Chapter Twenty Nine
Despite the Silures winning this battle, there wasn't much rejoicing to be had. Relief, certainly. A bone deep release of tension and frustration that made limbs shake and teeth chatter. That disquiet that settles in the spirit after staring Death in the face for so long and have him narrowly pass you by. Not by skill, or some great feat of heroism, but by sheer dumb luck.
That battle could have easily gone a different direction and ended with the annihilation of an entire tribe.
It had happened before, and considering how dogmatic Rome was and how she never forgot any slights against her, it would happen time and time again. This was one battle in an endless sea of brutality.
But for the High Kind Caratacus and the Roman General Aquilla's legion, it had finally came to a bloody conclusive end.
The ladscape had transformed. Where there was once a lush rolling field of thick grass, it now stood as a churned up mass graveyard of the fallen. Over two thousand British warriors lost their lives and countless Romans. they lay spread out where they fell, prey to the carrion birds that took advantage of the slaughter. Under a thousand warriors were left alive, dazed and listless as they looked upon the field. Some searched the dead for those who could still be alive, who could be healed. Other granted mercy to those who lingered in agony.
Aurelia had lost all sense of calm. She checked every warrior that limped up the hill or helped by a friend to their care, searching for a glimpse of Kailen. Was he well? Was he hurt? Was he even alive?He could be down there amongst the dead, hurt, needing her help. She felt sickened at the thought.
Then, finally, finally, she spotted two familiar faces traipsing up the hill towards them. Vaughan, muddy and perspiring as he helped a swaying Bran as he cradled a wounded shoulder.
Aurelia gave a cry and raced down the hill towards them. Bran's face split into a wide grin at the sight of her and opened his arms to wrap her into a tight embrace.
"Bran! Thank the Gods you two are alive!" She felt tears slip from the corner of her eyes with the overwhelming relief at seeing them in the flesh.
"Did you have any doubt?" He teased, but his voice held an underlining strain of pain.
She pulled away from him, only for her eyes to light upon the nasty wound on his shoulder. It went deep, and the blood was free flowing. "Oh Gods, Bran-"
"Do not fret," He interrupted her with another smile. "i have been hurt worse in the past and i survived. I will do so again. Besides, Elsa would have my skin if i succumbed to such a paltry wound."
Vaughan snorted at this. "It's true. I would not want to be you in that situation."
Aurelia spirited them up the hill. "Then come, let's get you to Renna so she can look at your wound." She glanced at Vaughan. "I'm sure she would like to see that you are okay, Vaughan."
He suddenly looked anxious but eager at her words and Aurelia ducked her head to hide the smile. But she was only stalling, afraid to voice the question that was ready to fall from her lips at a moments notice. Afraid that the answer would be one she would not like.
Bran seemed to sense this. His large hand curved around her shoulder. "What did i tell you about fretting? Kailen is alive."
Aurelia's heart gave a lurch.
"He and others are seeing to the recovery of Caratacus's body. The High King must be put to rest in the way all High King's have done before him."
The news came as a shock. "Carataacus was slain?"
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War Prize (A Roman Britain story)Historical Fiction
Aurelia, a Noble Roman woman, had heard of the savage British tribes, their mystic Celtic ways, and the battles the Roman army was fighting against them on their shores. The battles her soon-to-be Husband, Quintus Acquilla, was fighting in the name...