. This fellow, I think was just panicked and was desperate to get away. Saw things and maybe touched things way beyond nightmares. It’s a place of hells Medician, true ones,”

The man’s breath began to came in short desperate keening sounds, Beritt reckoned he was trying to say something important, but his terror was shredding his sanity.

“What would you like me to do Captain?” not at all certain of what was expected of her; she was still trying to cope with grasshopping and places beyond the World Physical. But Fourth Realm, that’s where the demons lived and lurked.

“Calm him down and get him to make sense, please. Y’see the noteworthy thing is that from what we can trace we think he started off on the south eastern border with neighbouring Valeneg and now arrives two hundred and fifty miles north and west here on Decoryx’s mid northern border. Ending up a suspiciously close two miles from here which is a bit of an upset seeing as how we are supposed to be very secret. So it looks as if he knew where and who we were. That’s why Sergeant Erzns’ file was sent to find him,”

“Screaming and crawling in circles on his hands and knees,” the sergeant volunteered “We had to tie him over a horse and gag him to bring him in,”

 

Somewhere along a road, still draped over a horse and musing on those recent smells Karlyn had a notion that apart from this being fun, someone else nearby in time and place had or was going through the same experience as her, only maybe not having as much fun. She rolled her eyes at a passing farmer and made muffled howls. The Custodian scowled. Karlyn thought him an ol’ spoily-sport.

The Patchwork Warriors # 7

The Patchwork Warriors # 5

The Patchwork Warriors # 4

The Patchwork Warriors#3

The Patchwork Warriors #2

The Patchwork Warriors # 1

 

 

 

 

The Patchwork Warriors # 5

This completes the Second Chapter, setting in train one strand of the major events of the book…

Karlyn was perched upon a kitchen stool working her way through a meal of stew and extra portions of vegetables. Widow Darroe managed to feat of wrinkling her nose at Meradat in a respectful fashion.

“The young woman should have the comfort of a bath and bed too, Your Honour,”

“Sadly, good woman, there is little time. The services of the Lord God are pressing. Now then, Maid Karlyn,” who looked up from her meal

“Yumf?”

“Very well. Eat. But with all dignity. Now listen well, and bear in mind I will expect an answer,”

“Uh-huh,”

He drew from his large and pocket rich coat a slender black leather book; the custodial axe inscribed in gilded lettering. Sitting opposite her, he skimmed it across the table to her.

“Pick that up,”

The need to shovel another spoonful of stew took precedence, but following she picked up the volume, sniffed at it and having looked admiringly at the cover put down her spoon. While she chewed in a very demonstrative manner, Karlyn thumbed through the pages, ending her survey with a very obvious swallow and a wide grin.

“Hey! I like these prayers about burning wicked folk!!”

“Encouraging,” he picked up the book and waved it at her, she followed the progress as a cat watching jewelled necklace “This is a copy of The Ministrations of the Obliteration. Written in sacred ways, passages formed with invention to confront doubts and aberrations, set in inks pure. The tainted, the foolish and the evil become most agitated reading its pages.”

Widow Darroe passed a comment which she kept wisely inaudible and excused herself. The Official Custodianal idea of sacred and pure could be mistaken by ordinary folk as the determination to wreak havoc and terror; she also reckoned most folk became agitated in the presence of a custodian.

“Recite unto me a maiden’s prayer,”

Karlyn pulled a long face, the stew was beckoning.

“Dunno much. Where I lived they never encouraged ‘em,”

Meradat glowered, not so much at her, but at a place many leagues distant and many years passed.

“Try,”

“Humph!..OhGoodLordGawd.HelpUsYerFoolishAndBig’EadedChildren.WeAveBeenWaywardAndUngratefulScropes.Sorry!Sorry!!Sorry!!!”

And returned to the stew.

“You made that one up did you not?”

“Yer. Told you. Where I lived we weren’t encouraged,”

“It was sincere enough,” he had had enough experience of the panic and haste of the other sort. He had met many types in his long and turbulent career. This young woman had some of the undefinable about her, of a possibly useful kind that is “So are you ready to work for The Lord God?”

“Yumpf,” stew again.

That was quite emphatic; just the style you’d expect from an irreverent yet direct sort. He continued, while observing, carefully.

“How long have you had this gift to scent out evil?”

“’Bout three years. Just came to me, it did. My family started to pong very bad, an’ not just because they didn’t wash. Then the whole neighbourhood did,” she pulled another face “Not that you needed a gift of smell to know things were crocked there,”

Naturally he would observe her carefully in this respect. Whereas for Meradat burning suspect locations was a perfectly reasonable course of action, this was achieved after careful observation, investigation, and interrogation. A claim to be locating them by sense of smell was not something to be accepted at face value. An evaluation would be best reached when tested at the workface of duty.

“We have little time. If this man has fled in terror, who knows what pursues him and where he has gone,”

She looked up, wrinkled her nose, tugged at her shirt.

“He’s gone west, he has. Maybe a hundred miles,”

Meradat stared at her for a long time, she did not flinch, she just stared back out of curiosity, and of course alternating with considerations of the stew.

The unblinking look in her, the absence of any furtive twitches, along with the steadiness of breathing were favourable signs. They suggested to him a possible purpose which was not malign.

For some time, he’d had his suspicions about the central west coast and its penchant to trade in anything.

She might well do.

 

The Translator Pastoral was woken from an untidy, uncomfortable and inadvertent doze in his chair, by a great deal of hustling and bustling primarily a duet, one deep and sonorous counterpointed by a high, rapid and possibly incomprehensible one. After a few moments he concluded Meradat and the girl were about some business of their own, after another few moments he judged it would seem they were getting ready to go on a journey. He wished he’d stayed awake and heard what had passed between them. At least he might have been able to have an influence on their manner of departure. So with the years of practice of being a translator at the beck and call of his congregation he unfolded out of his chair.

And became aware of the waves of mumblings and occasional shouts of opinions, from outside, and in consequence winced.

Of course as was common with custodians, they were inclined to make their rank known upon arriving anywhere. This had one of two effects; in the more sedate or humble communities everyone would take fright and guilt and stay indoors as much as possible, praying, literally, the said official would not choose to speak with them. In unrulier places it would not take long for a crowd to find the collective courage to find out just what was what.

Firstly, in came his servant who ventured the opinion that he probably already knew but there was a crowd outside, then appeared Meradat and the girl. He as usual was thunderous while she was narrow eyed and thin lipped; both obviously intent on confrontation with the folk outside. ClnMyla was at once for hands raised and a warning.

“Now before you pair start on your own interpretations of the Slaughter of Lowden Moor; let’s try and find a way out of this which makes sense to those poor noodles out there,”

“A custodian does not need to explain himself!” Meradat boomed.

“That is a charming trait you all share, but I do not have the luxury of being able to or an inclination to distribute terror and I’ll not be the one having to clear up a mess of injuries and taller tales. Amongst other things this town trades in information in all directions, so nor do I want an already unhealthy place attracting even shadier folk. Meradat. And it’s not as if Prince Henrich or the rest of Valeneg care to trouble themselves about what goes on in Yermetz” he fixed the fellow with his most pained expression. “Do you really think my three poor translators are up to that sort of challenge?”

“Hmm,”

In ClnMyla’s experience that response was a start, he pressed home his advantage.

“Look! Could we not have that young girl there disguised as a heretic and you’ll be taking her, looking as a Him for interrogation,”

Karlyn much refreshed by food clapped her hands and did a little jig.

“Oooh playtime! I loves playtime and dress-up. Can I have a moustache and a beard and swagger,” she stuck out her midriff and puffed out her cheeks and was about to demonstrate her vocal abilities, when Meradat pointed out, very sonorously that heretics did not swagger in a clownish fashion. Karlyn, mused and agreed. “Alright then I’ll be a noodley-hutch,” twirling her right index finger near to the side of her head.

ClnMyla and his servant exchanged unhappy and fatalistic glances.

Meradat rolled his eyes.

 

The crowd were stirred up by news of the fire and more importantly that the Pastoral Translator had been out and about with a custodian and they’d been seen dragging someone away. The crowd had discussed this enough and were just getting in a mood to push someone forward to do something, when the door of the abode swung inwards and there stood The Custodian, in his full imposing height and his iron badge in the shape of an axe of justice hung ominously about his neck. In his firm grip upon one shoulder a small hooded figure who twitched and seemed to cackle.

Meradat did not normally care for this sort of theatrical and but he did have sense of duty to ClnMyla and so once more was going along with one of the Pastoral Translator’s whimsical schemes. This one did have a measure of economy and plausibility.

“One side!” he boomed “An heretic hast been apprehended in your town!!”

At this point Karlyn squeaked and waved her fingers in flapping motions about her head.

“Oooh All praise the…” she stopped, suddenly stuck for a suitable heretical statement, luckily for her the febrile imagining of the crowd were rich in possibilities.

“All that burning! He’s got one of them Gervalons!” screeched a woman “Oh Good Lord God help us, there’s Gervalons here!! Come to burn us all in our beds!!”

And a flurry of cries went up demanding all manner of very painful and bloody executions at once, fuelled by Karlyn cackling and crying back that they were all going to suffer Wraths, they were.

At this stage ClnMyla and his servant wisely made their appearances; the latter to run around to the attached stables and bring out the horses, ClnMyla to interpose himself between two forces of nature, maybe three for he was not sure about the girl.

“Please! All of you. Be calm for, he, the Custodian must take this wretch,” Karlyn made a rude noise and stuck out her tongue, which caused some puzzled silences for as far as folk knew heretics did not resort to street urchin tricks, ClnMyla took advantage of the lessening of the hub-bub. “He must take them for interrogation! They are obviously not having enough wits of their own to plan anything!” Karlyn seemed attracted to this notion and began to babble the word ‘Burn’ “There are others at work here!” he concluded in some desperation; the girl was not helping!

At the appearance two suspiciously convenient saddled and bridled horses Meradat boomed once more for all to stand aside and dragged the girl to the mounts.

“You’re all gonna burn!!” she chanted and pointed randomly at folk squeaking ‘’Specially you!”

This litany ended when Meradat picked her up and slung her over the saddle of one mount, fixing her with a furious glare.

“Cease your blasphemous babbling!” he warned with more than a hint of truth in his voice, and tided her hands and legs.

“Can’t stop me!” she trilled

“Can’t stop me!!

You’re all gonna swing from the burning tree!!”

This ditty ended in a ‘mmph’ when Meradat shoved a rag into her mouth. Crowds, even small ones could be volatile things and it was difficult to gauge just when the provocation would set off a riot which even a custodian would find hard to control, particularly as they were normally instigators. His prompt action turned the tide and caused cheering, calls of approval, with the occasional ‘Good Lord God Bless You’ thrown in by those anxious not be seen to offend a custodian.

Thus did Custodian Meradat ride off into a smear of wet dawn with his apparent prisoner still managing to cause a few folk distress by an excessive rolling of eyes and some stifled but chilling sounds. ClnMyla could not help but feel she was thoroughly enjoying the whole thing.

 

ClnMyla turned to his servant.

“Well I hope that’s the end of our part in the bigger drama,” he whispered, then set his attention to those still hanging around and the days ahead of tidying up. No one ever wrote about the tidying up did they now?

And would be the end of it? Wherever Meradat went eventually someone from the more conservative parts of the The Ecclesiastes’ administration would arrive and demand a report on just what Custodian Meradat had been up to now

The Patchwork Warriors # 1

The Patchwork Warriors #2

The Patchwork Warriors#3

The Patchwork Warriors # 4

In Mourning…

Well said by Jerry

Jerry Mabbott's Blog

The horrific attack on the wonderful people of France leaves me without anything funny to say today. I am mourning the loss of so many at the hand of dreadfully evil human beings.

Having spent a lot of time there, I was befriended by many warm, friendly people. In fact, the day after 9/11 I received an email from a man who was certainly my friend. The email contained only a picture of his entire family holding a large sign while standing in front of a large American Flag. The sign read, “Today we are all Americans”.

They moved to Nice some time ago and I have no idea if they are safe. When will the madness end? Here is an artist’s rendition of the picture in my email.

Today, I am French.

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Dum inter homines sumus, colamus humanitatem

Light of Writing 2

 

(And written over the course of a week; completed in shadow of event’s in Nice)

Yeh, that title. I am not trying to be clever here but, when writing about sensitive topics and using a shared language with the countless nuances which carry different meanings to different groups; well a title in English can come across as polemic, judgemental or apocalyptical none of these are my true intentions. So neutral ground then.

Firstly; when it comes to communities of humans…. nothing is simple.

How many people are you? As we journey through Life we are influenced by many factors; family, friends, politics, religion, job experience, media, relationships. Each one may leave a very strong impression. Events therefore will be seen through those influences. Maybe one holds you above all others and this is the way you see things. Me, I’m conflicted. A socialist who believes the duty of the state is to ensure the citizens can go about their daily lives without fear of any harmful activity, and thus the citizen in has a duty to play their part and not be a threat to other citizens. A Roman Catholic, with emphasis on Social Teaching; we’re all of one, and we have a covenant to each other. A public servant with a long service, taught to assist the public (in a paternalistic/maternalistic way-truth be known), knowing screw-ups happen, have cleared them up and caused them too. And a Just A Person, who says (as we all do)…What!!!????. All of these have been having their say this week, as I read so many reactions to the deaths in the USA. So what else is there to? What possible use is one more contribution? Who knows. This much is certain I cannot rest until I have had my say too.

Being conflicted only my civil service voice is the one I can use, try and avoid passing judgement when I am not there to witness much less live events.

This much I am sure of.

If one community across the swath of a nation feels it has a grievance against the way it is treated and this permeates through the various parts of that community, then something within the workings of the state is not working properly. Human nature being Human nature no one is ever going to be completely happy with the way things are run. And as far as can be discerned from Human history there has always been crime and attempts to confront that and there will always be disputes over the administration of that effort. But when that operation of the administration becomes an issue, then there is something not working properly. ‘Justly’ or ‘Fairly’ are not used here; I choose to write without emotions. Here I am an administrator. I am writing my report on something which has caused ‘Complaint’.

If the administrators of the system of operating the system set in place to minimise the effects and outbreaks of crime feel the need to or even condone the actions which cause this ‘Complaint’, then the system they are working within is not working. To an administrator the question arises is or are factors which are not supporting those who are trying to their jobs to their best of their abilities? What are the basic training and the ongoing support structure? How much has Confrontation replaced Solution. How much are the elements who should be targeted playing this system and thus hiding? If the Decision Making process within the administration feels the only response is to increase the level of Confrontation and believes it is helping its administrators by forcing that Confrontation, something is not working.

If sections of the public resolve to violence in response. Something is not working. If people who support the administration resort to profiling attacks upon the community or personal accusation in the media. Something is not working. If people resort to calls for violence or retreating behind their own social borders, something is not working.

If people die going about their work or lives by someone else’s sudden violent reaction. Something is not working.

Something is not working.

If you spend enough time in Public Administration you learn that you are at the behest of the political system which in a democracy means you get used to change and today’s Big Idea. You also hear a lot about how Someone is going to make government simpler and then they bring in a great of their own legislation to undo the previous legislation. Meanwhile they say they are going to cut bureaucracy while bringing another layer of bureaucracy to make sure the other layer is cut. And then someone decides that the Private Sector can do it more efficiently by doing it cheaper. But here are the truths. You do not do Public Service on the cheap. You cannot provide a Public Service with profit making organisations. You do not help Public Service by bringing people with only Private Sector experience; the disciplines are different. Public Services requires a strict ethos all of its own; basically I Serve to Help Run The State/The Community. This is the bottom line.

Public Service is no fun. Nor should it be. It is The Life of a Person you are dealing with. Also it is not a place where you should be able to look down your nose at someone and wave your smidge of authority in their face. I used to work in a call-centre unit and would hear folk say ‘God! I’ll be glad when today’s over! What is wrong with them today?’ and I’d be thinking ‘Have you %8@ing well heard yourself today? If I still had my management grade you and I would be having a talk about your attitude!’.

One last word on my public service aspect:

Ignore The Stats! Throw the graphs out of the window. There are too many bad managers who use them to try and beat staff with. The only ones which count are the evidence of your own eyes and the number of complaints from the public. They never help anyone.

This is not easy. It is along hard road. Everyone has to work at it. It needs leadership. It needs example. It needs courage. Politicians would be advised to step outside of their Voter Base and say ‘You Might Like to Hear This But It is For Everyone’s Good’. Pundits and Commentators should sit back and take longer and think more before they shoot off scatter-shot comments which fit into snappy one-liners. Causes should not be ‘fashionable’ to be ditched when the fun wears off and the ordinary folk are left and forgotten.

I have a great deal of fondness for the USA. I get seriously pissed off with fellow Brits who make snide and snarky comments about the USA; of course it’s a fashionable way to give way to the vicarious urge to bigotry. It would be easy to be apocalyptical and rattle off some dire warning about the collapse of Society and fall into a secret smugness beloved of commentators when writing about another country’s woes; there’s nothing new there, most countries around this world have that potential; read histories it’s all there. I respect the variety of cultures, the sense of independence that runs through the ordinary seams of life; the friendliness and the generosity of folk in their day to day business. There’s much which seems strange and difficult to work out, but that’s just the way of countries you go anywhere and things will look ‘odd’. The USA has a capacity to change and still stay itself, I wish everyone well.

But, there are folk out there who will need to take a long hard look at themselves and say ‘What am I doing to Make Things Better?’ Those who have any power to make a decision of any sort, should be asking that of themselves. And to repeat, it will be a long hard road.

And I as a citizen of The British Isles need to ask that of myself in relation to our own challenges.

Take Care All of You.

(And put aside some time and thought for the dead, dying and grieving of Nice, and Syria, and Libya and so many other places around the world)

 

(Translation of Title: As long as we are among humans, let us be humane. -Seneca)

 

The Patchwork Warriors # 4

 

This is the first half of Chapter 2; each post from here on in carries the same question. How well is this all holding together?

CHAPTER TWO

 

ClnMyla was first to the conversation, he did not want Meradat causing this possibly unusual person to go all skittish and run.

“Pardon me for appearing slow. But would you be after claiming the responsibility for this conflagration?”

This caused the person to rise from their slouch and frown, arms unfolding and straying down to their sides.

“Just said that didn’t I?” they leant forward, teeth slightly barred “I set fire to that nasty place. Just like I’ve done before!!”

Closer inspection revealed soot stains upon her face, hands and clothing and then a stronger than through the background conflagration cloying aroma of smoke. ClynMyla felt there may be something to her claim.

“So you’d be making a career of this then?”

“Yer!” she waved a hand at them “Like you holies, it’s my vo-err-voc—“

“Vocation,” intoned Meradat, she nodded in response “And by your accent am I correct to assume that you have journeyed northwards all the way from the Blaggatinian peninsula, burning down places along the way?”

“S’right. Right up from Elinid,” she spat, quite profusely, narrowly missing clerical shoes “Rot-it-to the Fifth-Hell,” a pause to scratch their scalp “I’ll go back there one day an’ burn the whole damn place down!”

Meradat was normally a man given to action, either physical or verbal on the basis that assault took the foe off of their guard, however this person presented a collection questions which he felt, just this time, might be better dealt by his colleague. ClnMyla was of course all for talking.

“Well, miss, I take it, it is miss,” the arrival nodded, sniffed and followed it up by a wiping of nose on sleeve, which he took as a perverse sort of confirmation of her gender. “Just what would be bringing you on such a task?”

The girl raised her head, a thin smile about her face.

“I can smell nasty business I can,” a quick shrug “Not the robbing and cheating sorts, but that dirty creepin’ whitchie stuff, the stormihiggle or something,”

“Stommigheid,” Meradat corrected and being only able to restrain himself for very short interludes, loomed in asking “And just how do you burn things?”

ClnMyla winced, one odd answer here and the girl could be on the wrong end of an official Stommigheidate accusation. She swung out a small sack, previously hanging from the back of her belt.

“I got all I needs in here. All the natural stuff that will burn anywhere and anyhow. I can set fire to a riverbank if I fancies!”

After a hasty glance to Meradat, ClnMyla put on his most disarming smile.

“This scenting of things?” and he let the question deliberately hang there, letting her have her say.

“I just do. It’s a gift and I makes the best use of it. Soon as I got the chance to get out of the sproggle hole Elinid and into the open where I could think and smell straight, it all became very clear, an’ since then,” she shrugged, then looked back to the fire, losing herself in the sight, one hand idly tugging at her shirt.

ClnMyla moved between her and the flames, his smile determinedly fixed in a kindly manner, time to calm her down and learn more about the wheres and the whys.

“Well this is go news to our stretched and tired hearts. Another to the fight. My new cook, she’s fine at her calling and a most devout lady, will be only too glad to prepare you a decent meal and a hot brew. Would you care to accept the invitation?”

At the mention of food there was a low gurgling noise from the girl’s midriff and a swift lick of her lips, although her expression was guarded.

“No funny-bunny business?” she asked, eye narrowing “No having me take off all my clothes to check for sinful marks? No creeping up to me at night with your trousers off and nightshirt up?”

ClnMyla was fair certain Meradat’s nasal inhalation and exhalation of outrage had caused two attendant drafts. These being a precursor to a combination of tirade and apology against the ways of lax, unworthy and thrice-wretched members of The Ecclesiastes and how he had dealt with those he had apprehended.

“Ah, now you’ve started him off,” explained ClnMyla “He’s be going on about his colourful notions on how to cleanse our wayward brothers-in-faith and what’s wrong with the ruling councils      . So unless you want to suffer a severe ear-ache you’d best accept my good graces and assurances and have a decent meal inside of you, for certain of the Good Lord God you’re looking as if you need one,”

The girl considered her feet.

“Yer, I’ll chance it,”

“Grand! I’m Translator Pastoral ClnMyla, that fellow with the endless vocal chords is Custodian Meradat, and you’d be calling yourself?”

“Karlyn, Karlyn Nahtinee,”

Before ClnMyla could comment on that, the blazing roof fell in, Meradat announced that there was no more to do done here      and Karlyn Nahtinee was shepherded away.

 

The translator pastoral recognised in his associate concern as opposed to the usual custodianal displeasure. Firstly, on returning Meradat had merely dismissed the three translators with a curt statement that they had work to do amongst their communities, so they were obliged to leave the light supper and scuttle out into the night. Secondly, he had been quite willing for Widow Darroe to see the girl into the kitchen and had not even bothered to ask ClnMyla if the arrangement between Widow Darroe and Servant Harrdel was a ‘correct one’. Instead he had ushered the translator pastoral into his own reading room, where he at least allowed ClnMyla to sit down before he started.

“Let us ignore your previous mistakes in this matter,” Meradat did not wait for any agreement “And look at the issues to hand. We have a man who in his vanity has peered into places far beyond his capacity to handle, thus panicked and fled. Then, appears a strange young woman claiming an ability to trace such practices. The initial evidence suggests her close proximity to fire,” ClnMyla had to agree with that! “This in itself raises issues which will need to addressed as will her other claim to burn places at her whim,” at this juncture he stopped appearing to have argued himself into a corner; thus he paced, hands firmly clasped behind his back. Not being one to dwell too long on a problem the custodian stopped at the window and starred out into the damp and dirty night.

“So if she is as she claims although the risks are great and the weaponry to be handled very carefully there is no doubt that The Lord God has delivered unto me the means to do battle,”

Problems and issues assailed ClnMyla. Still out of breath he only half-rose

“Now Meradat my long-time associate in perils! You’ll not be thinking of taking that possibly unhinged young girl on one of your steely and messy jaunts? Sweet Mercy of God! For all we know she might be a little runaway dreamer who latches onto any event and claims it for her own doings. I’ll wager she believes she can hold conversations with flowers and the more pleasant of insects,” ClnMyla felt inclined to add a warning to the next part “And how can you be certain she’s not been sent to discredit you? You’re not the most popular of fellows amongst your ranks, upsetting your superiors and equals with your assertions of corruption, nepotism and laziness. You’ve seen off five assassination attempts to my knowledge. So they try discrediting. What could be worse than a middle-aged experienced custodian being made a fool of by a waif of a girl. It’s happened before, mind you from what I be hearing those were for natural reasons,”

The face drew taught and flint sharp, winter grey eyes became hooded.

“I am aware of all their potential tricks,”

And ClnMyla knew that as far as Meradat was concerned was the end of this part of the argument. The man fought his war on more than one front.

“Let’s return to whatever that fool saw. Did his dabbling offer a path to those from The Fourth Realm who would destroy this world and replace it will a Hell? This is not the first recent indication I have encountered” he settled into very grave expression. “Ideal fodder for the Obsidian Council daring to move beyond its own debauched covens. If I judge this girl to be one quarter of what she claims to be and is the only army I will have I will make it so. Although the Stommigheid is a bane, it is capricious and could turn against any one in its unpredictable tydes and tempests, thus the girl could well have been swept here for a purpose. I must speak with her now. You may rest,”

          Oh upon my faith he’s in one of his fanatical stages. Surely The Obsidian Council is just a place for folk to pretend their lusts and unpleasantness have a reason beyond gratification? Surely The Fourth Realm is contained and far beyond? There again Meradat can be fearfully accurate in his summations… the man has been walking very strange paths for many years, experiencing the most peculiar of information and experiences. I don’t know! I’ll have enough to do with the authorities and gangs being a nervy as frogs about a fire; and neither being responsible, while suspecting each other. I think this role is getting to be more than one man’s work; pastoral indeed! Mind you he has a point; it will do no harm to be resting my eyes for just a fifty or so….

Meradat watched the man drift into a doze. For all his imperfect inclinations to Compassion and Tolerance ClnMyla was as best as could be hoped for in a declining Ecclesiastes. He was not the man for this long expected attempt by The Fourth Realm to once more absorb the World Physical into its maw

 

A Writer’s Gotta Do What A Writer’s Gotta Do

The Patchwork Warriors # 1

The Patchwork Warriors #2

The Patchwork Warriors#3

The Patchwork Warriors # 5

A True History of The Isles Part 4- The Romans (Part I)

It is very difficult to recount any bit of history involving The Romans without having to mention them a lot, seeing has how they got to write up the accounts. Also because the accounts were in Latin, these are naturally classic and cannot be ignored.

While the Celts had been busy paddling from the continent to the Isles across a stretch of sea (The working title at the time being The Really Big and Salty River), setting up Society and acting like they own the place the Romans had an inclination to do the same in the Italic peninsula. The Romans had two advantages on account of being close to Greece (a) The opportunity for a full classical education (b) A Ready-made civilisation which they could copy and tinker with.

Initially all might have been well but some mainland Celts decided to invade the peninsula. The Romans were quite astonished by their gaul, and invaded them back just to see how they liked it; they didn’t but it was too late because it gave the Romans a taste for conquer folk other than their neighbours.

While the Celts were organising themselves into tribes, the Romans were inventing The Senate, but cleverly left out a congress and packed it with republicans so to smooth the passage of government. The Romans also did things differently, first someone got to be a Senator and then they appealed to the people, often with bread and circuses though in the latter case they sent in gladiators rather than clowns. Another way to gain favour was to take advantage of a roman military invention called The Legion, the innovation being the soldier carried a sword, spear and shield thus disagreeable in more than one way. A Senator with his own legions could travel about conquering folk and bringing home booty and slaves, he was then allowed to have A Triumph at which the people cheered him a lot.  Having a few thousand heavily armed men with him of course encouraged the cheering.

An ambitious and clever man Julius the Caesar, (or maybe Caesar The Julius- historians disagree) was very good at this and advanced north, then took a direct turn west at the Rhine and travelled forth reminding the native peoples that they were Gauls. Since very few of them understood Latin it seemed to have little impact, but the local kings with an eye for the main chance (or bon chance to be accurate) thought having the backing of roman legions against their rivals was not a bad deal, so they signed up. Somewhat pleased with this Julius unaware he was following a Celtic tradition kept on going west until he met the sea. Naturally this needed a name and so the Oceanaus Germanicus was invented without any thought for Celtic sensibilities on either side of The Germanicus.

Now by this stage some of those Celts who’d stuck with the notion of hewing the soil found out that if they hewed hard enough and wide enough they found local metal deposits which was roundly celebrated unless you were in the import business. Thus through trade the word was getting out that there was quite a lot more than rain going on across the sea. So Caesar as befitted a Senator on the Up decided to invade.

The first invasion in 55BC was not a success; merchants not wishing to lose their monopolies had not told the Romans they were invading during a Celtic holiday season. Caesar found the beaches packed with Celtics who had naturally brought swords, spears etc which put many legionaries who were already sick of the crossing quite off the business. However, others even more sick felt anything was better and leapt ashore only to be obstructed by hordes of sticky children pulling at their cloaks and saying ‘Watcha doin’ mister?’. With great perseverance (a little known roman centurion) they did eventually get ashore, but were by then were confronted by terrible British weather (or as the locals called it ‘Scattered showers’). Caesar who was the only one writing the accounts claimed this was all merely a reconnaissance in force and set up a quality excuse for many later generations of generals.

The second invasion was in 54BC; this time Caesar was not fooling around, no sir by cracky! He brought more romans and naturally more ships, otherwise the whole thing would have looked just plain silly. This time Caesar had sent other romans to sneak ahead and make sure all the Celts were doing celtish things and not hanging about beaches, thus he (and the rest) landed successfully along the south coast and marched inland. On hearing that those romans were back; an heroic Celtic king gathered an army from men (and probably a few pushy girls) of five tribes and heroically fought the romans twice, but nobly lost. The king then cleverly decided to avoid pitch battles and leap out on unsuspecting roman legionaries either by himself, or with a few other celts. Caesar did not appreciate this as romans always expected foes to stand still and be slaughtered properly. The first thing Caesar did was try to sully the reputation of the king by trying to call him Cassy Well Anus’d, when his proper and heroic Celtic name was probably Caswallawn. He was then assisted by another five tribes who told him where Caswallawn and the first five tribes were hiding. Caswallawn asked for another five tribes to help out, but the romans (probably five legions) caught them in open battle and that was that. The Celts were then all obliged to surrender and one grandly named by Caesar Mandubracius was made a king, he may have previously been named Afawy but didn’t wish to appear ungrateful. Some later British works referred to him as one of the Three Dishonored, which was a bit unfair as Caswallawn had killed Mandubracius’ father so the lad probably had ‘issues’. (his father was named Lud; grandfather Heli just had no sense of imagination). The two other Dishonoured had prudently bribed bard to have their names expunged.

Caesar might have stayed but on hearing the rather biased roman news that The Gauls were revolting he journeyed back and began to cruelly divide lots of them into several parts. While cunningly writing an account in the third person about how well he’d done this he was told of more challenging news that best friends and comrade in arms Pompey was naturally being treacherous and intent on being the big noise in Rome. This promptly led to a very uncivil war which Caesar won and Pompey was so distraught he quite lost his head. By now Caesar was so famous it seemed he might become emperor but some in the Senate not being able to organise a filibuster foiled this by stabbing him (a lot). Several memorable final words are attributed to him though this writer subscribes to the theory of his last words being ‘Ouch! Ow!’ or if he had the chance “Te futueo et caballum tuum!” (classy quote 2). The whole event was recorded by Shakespeare in which Brutus and Mark Anthony had a better press than they deserved.

In the meantime, the Celts continued being celtish Mandubracius dying of mortification when he found out his Latin name was not very grand but just a sneaky roman insult. There was now much discussion amongst the various strata of Celtic Society on the impact of romans and how to deal with them when if they came back. The heroes’ being the least constructive as experience had proven that charging to where the opposition was the thickest, just suited the roman legionary fine. Those Celts of high rank were asking hard questions of their chariot drivers about this practice of dropping ‘the guv’nor’ off to do the fighting then retiring to a safe distance to discuss with other drivers the state of roads, the price of repairs, and the latest models. The Druids were scandalised by the habits of roman gods and this business of the top one apparently disguising himself as various animals to seduce women; they were having enough to do dealing with angry shepherds and their complaints about disturbance to the flocks by some of the more rustic lords, without this being made part of a state religion. However, concerns would be put to rest by the activities of the following three subsequent roman emperors

Agustus and two others took charge after Caesar as a triumvirate (Latin for three man); then August by skilful use of Euclidean mathematics and legions reduced this to unum hominem (one man). He had no time for invading Britain as he was even more skilfully convincing the Senate (which was still packed with republicans, the only democrats being in Greece) that it was they were maintaining their independence by putting him in charge of everything. He was successful and died of old age and was allowed to be a god.

Tiberius was the next emperor even if he didn’t want to be. Augustus having run out of sons of his own had said he ought to be. Tiberius being a man of duty was not one to argue with a god and set to the task. Invading Britain never occurred to him as he was having problems with German tribes and prying commentators who wanted him to tell them how he felt about the job. Eventually in old age he retired to the island of Capri and since he had not given an interviews, commentators made up stories about him and his ‘appetites’. He also died of old age, but he wasn’t allowed to be a god because this trend was beginning to worry the romans. How could you have vibrant culture without a colourful end to some one’s reign? They should have been careful what they wished for.

Caligula was definitely two or three conjunctions short of a verb. Firstly, he tried to be popular with the people by installing a horse in the senate in the hope of it talking sense. Then he became very impatient to bea god so rather than wait for the usual process told everyone he was one. Anyone who disagreed was told to take it up with the other gods and dispatched so they could do so. He did decide he should invade Britain, but being a god and aware of how much of a mare Julius Caesar had had with crossing the sea Caligula very sensibly decided he should sort out Neptune first. He thus dispatched several legion to attack Neptune’s domain by paddling and hitting the water with swords, then building strong defences (sandcastles). Many of the ordinary legionaries thought this quite lark until that calends they got their pay in seashells. Not long afterwards Caligula was assassinated, so quickly that he was not allowed to make memorable remarks. Naturally his death led to a lot of other colourful deaths, until the only qualified person left was his elderly uncle Claudius who was thus logically declared by some soldiers as The First Among Equals and made emperor.

Claudius although elderly and not imposing did two correct things he first changed his name to ‘I Claudius’ which since he did not let on what the ‘I’ stood for gave him an enigmatic air and secondly decided to do something military; in this case invade Britain. However unlike other political generals he left the details up to professionals. Which was ominous (probably a roman staff officer) for The Celts.

This would be very successful and will be discussed in more detail in the next seminar.

A True History of These Isles-Introduction and Part 1

A True History of These Isles Part 2 The Celtic Colonisation

A True History of the Isles Part 3 – Celtic Culture

A True History of The Isles Part 5 -Romans (Part II)

A True History of The Isles Part 6 (Romans III- the last part…honest!)