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Author Topic: Walking with Saxons - The End!  (Read 6715 times)


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Walking with Saxons - The End!
« on: October 19, 2015, 02:57:38 PM »
[ Continued from the just-plain 'Walking with Saxons' thread... ]

   Bullying himself out of his slow-motion daze Bowerthane made his hands grab Eanflaed’s assailant.  Yet he was burly and hardly noticed.  A spatter of .46 rounds at close range knocked Blackdragon’s assailant staggering, taken down by Rocket, caught in a disbelief that lasted longer than his life.  Yet any hope that automatic weapons would jolt the Norsemen was dashed sooner: they just didn’t know what firearms were.  Swaying in a messy scuffle Bowerthane cursed himself for not having a better idea, then felt his innards dissolve at the hiss of drawn swords.
   “Take ’em down!” rapped Rocket, high kicking the nearest spearman and parrying a sword thrust with her sweet old flintlock pistol.  Babydoll and Blondie closed ranks on Professor Ball.  Yet robbed of its commander the rescue bid was teetering on the brink of collapse.
   More use was the Norsemen’s ignorance of who they ought to fear and Eanflaed’s forefinger.  One shoved past Babydoll to attack Blackdragon, but as he raised his sword he lost a lung to hers and flew sprawling as she kicked him off it.  Another thought he had time to laugh at Bowerthane, thinking he was trying to hide behind Eanflaed, only to lurch back with black holes stitched across his mail-shirt when Blondie opened up with her Daewoo K3.  The back of another’s head burst like a melon, leaving a gory splat on the wall behind him and Babydoll seeking another point-blank target for her Colt .45.  Sweet Pea got back on her feet just in time for yet another Norseman to nose in, all innocent curiosity, thinking the big flap was somewhere else.  He took the sword-stroke meant for her, but before his killer could curse Sweet Pea’s mid-chop left him waist-deep in a wattle-and-daub wall where a short, sharp burst from her Heckler & Koch shook him to death.  By now Amber was back on her feet too, the air was juddering with the report of the girls’ automatic fire and the up-close ripping of machine weapons was at least putting the survivors off their stroke.  At last some Norsemen began to back off, bewildered ones clutched their shields and another sank to his knees when Babydoll’s bushido blade burst out of his midriff, gurgling his last.  When a third slumped to his knees with Amber’s bullets in his chest the last few simply fled, yelping their bewilderment, leaving the ġesíþas’ hearts pounding and the dry taste of fear under their tongues. 
   It was like discovering bliss to hear nothing but their own panting and their own blood pumping in their ears, still...
   As for Eanflaed, when it came to it she’d found it was her assailant’s bad breath that nearly knocked her down at close quarters.  Yet as her eyes watered, it reminded her of some hint Bowerthane dropped about going for the eyes or the groin, a tip he’d picked up from his spell as a Victim Support volunteer.  The first the Norseman knew about it was when her forefinger stabbed deep into his eyeball and left him howling and floundering like a spitted boar.
   “Nice,” Amber congratulated her, popping up at her side and battering him against the wall with the last few rounds of her Glock.
   “Are we making a soldier out of you?” asked Sweet Pea, tugging Eanflaed’s shoulders against her with sisterly solicitude.  “Shallow breaths but swallow, huh?” she confided.  “Casualties?” she called to the others.  Blackdragon was pawing at his stomach where that Norseman’s spearhead was going.   
   “What did I just do?” he asked himself, voice wan with disbelief.  Culfer took his hand and squeezed it, whispering something in his ear.  Bowerthane checked on Professor Ball, who had saved his life too.  In grimaces, knowing glances and rueful sighs the ġesíþas held the wordless conversation of people who, quite possibly, would spend the rest of their lives coming to terms with how close that was.
   “This place kind of gets you like that,” observed Professor Ball.
   “You’re telling me,” said Eanflaed, massaging her throat.  “I thought power cuts put ‘the good old days’ in perspective.”
   “Otherwise I think we’re all ri-” began Bowerthane but, “sh*t that hurt!” he ouched when Rocket slapped in a fresh magazine.  Her old one had hit the back of his hand and was hot.  At first he, then everybody, creased up in hysterical mirth at the absurdity of it.  It wasn’t really that funny but Sweet Pea laughed with them, knowing there was nothing like self-conscious irony for getting suppressed panic and hysterical disbelief out of your system. 
   “They’ll get James Murray to play you in the film version,” Eanflaed told Blackdragon.
   “I should be holding her hand!” he replied, nodding to Rocket.
   “They’ll get Sigourney Weaver to play you, Eanflaed,” suggested Culfer.
   “Her?  Do I look like I’m going back for the cat?” 
   “Please Miss, may I throw up?” sang Bowerthane, jumping up and down with his hand up.  Yet for once the old card wasn’t being entirely facetious.
   “OK, OK, back the way we came,” Sweet Pea said at last.  “Retrace our steps and don’t stop for anything.”
   “Yeah, let’s go home,” said Blackdragon to general agreement.
   “Count me in,” said Culfer.  “I’ve got a rat to feed.”
   “Mhh,” agreed Eanflaed.  “I said to myself, I can’t die, I’ve just had my kitchen done!” 
   Riding the new mood, Blackdragon and Bowerthane got Professor Ball cradled between them once more, the action girls fell back into marching order and, turning their backs on a blazing longhall now collapsing in a bloom of smoke, the rescue party made off. 

   It felt like no time at all that they were well on the way to their own time, with nothing worse to stop them than the glowing coal of the rising sun in their eyes.  Never a pig-sty did hearts more good than the one under the beech tree as the tearaway time-trippers sped by, wheeling left for the last lap.  Yet Lady Wyrd had her secrets.  They turned the last corner only to wonder whether they had.  The Anomaly was twinkling all right and sprinkling light before it like a Christmas tree, but wasn’t it too far away?
   “Where’s it going?” demanded Eanflaed, her voice suddenly shrill.
   “It’s not going anywhere,” said Blackdragon.  “It’s shrinking.  The Anomaly is closing!”
   “Go!” bawled Sweet Pea.  “GO! GO! GO!”   
   Only the speed of their feet could save them now...

WILL we all be marooned in Northumbria, AD 866?

WILL David get a chiming wristwatch to
remember us by?

WILL Cerdic the Rat starve?

WILL your mothers have my guts for garters if I keep you up past your
lights-out making up more of this nonsense?

WILL Playtex offer Lord Sewel an advertising contract?

WILL this affect the Euro?

WILL the ...  oh all right Eanflaed, I’ll go and grow up.


The moral right of the author to identify his readers not knowing whether to
laugh or cry has been asserted.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 01:26:22 PM by Bowerthane »


  • Guest
Re: Walking with Saxons - The End!
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2015, 03:04:37 PM »
Nor are my readers the only ones not knowing whether to laugh or cry.  I'm using the library computer today and - guess what? - it's gone and blocked the story's last section on the grounds that I am ( wait for it) uploading violent content.  I've just told the lady here how this is too stupid for words, and what I think of it, but seemingly there's no quick way round it besides this.

So: despite the best PC-censorship efforts of Peterborough City Council and the wonders of technology, please enjoy my bit of nonsense... right to the bitter end!

( Withdraws muttering...)


  • Guest
Re: Walking with Saxons - The End!
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2015, 09:31:26 PM »
Noooooooooo, I must know how it ends! Curse you Peterborough City Council! Cerdic the rat is waiting for his dinner!! Cedric indeed....  :P

Oh Lord it took me three hours to read that...


  • Ealdormann
  • *****
  • Posts: 740
Re: Walking with Saxons - The End!
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2015, 11:30:40 PM »
It must have taken me that long to read it too! Come on Bowerthane, borrow someone's computer - I want to know how it ends and, even more importantly, how the hell did you know I've just had my kitchen done???


  • Guest
Re: Walking with Saxons - The End!
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2015, 02:25:55 PM »
I must know how it ends!

I want to know how it ends

Oo-er, I am humbled by your enthusiasm.  Yet not half as abashed as I am to have to say ‘That’s All Folks!’

Alas I have failed to make myself clear.  Monday 19th was when I uploaded all but the last section, up at the top here, on the just-plain ‘Walking with Saxons’ thread.  This bit here, the ending, was what the library machine/ municipal censorship then blocked for “violent content” and wouldn’t let me back into that thread, even.  The only thing I could think of was to open this, a new thread just for the ending ( which the library machine/ Peterborough City Council did not stop me doing, so if I were an Islamic terrorist you’d still be reading my asylum-or-death threats, anyway). 

On Tuesday 20th the library machine/ prawnheaded pricks of small-time PC censorship let me back into the original ‘Walking with Saxons’ thread after all which is where I’ve since posted an identical version of the above end of the story, after all.  So if our moderators think it best they could delete this thread and everybody can forget about it.

( My home link is down at the moment, until my brother or cousin dig me out the poo.  Yet usually that isn’t a problem as I use the free hour at Peterborough Central Library for all my online work, mainly fact-checking, because it stops me running up bills and there’s no kettle, fridge or sound system to lead me into temptation, or nuisance calls.  There’s even the incentive of getting my head down and getting done within the hour, so I can use the five or ten minutes left over to, for instance, catch up on discussion forums like this).

Yet I shall amend ‘Cedric’ to ‘Cerdic’ on both versions, Culfer.  My fault for trying to wing it.  In some quarters I have a bit of a reputation for writing literary masterpieces that keep getting researched ( or at least longer) instead of getting finished.  So I bullied myself with an Oh-for-heaven’s-sake-you’re-just-trying-to-make-people-laugh-so-get-on-with-it line and hey, presto!  Four typos, two misalignments, two missing en-spaces, one factual error, a missing ‘a’, the uploading-thingie didn’t clock some of my capitalisation and I misread ‘Cedric’ for ‘Cerdic’!

So alas, the only ending is the one you can all imagine for yourselves.  I beg you to believe you have already read a minor miracle in that, outside work, this is the only bit of copywriting I’ve actually got finished since 1996! ( Well, unless you count Súcendes Fyst-dynt, but Wiþowinde turned that down on the perhaps surprising grounds that too few readers were sufficiently familiar with the film Sucker Punch.  More surprising to me than the slender support in the historical sources for an English victory at Hastings in 1066, spearheaded by an all-girl commando team dressed like a fourteen-year-old’s wet dream falling out of the sky, I mean.  When I emailed that off to David I half expected him to give my leg a pull back for the sheer chutzpah.  Then it dropped, stillborn into oblivion on this very discussion forum.  Oh, if only I understood hints... )

Oh, Eanflaed: I had no idea you really had your kitchen done! ( Now why does that make me feel such a smarty-pants? ;D )

But I’m glad you enjoyed my bit of nonsense, and that my love of daffy humour didn’t leave anyone feeling mocked or maligned.  Or do I have some explaining to do to Blackdragon’s wife/ girlfriend?   

PS: This little time-travel yarn got by without a title until, coming home that Monday, one popped into my head.  What about: Can We Have Our Ball Back? anyone? 

« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 01:27:11 PM by Bowerthane »


  • Guest
Re: Walking with Saxons - The End!
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2015, 01:12:03 AM »
Haha can we have our ball back. :P