Now contains Part 2 (the original Book 2:) The King of Battles.
Set in the Dark Ages of Post-Roman Britain, The Silurian is the story of King Arthur told in a compelling new voice. A first person narrative, spoken in grim and graphic detail by Arthur's closest friend and foster-brother, Prince Bedwyr, the Fox. A boy of sixteen, taken to his first great conflict, Bedwyr begins his story on the battlefield where Arthur lies missing after having won his first engagement to war against the invading Saxons, Hengist and Horsa. This is the Fifth Century AD, a time of fierce honesty, as Bedwyr's own words speak it, the words of a young warrior who lives his life in the blood, guts, turmoil and love of an age that was both brutal and brilliant.
Crows gathered in great flocks overhead as we searched the battlefield through the dead and dying. Some of the birds landed on bodies and I slashed my sword at them, trying to send them back from where they came. I watched them scream up again into the sky before I turned to look for my brothers.
All around me men were dying, their voices dying, already dead men, telling the crows they were ready to leave their bodies for the Otherworld. And as I waited for Cai and Medraut to reach me, as I watched them stepping over these dying men, I shook, and trembled. I was afraid, my heart wouldn’t stop thrashing, and I thought I was crying. This was a terrible battle, our first as new warriors to the field, and I had never seen anything like it before. The horror of it, and I stood waiting in terror—for Arthur was missing.
He was out there somewhere amongst the bodies, and so far, we had not been able to find him. And so I stood where I was, shaking, frozen in fear. I could not go on if Arthur was dead, if he had been killed in this terrible clash of arms, where the dead smelled like blood and not men. I swallowed hard and began walking my way towards Medraut and Cai. When I reached them, me and Medraut fell on each other and held on tight.
I sobbed at him, “Where is he? Please don’t say he’s dead. I’m begging the Goddess of War! Medraut, please say he’s not dead.”
“I know, Fox, I know, we will find him.”
“Not dead!” I cried at him.
“Na, not dead, not Arthur. He’s too young, too clever; this was his battle, he won it, how can he be dead, he won it, Bedwyr! Look at me; this is his doing.”
We fell on each other again, trying to still our torment.
Cai joined us.
He said, “Aye, Arthur’s doing and he will have to pay for it.”
We looked around us, everywhere, bodies of the dead and the screaming of those still alive.
Medraut said, “We should put some of these men out of their suffering. I will do it,” and he walked off to put his spear through the chest of a Saxon under his feet. And as he did, he turned back to us and cried, “You know, I saw him earlier, somewhere over that way, he lost his horse too. Fox, come with me.”
Again, the three of us began searching for Arthur. We would not give up till we found him, and as we walked over the dead, with Medraut killing more wounded Saxons on the way, with the sky turning black above us and the bloody crows screeching, I thought I was dying.
I walked like a dead man, for if this was battle, then it had broken my mind, my heart, my reason, and my love. Arthur.
I began to lose my temper. It was naught but fear and horror inside me, and I wanted no part of it. For I trod on the severed arm of a man lying under me, and I almost spewed up my guts to see it. I cried out in horror, a wail to the crows, and Medraut held me up as the sky darkened even more. Black rain-clouds above—it was turning to winter already! And I felt tears of fear fall down my face. I still held my sword, gripped so hard it chafed the palm of my hand. So many dead, I could smell them, the dead. And the carrion crows of the Dark Goddess, Morgen, she sent clouds of ravens, wheeling and cawing over our heads, making my skin crawl, their wings black like the sky.
I sank to the ground in despair.
A day of destruction and despair was this battle.
The sun was going down and the bitter wind snapped at my cloak. If Arthur was dead, then this day would also be my last in this dark world. For I would impale myself on my own sword and follow him, I would. There was no doubt in me that I would, for I would not let him go alone across the divide, alone to Avalon. I would go with him. He would wait for me on the shore, and we would cross the water together. For we were brothers, bound together forever; my foster-brother, my life. A sour taste from inside came up into my mouth and gagged me. I spat on the ground and came back to my feet.
Other books in the series are available for purchase only.