Blogs by Cornelia Amiri
10/22/2006 10:43:19 AM
LONG SWORDS, HOT HEROES, AND WARRIOR WOMEN
The Fox Prince, my first book, is set in the fifth century against the back drop of the early Saxon Wars, when Hengist first came to the shores of Britannia. The article below, Hengist and Vortigern, will give you more information on that time period.
The Fox Prince, begins when young, 16 year old, Tryffin returns from his first battle against the King Vortigern and the Jutes, Hengist and Horsa. Read that and the first three chapters free at http://www.awe-struck.net/PREVIEWS/foxprince_prv.html.
Other historical bits of the time which are included in The Fox Prince are scenes of Irish pirates invading the city of Bath and Queen Rowena poisoning her step son, Vortimer. I also mention Wipped, a thane named in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles, who was slain as he fought alongside Hengist and his son Esc. In my book, the hero, Tryffin, the fox prince, kills him in hand-to-hand combat. Iíve included that expert below:
The clamor of iron blades striking wooden shields and the screams of the wounded bombarded Tryffin's ears. Boring his hard gaze into a Saxon who blocked his path, Tryffin squeezed Mor's reins, rearing the stallion onto his powerful hind legs. Before the steed could plunge his hard hooves downward the Saxon rammed a black spear through the steed's chest. Blood gushed.
Jolted from the saddle, Tryffin was thrown to the grainy sand where he watched Mor crumble to the ground. The great ebony stallion that he had raised from a colt fell on the battlefield.
Tryffin bolted to his feet. Clenching the hard hilt of his blade he gazed at the iron helmet and the mighty sword of his foe. Armored as such he can be naught but a thane. By gods, I shall take even greater pleasure in avenging Mor.
Gritting his teeth into a war scowl as menacing as the Saxon's, Tryffin spread his legs in a warrior stance and held the whetted blade low and center. The muscles of Tryffin's fore arms hardened beneath the heavy mail shirt. He blocked out the distressing stench of blood and the gruesome sight of scattered limbs. The Saxon lunged. Tryffin swung. Like bolts of lightning the blades jolted the air with a vibrating swish. Tryffin and the Saxon stepped back, then forward. They swung. Swords crossed with a pulsating clang. Tryffin stepped back. The thane held his blade long-ways, his arms extended to embed the blade deep into the Celtic prince's chest. Tryffin sidestepped, rammed his foe's forearm, and held him down.
Savagely the Saxon thrust his foot into Tryffin's knee, causing him to loosen his grip. Tryffin let out a sharp yowl of pain yet side-stepped the foe's thrashing swing.
Tryffin's heart leapt in his chest. He felt fearful yet thrilled. Aiming his sword at the Saxon's head, Tryffin lunged. The foe blocked the thrust with a forceful parry. The Prince ached. He panted to catch his breath. Yet, instead of fatigued he felt vigorous; blood lust boiled beneath his skin.
Tryffin plunged forward with a stronger thrust. The Saxon fluidly passed his blade over Tryffin's point, cutting off the blow. The prince met the move by slapping his blade across the thane's arm drawing it down. Blood poured forth. An anguished look fleeted across the Saxon's face before reverting to a dark grimace. The Saxon thane swung from left to right. Tryffin stepped back. The thane forcefully lunged a straight thrust under Tryffin's grip but Tryffin side-stepped, evading the deadly stroke. Then he plunged forward. The lust of battle rushed through him. The Saxon parried, then fiercely swung over Tryffin's bloodied blade. Tryffin ducked and dropped onto his free hand. With his other, he delivered a powerful thrust.
The thane swung his rear leg, side-stepping the swishing blade, then counter thrust. Tryffin moved back, and then with a fast double step he moved forward and lunged. Swiftly the Saxon again dodged his blow. Tryffin panted. Damp sweat soaked his skin. The dank stench of blood clogged his nostrils. Helplessly twitching in the spasm of death, Mor let out a final whine. Seething with rage, Tryffin screamed a blood-curdling war cry and slashed his sword through the Saxon's hand. Tryffin grasped the thane's blade with his free arm. Savagely kicking the thane he wrestled the sword from him.
Tryffin threw his own blade to the dirt. "For Mor," he growled.
He gripped the blade end of the Saxon sword; his palms bled crimson upon the thane that cringed in the sand. Tryffin felt no pain. Fury alone surged through him. He swung the pommel down upon the thane's head. The moans of the dying man and the banging sound of the iron bronze hilt pierced Tryffin's ears as he whacked the thane to death.
Tryffin threw the sword down and stood speechless, staring at his bleeding palms. His heart was hammering, his breath ragged. Slowly he turned over the hem of his tunic and ripped off a strip of fabric. He wound the wool round his hand, ripped off another strip and wrapped it round his other hand. Tryffin retrieved his own sword and shoved it into his belted scabbard. He reached down and picked up the Saxon blade. He gripped the bloodied, leather-covered hilt that had badgered its owner's head. Holding the blade downward he glanced around at the multitude of dead bodies and scattered limbs.
A wounded Saxon that lay nearby rasped, "Wipped. Ye slew Wipped, Hengist's thane."
The name meant nothing to Tryffin, yet his status did -- for when a leader fell in battle the strength of his men faltered.
Tryffin gripped the sword hilt and stared at it as he spoke, "With you in hand I avenged Mor and brought down a thane. You have served me well, Saxon blade."
He trampled atop strewn bodies to Mor's side then knelt down beside the steed's limp corpse. Tryffin ruffled the horse's mane. "Farewell good friend," he whispered.
He blinked the tears from his eyes, and gazed toward the sea. Vortimer had won. This time. They had pushed the Saxons to the far shore. Tryffin watched as a long ship hoisting one square sail launched into the rough sea and headed to the nearby isle.
Tryffin stabbed and hacked his way through the few Saxons still fighting as cawing crows and ravens swooped down to fill their bellies of carnage.
Overcome with fatigue he stumbled through the opened gate of the stone fort, staggered to the barracks, and slumped down on a rush pallet.
The Fox Prince climaxes with the famous massacre legend, The Night of Long Knives, which only Eldol survives. In my book, Tryffin and Gwydion also survive the massacre. But how? Do the women, Aelfrida and Nesta, save them? Youíll have to read The Fox Prince to find out.
Hengist and Vortigern
By Cornelia Amiri
After 400 years of Roman rule, the Roman army and government withdrew from Britannia in 410 AD. We donít know who took over the business of running the country. Some of the Roman soldiers probably stayed, having family in Britannia, even generations of family. A few Roman government officials must have stayed and kept their same positions for love of the country they had come to think of as their own.
There is one leader whose name has been passed down to us. Vortigern came to power around AD 445. Not only was he the ruler of Kent but a mighty landowner whose influence extended over all of Southeast England. Most historians believe Vortigern is but a title meaning Over Lord. In one text his name is listed as Vitalinus but most historians disagree with this and consider his actual name unknown, lost in the mist of time.
With the Roman army gone, Scots raided by sea from Ireland and Picts raided by land and sea from Scotland (known as Caledonia). Vowing to end these attacks, Vortigern hired the fiercest fighters known, Saxon Mercenaries. He recruited the best of these, two Jute brothers named Hengist and Horsa, renown for their battle prowess. The names Hengist and Horsa mean stallion and mare and so they were called due to their large physical statue and strength. In return for their service, Vortigern promised them great riches.
What Hengist needed was rich farmland and Britannia had plenty. The bit of Denmark in which the Jutes lived had gotten too crowded, they were seeking a new homeland when Vortigern hired them. At first Hengist, Horsa, and their men lived in Vortigernís palace. After they won the first battle against the Picts, Vortigern gave the Jutes the Isle of Thanet to live on. Then Hengist told Vortigern they needed to send for more Jutemen to help protect Britannia. Vortigern agreed.
The additional men needed more land. The Jute warlord told Vortigern they didnít need much, just a hide of land. He agreed, thinking it would do no harm to give the Jutes a tiny piece of land the size of a bull hide. Legend goes, Hengist took the largest bull he could find, slew it, and cut itís hide round and round into a thin strip of leather. This he stretched out and laid it on the ground in a huge circle, enclosing land large enough to build a fortress on.
After the ship arrived carrying Hengistís kinsmen, Vortigern was invited to feast with them at Thong Castle built on this skin of land not far from Lincoln.
One of the new arrivals was Hengistís daughter Rowena. She has also been referred to as Renwein, Ronwin, and Ronixen. Depicted as a quite young, very blonde, beguiling, blue-eyed, dark-age babe. Vortigern wanted her. He asked Hengist for her hand and the Jute warlord gave his blessing but asked for all of Kent as the bride price. Vortigern agreed and married Rowena. As for giving Kent to the Jutes (known in general as Saxons) the princes of Britannia were furious. Also Hengist had three sons who were livid and ready to go to war against their father and his Jute friends.
The oldest son, Vortimer, took up his sword against his father and the Jutes in four battles in which he defeated the Jutes, killed Horsa, and drove them back to the Isle of Thanet. Legend goes, Hengist and his men left Britannia but the women and children stayed behind as if expecting the men to return shortly.
Hengistís daughter Rowena took it upon herself to rid her father and husband of her stepson. Legends say, Rowena brewed a fatal poison and bribed Vortimerís servant to give it to him. When Vortimer died, she sent word to her father and he returned with shiploads of men.
Vortigern now saw Hengist as a threat to Britannia and he raised an army against him. Hengist feigned peaceful intent assuring Vortigern he had come back to fight Vortimer. The Jute warlord said now that he knew Vortimer was dead, he would gladly return to Denmark but Vortigern may want to keep some of the Jutes to protect him against his foes: other Britons, Picts, and Scots. Hengist further proposed that the princes of Britannia along with he and his thanes meet for a treaty of peace at the Cloister of Ambrius, a monastery next to Stonehenge. This feast is known as the legend of the Night of Long Knives.
Hengistís men concealed long daggers in their boots. When all weapons were checked, the Celts gave their daggers and swords up thinking the Saxons had done the same. At Hengistís signal, the Saxons pulled the daggers from their boots and each stabbed the Celt next to them. The Celts fought back with sheer physical force and whatever they could use as weapons, sticks stones, goblets. They managed to kill some of the Saxons, but only one Celt survived, Eldol. Because Vortigern was marred to Rowena, Hengist spared his life for the price of Essex, Sussex and Middlesex.
Vortigern was basically a man on the run from both Saxons and his own countrymen. He retreated to Snowdonia where the legends of Vortigern and the boy Merlin begin. Vortigern apparently died in his stronghold when it was placed under siege by the forces of Aureiilsu Ambrosia and his brother known as Uther Pendragon. Rather then wait out a long siege they set the tower on fire and Vortigern was burned alive.
After that not only did the Jutes have a strong hold on Britain, but Saxons from Saxony and Anglos from Angeln, both in Germany, as well as Franks from France, came across in boatloads. To this day, 1500 years later, the country is still referred to as England, which is the land of the Anglos, and we speak English, which was originally the language of the Anglos.
IRISH LEGEND OF THE WEEK:
The Dagdaís Harp
(Click on the link then scroll to the second story)
BOOK BLOG OF THE WEEK:
WEB STIE OF THE WEEK:
4. Boudicca's revolt
Five stars for bright, animated cartoon/comic book type graphics of
historical characters who lived during the Boudicca Revolt: Marcus (a roman soldier), Seutonius (the roman governor), Tosutigas (a Celtic farmer), and Boudicca (Celtic Warrior Queen). It brings the period
alive for all ages. Activates offers things to do and think about when researching or studying the Boudicca Revolt of 61 AD.
CELTIC ARTICLE OF THE WEEK:
What Ritual Implements did the Druids Use
SCOTLAND BLOG OF THE WEEK:
Whenever I do one of my Celtic History talks people ask me about the movement to free Scotland
Which I unfortunately donít know too much about. To rectify that a little bit, here is a blog by one of the Scottish Independent activist
BRITISH ARCHILOLGY ARITLCE OF THW WEEK:
Though written in 1999, Iím still including it as article of the week because itís so interesting
ANCIENT GOD OF THE WEEK:
The Mystery of the Greenman
WRITING CONTEST OF THE WEEK:
EPIC, an organization of writers, publishers, and other professionals in
the e-book industry, is sponsoring the 2007 EPIC New Voices Writing
Competition for middle school and high school students.
Students in public, private, or home schools may enter short story
(fiction), essay (nonfiction) , and poetry categories at either the
middle school or high school level.
The prizes include cash, e-book reading devices, and gift
certificates for e-books.
But every entry will receive something that may be even more
valuable to young writers: score sheets/critiques from the judges,
who are published authors, editors, and educators.
If you are a parent, teacher, or friend of young persons interested
in writing, tell them about the New Voices contest. They can write a
new piece (or pieces - each student can submit one entry in each
category) or they can enter something they have written for a school
assignment. Even if they don't win a prize, they will find the
But they need to hurry - the deadline is November 1, 2006.
For more information go to:
ART Ė Explore the creative ventures of artist, writer and musician, Jolie E. Bonnette:
TARROT ĖFor a tarot reading check out Chulagata's Sacred Space
BLOG - Celtic Stuff http://celticme.blogspot.com/
CLOTHING/MERCHANDISE ĖGreenman Gifts
ALL NATURAL/HANDMADE SOAPS/LOTONS:
Triple Moon Reflections
Williamson County Soap Company
My books are available in print and in downloads at Amazon http://www.amazon.com
Baker & Taylor, and most on line bookstores
In brick and motor stores:
Houston TX - Borders Bookstore at Westhimer & Gessner
Conroe, Galveston, Kerrville, Victoria, Round Rock, and Lake Jackson, Seguin, New Braunfels, and Nacogdoches TX - Hastings Entertainment bookstores
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