Samhain is now over and November is truly begun for yet another year. I haven't signed up for NaNoWriMo again because I can't guarantee writing 1000 words a day, never mind the amount needed for NaNo- though I have set myself my own realistic writing goals for November.
That said, I did add some 8,000 words yesterday to a new ending for my time-travel novel for early teens that's like a never ending story in progress. Here are some unedited bits that may or may not be kept!
The scene is Taexali territory, AD 210, in what is now North-east Scotland. The celtic tribes of the north are engaging not in battle, but in high profile talks and treaties with the Roman Emperor Severus who has been vicious during his military campaing in northern Britannia.
“Look. The Romans at the front are coming to the burn on their side.”
Fianna was first to spot the group led by one man on a white horse, a horse that was much larger than the Celtic horses that Mapon and his companions were riding. It had to be Severus..
Brian whispered alongside Aran’s shoulder. “Why have they brought us here?”
“Why shouldn’t they?” Aran answered without turning round because he didn’t want to miss a single thing.
It was breathtaking. The files of Roman soldiers seemed so precise they looked drawn on the hillside as though an invisible ruler had been used. It was a magnificent show of strength flanking their Emperor.
“I think it’s suspicious, too, that they’ve asked us to be here.” Fianna backed up her brother. “Those chiefs haven’t told us what the negotiations are all about, so why bring us?”
“Maybe it’s because I helped them?” Aran didn’t care what they thought; he was so buzzed at seeing a real Roman emperor.
Severus got into place, the standard bearer with his legion’s insignia standing to his right and another mounted officer on the left.
“By Taranis or whatever they call him! Those things on that pole can’t be real gold.” Fianna’s question was a mere whisper.
“The eagle on the top will be, but the discs might be something else like brass.” They were certainly shiny yellow and looked the part. He whispered an answer without moving his head. “His aquilifer- the guy holding the pole- will have been polishing those things for hours. He’s got a really important job because that pole is the standard and it holds a huge superstitious significance. If the guy drops it, or if somebody were to steal it from him, it would be a very bad omen, a huge disgrace to the legion and that emperor over there is a really superstitious guy.”
“Yeah. You told us about that already.” Fianna wasn’t being sarcastic, just stating fact as she absorbed the ongoings of the delegations.
The emperor might be old, but Aran found the man really forbidding in full armour; his breastplate and helmet amazing. A few mounted and splendidly dressed soldiers paced behind him, their horses well trained. Aran hardly dared breathe.
A formal greeting from Mapon rang out across the valley; repeated by the druid interpreter.
Aran strained his ears but he was too far way to hear the conversation that followed. Severus spoke first, the mounted officer interpreting his words afterwards.
“That old guy’s really something isn’t he? Look at how rigid he’s sitting on that horse. Bet he’s got a pole up his back to keep him in place.” Fianna’s whisper tickled his ear.
He wanted to laugh at her comment but didn’t want to break the spell of the momentous occasion. In a very short time, the druid interpreter came back across the gap on the Celts side and beckoned to Tuach and the other chiefs. A low discussion took place after the minor chiefs joined Mapon and the high chiefs, their muffled voices unable to be heard though all around the area was dead silent except for the occasional neighing or whinnying of a horse. Tuach’s gestures were wild as he pivoted about, his arms reaching to the sky as though imploring his god Taranis.
The leaders all looked over towards Aran.
Brian grabbed Aran’s cloak to get his attention, “This isn’t good Aran. Something’s off here.”
“I don’t like it either,” Aran said.
After some rapid whispering and nodding of heads, Tuach strode away from the delegation. His voice was hoarse and he was unable to look them in the eye when he reached Aran and the twins. “You are going to the Emperor Severus.”
“What?” Aran gaped at Gypta’s father. Any worry disappeared in the excitement of the moment. “That’s fabulous!” he whooped with glee though no-one else around joined in.
“Tyrnan!” Tuach ordered.