The Huns charged the village, only to be stymied by the barriers. Julius and his three hundred charged the Huns from the rear and killed about a third from behind. The archers from the village, mostly hunters supplemented by a hundred elves with uncanny accuracy, killed more than a third of the Huns on the first volley. Half of the survivors quickly scattered across the open fields to the left and into the forest vacated by Julius’ men on the right. The other half of the survivors got caught up in the melee where the odds were three or four to one against them, so they did not survive for very long. Julius lost eleven men, Welsh, Cornish, British, Amorican, and a couple of his Romans. Twenty more were wounded. By the time Bogus the dwarf finished the ones in the woods and Pinewood and his fairies tracked and finished the ones in the fields, the Huns lost the full three hundred. No Huns survived.
“Not bad,” Marcellus said as he rode up beside Julius and dismounted with him at the village edge. “A couple more years under Lord Agitus and you may turn into a pretty good officer.”
Julius did not listen. He found Drucilla, a bow in her hand, looking mighty humble. “You!” Julius yelled, and then he appeared to shrug, caught her up in his arms and got lost in her kiss.
Certain gnomes found Gurt and applied a tattoo to the dead man’s chest. They dressed him in a white sheet with a dragon emblazoned on the front. When the sun went down again, they got thirty pixies to sprinkle Gurt and some of his men with enough dirt to make the magic effective. The pixies carried the bodies several miles to the village of the Raven and dropped them like they were dropping bombs over Dresden. Gurt landed on Megla’s doorstep. Megla and his chiefs were frightened by the dragon on the sheet and looked all around the sky for signs of a real dragon. They shouted their fears, until Megla got them quiet.
“So, wise man.” Megla spoke to a druid who sat at the table. The druid looked like a man in his forties with a beard to his chest that began to hint of gray. He sat beside the Lord of the Raven who had been completely cowed by the Huns. “I say this dragon is nothing but a woman,” Megla growled. “I say in the spring maybe we will fight like the dragon and swallow this female dragon whole.”
The Druid looked up into Megla’s eyes and Megla looked away. “I once saw two dragons fighting in the daytime sky. They looked like old lovers, but the male started eating the babies and enraged the female who killed the male. The female ate the male. You can take that as you will. I am only saying what I saw.”
Megla drew up his courage in front of his chiefs. “Bah. We will eat this dragon come the spring.” He tore the dragon sheet off of Gurt’s body only to find the dragon tattooed on the body.
Come April first, and Festuscato said two words. “Two years.”
“But 440 looks like a good year,” Mirowen said, and reveled in the sunlight. She twirled twice and her smile lit up the morning. Cador came riding in, followed by some twenty men all dressed the same, but to be sure, all of the eyes of the men at the gate and Cador’s men as well were fastened on Mirowen. She could do that to men.
“I must say,” Constantine came up sporting his new dragon tunic. “My wife loves her home. My son has never been happier, says the whole world has opened up before him. But me, I am afraid to think of all the responsibility you have place on my shoulders. I hope I don’t disappoint.” Mirowen took a moment to straighten the man’s tunic, properly. “Thank you for the clothes, by the way. Especially for my wife. You know women and their dresses. She and Sibelius seem to be hitting it off very well, which saves me some headache at any rate.”
“There,” Mirowen stepped back and smiled. “You look ready to receive the very court of Avalon itself.”
“Avalon. I have heard it mentioned. It is an island you say, off the coast? By Iona, perhaps, or the Isle of Man?” The man had been studying his map.
“A bit further than that,” Mirowen said, with a look at Festuscato, but a look that never lost her sunshine smile.
“I am nervous,” Constantine admitted, and Mirowen took the man’s arm and lead him to the stairs to get down off the wall by the Great Hall. Festuscato followed and imagined a woman that young and beautiful would likely make the old man even more nervous.
King Ban of Benwick stood in the Great hall with some new friends. Emet came all the way from York. King Ban’s wife and daughter were also present with some other British women. Mirowen went straight to them to greet them and make them feel welcomed.
“We have five hundred horsemen with us, and a thousand men afoot in the woods just north of the land of the Raven. Your spies tell you that Megla and his Huns are arguing about heading south, to Londinium. This would be good, but we are going to be prepared in any case. As a precaution, we brought our wives and children to this place for sanctuary, if you don’t mind.” Festuscato shrugged and pointed at Constantine.
“Of course,” Constantine shook Ban’s hand. “You and your families are welcome here anytime. My wife and the girls will love the company, and we can always squeeze in one more.”
Ban stared and then let out the slightest grin. “You have been taking lessons from the Roman.,” he said.
“Charity and kindness are never a bad idea,” Festuscato said, before he got interrupted by a big man at the back of the British pack.
“Your men wear the dragon. You have no idea what a real dragon is like. We have been plagued by one these past ten years and I was barely able to get enough men to make coming south worthwhile.”
“Prince Aidan of the Highlands,” Ban quickly introduced the man. Of course, he meant the British Highlands.
“Forgive me, but she is feeding her babies, what there are left of them. Find out where she is living and bring her some sheep, maybe some cows. Then she won’t have to hunt and attack your homes. They sleep for a time between feeding, like hibernating. The sleep between each feeding will gradually increase as the babies grow older. It takes patience, I know.” Aidan had his jaw dropped. “Oh yes. I know something about dragons, and your mama dragon in particular. But here, lets meet the others.”
Hywel and Anwyn were there leading the Welsh, and very happy to be back in Cadbury. They seemed very gregarious and shook hands with the British, the Cornish, the Amorican’s and the Romans, but decided to hold back from the Four Horsemen who stood, guarding the door. That made Death grin under his helmet.