It is now late summer in the 472nd year after the birth of our Lord and Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ. These are the words of Publicus Librarius, scribe to his most noble majesty King Mascuidius, ruler of the fair kingdom of Linnius and with these words I do provide a record of the Dark Days that heralded the coming of the Saex to our lands.
"It is now three cycles of the moon since the dreaded heathen Saex did despoil the fair Chapel of St Cadwyr and did cause grevious hurt to the noble Maximus Minimus. By God's grace, the Decurio has used the fair weather of our summer to bring himself to full fitness and is once again in the service of the Tribune Lord Andrucius.
At this time, the noble Tribune had tasked Maximus with garrisoning the watchtower on the Northern border of our fair land. This the Decurio had accomplished without incident, maintaining patrols of milites into the borderlands by the great river while continuing to train the militia.
On this particular day, the Tribune was paying visit to the Decurio to gain reports of the movements of the Saex, for more raids were expected into our kingdom at this time. Indeed this visit was well-timed, for in co-incided with the return of Decurio Geraint's patrol, an event that would normally be celebrated, but not this day!!
Coming hard from the West, a force of bestial Saex did set upon the forces of our kingdom, attempting to waylay the patrol as it returned to the tower. Summoning the levy and his Comitatus, the noble Tribune Andrucius did marshal the force for battle, hoping to draw the enemy away from the outnumbered patrol. In this he was at first successful. He did launch an instant attack on the brutes closest to the tower, recognising among their ranks by dint of the foul stench and raucous barbarian battle-song the same drunken oaf who had hitherto sacked the fair chapel of St Cadwyr.
The tribune's attack was pressed hard against heavy odds, but caused enough damage to the barbarians to allow the diminutive noble, Maximus Minimus, to fully atone for his disgraceful defeat at the chapel. In a furious flurry of spears, the militia took the revenge on the Saex, sending many to their heathen gods and the rest withdrawing from the fight. This noble action by the Decurio has been recognised by his majesty the king and the young man's name is now much reverred in the kingdom.
At this point, the nobel Tribune and the Decurio consolidated their defence, being unable to reach their fellows under Geraint, who found themselves beset by the Saex Lord's hearthguard. Despite valiantly trying to rally his shocked warriors in the ambush, the Decurio could not bring them to close with the Saex and the barbarians' subsequent assault destroyed our noble band. The last seen of the Decurio Geraint was his ignominious flight into the woodland, pursued by the enemy. A search of the ground later revealed no sign of a body.
This calamity has caused much distress in the kingdom. His majesty King Mascuidius has decreed seven days of mourning for the brave warrior who is now presumed lost to us. Oh, darkest of days!"
Postscript to Chapter 3: It is now early autumn on the 472nd year since the birth of our Lord and Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ.
"Word has reached his majesty King Mascuidius that the noble Decurio Geraint lives! Praise be to God!
Dispatches from the Tribune Andrucius at the border tower indicate that a few short weeks after the skirmish, the Saex Lord did appear from the trees at daybreak. He sought parley with the Tribune and did negotiate with him the release of the Decurio Geraint who had been taken captive in the woodland after the flight of his warriors during the skirmish. The Saex Lord did request gold for the return of the noble decurio, whom the Lord Andrucius noted had been surprisingly well treated during his time in captivity.
The Lord Andrucius did also note that the Saex Lord seemed somewhat more than an uncouth barbarian during the negotiations. His champion did speak Latin with less trace of an accent than one would expect and it has been noted that, in translating the words of his Lord, he did assure Lord Andrucius of the courage of the noble decurio both during the latter stages of the skirmish and during the period of his captivity. Naturally, this has been dismissed as flights of fancy by our noble king, who remains fully convinced that the enemy are nought but uncouth barbarian scum.
Nonetheless, the Tribune seems to have gained a new-found measure of respect for the enemy Lord, a view echoed by the decurio Geraint. The decurio has some knowledge of the Saex tongue and has informed his Lord that the Saex need gold to pay taxes unto the Warlord Wulfhere, in whose lands they now reside. This information has caused the Tribune some concern, for in doth indicate to him that these Saex are mayhap intent on more than mere plunder and occasional blood-sport. No, the Tribune fears that they may be intent on conquest and that their frequent raids are but a precursor to a concerted attempt to take our kingdom from us. In this, I fear, he may be right. However, we take heart from this: The decurio Geraint doth inform us that the Saex were sore hurt by the fight at the tower. For this reason, we must assume that we have been fortunate. For while we rebuild our own strength after the fight, we have suffered but one farm burned by the heathen and that in the last two days.
Soon, the season will turn. Already, the hours of darkness lengthen and the chill of the winter doth threaten our land. This year's campaigning season is therefore over. We expect no further trouble from the Saex until next spring. By then we will have rebuilt our forces and will be ready once again to face them."