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Vortigern: Part 1 ©

Gordon Fjaelberg
Bridgend, Wales
2006

That Which Is Done:

Achates, stay! Now shall you learn
What I would tell of Vortigern;
High Overlord of all Prydein
When 'Dux Brittanorum' proclaimed.
Defender of the Southern Shore,
Of Llogwyr's realms, of fen, of moor.
Small fault be his Seaxen came;
No fault then mine, to give him blame.
Easy it is, for men to scorn
And say: "I would do thus, if torn."
Easy it wasn't; from far shore
As quick we killed them, came there more.
Achates, stay! Now shall you learn
My burden-song to Vortigern.

Of lineage in high degree,
Accursed - and blessed! - as few can be.
In Legion, Vitalinus known;
As Gwyndol, in his Powys home.
To me, his spearman, as 'friend';
Was I not there, all but the end?
Nine hard years in Legio Six
Did he serve, once-mighty 'Victrix';
At Camulodunum he spent
His drill-time, lest campaigning went;
Rose, through birth, to Vexillarum
In short time, whence his Legatum
Declared that marriage be allowed,
To one he'd been long since a-vowed.
Wed was Gwyndol to Sevira,
Daughter of the Proud Usurper;
Full name - Sevira ferch Macsen,
Half-Rhufeinig, an-halve Prydein,
Best fitting one, Queen all but named
To land bequeath, or land hard claimed.
Quick was their union happy blessed,
Both sons and daughters, here the list:
First a son, Guothemiar,
In latter days called Vortimer;
Commander of his father's Fyrdd
And in good fullness - Overlord!
A daughter then, small Tygwyrtha,
Known as 'Favourite of Her Mother'.
A son next, strong-armed Cadigern,
Even at birth his power known;
Legend relays he killed a boar
One-handed, but that truth I swore
Blood vows to keep. The gods then sent
Last of the herit-line - Pacsent!
(Divine Pacsent, who long survived
The worst that Seaxen contrived;
King of Builth, father of Tweudor,
Erst-called - Tweudor Dynastor;
Grandfather he to Lord Fyrndail,
King of Cernow, Prince of all Wales.)
Sprang two more from my master's loin;
Rufous-haired, fiery Madrun!
More a-kin to sword than spindle,
Hearts would she break, passions kindle.
Last - Theodosa, swaddling-child;
Half-formed her body, not her smile.
Theodosa, laughter clear,
Lived a short, distress-worn year.
Another misbegot, 'twere said;
As Gaerwain called, by maid unwed.
Life gave no breath to Gaerwain's lungs,
Beyond Seaxen's lying tongues.
No fiend, my Lord, as lessers bark,
But one the Fates had given mark
Of greatness. Did he live before
This given time, not one word more
Should e'er be wrought upon his deeds,
For peace brings only normal needs;
Abnormal days brought forth my Lord
To plague the Rynd-Pest with his sword.
No blame on him they numbered more
Than grain of sand on landing-shore.
My word on that I featly troth;
If such be your regard - with oath!
Heed not false tales Seaxen churn
Acrow' my master, Vortigern.
No godling, though; mistakes he would
As mortals do, of mortal blood.
I lay him bare, present to you
A man, who gave the best he knew.
Achates, stay! Now shall you learn
That which I know of Vortigern.

Of My Lord's Ancestry:

The story of my Lord began
North of the Vallum Hydrien.
From Caledon, outwith the sun,
Was my Lord's great-grandfather come.
Betwixt the walls rode Gloui then,
From Antonyn to Hydrien.
Maundric'd the day were, land a-mist
When Fate and Gloui made their tryst.
The devil-froth unfurled; spied then
Were Gloui, an' six hundra men.
Rhufeinigs, knowing they had been
By such a train approached unseen,
Sounded the muster-drum. No hand
Encroached on sword of that small band.
"We seek no bellis here, and shun
Your enmity. We would conjoin!"
Called Gloui, as Vexillations
Hastened forth to battle stations.
Of what made those Northmen flee home,
Quit wife and childer, naught came known,
Yet scavelings none; Rhufeinigs saw
But honest men. Enrolled they were;
Binding-Pledge of Sacramentum
Sworn at south'ard Eboracum.
Serve they did, ('cept those that fell),
Full twenty years, and served good-well
As equietes legionis;
Gloui did gain renown, by this.
Here be my truth, though unwrit down,
Of Gloui. All else is unfound;
Great-grandfather, Gloui Gwallthir,
Legendary Gloui Long-Hair,
Salvator of Glevi Caestrum,
By Rhufeinig calling - Glevum!
'Gloui Long-Wall' some would say
For courage shown upon the day
Whereon Dumnonii tribes rebelled,
'Til Gloui's equietes quelled
Their insolence. He gave no spate;
What slaughter done, by North'ard Gate.
Full in the thick flashed Gloui's blade;
Full on the walls - Dumnonii dead!
By druetha were they ill-stirred,
By sword of Gloui's men - unspared!
That year, there blew a fire-star;
What mischief from the gods afar
Would come? Yet Gloui had impressed
The gods, and now they full endorsed
This bold achievement. His reward?
A triumph given, with parade!
There did the Tibor Governor
Of all Prydein grant and confer
To Gloui land, but more than this;
He granted Powys, in Cymris.
Quoth he: "I grant this boon of land
To mark your equiete's brave stand
At Glevum. Lost would it have been,
Its fortress broken, over-run;
But on the walls and North'ard Gate
Dumnonii paid for their mistake.
And mark this, men of Caledon:
There may you go, when all is done,
When you close with us your service.
Hail to Gloui! King of Powys!"

In Cymric Supra, in Caerhwain
As Foederat, did Gloui gain
Of Powys. Went with him along
To rule, four hundra Caledon;
Such equietes as did remain
Of Gloui's band; six hundra men!
Then Caerhwain, to Rhufeinig plan,
Did Gloui fortress, let expand.
He took unto himself a wife
Of Cymric stock, dark Brydwaeth.
Their issue numbered five withal;
One my Lord's grand-sire, Guitawl.
First-born he were, King he became,
To Powys brought far wide acclaim.
Gloui died, amassed with richness,
Master of his Cymric fastness;
By Gefiliau were Gloui laid,
First of his line, firm legend made.
Of Guitawl's life, but this is told;
He was, in Legion, due enrolled.
Joining, with good friend Farina,
Legio Fourteen: 'Gemina'.
Both swore, in Camulodunum,
Binding-Pledge of Sacramentum.
In 'Gemina', not one e'er saw
Full service; Farina from war,
And Guitawl, when King was he made
Of Powys, after Gloui's shade
Had flown. Made of his father's vein
Proved Guitawl; there in Caerhwain
He caused an oaken table round
So not a man could be sat down
As head of it. "None shall prevail",
King Guitawl ruled, "in Council Hall."
That table hewn from Hanging-Oak
Of Insula Mon, in blood en-soake;
No more than this have yet heard,
Save Guitawl was by all a-feared;
In 'proximate Segontium
Rhufeinigs hailed his acumen.
Married was Guitawl, King of Men,
To Cymric maid - Tygronweane
His bride. This marriage built of love;
Guitawl shunned fealty that gave
Of himself for less. Their first son
Gwortheru, but not their first born.
Taegryth that be; next fair Bonin,
Gwortheru third, of Vortigern
The father. Then daughter Taygret,
Last son Poylus, last born Maipnet.
A still-birthed son to grieve, Tegwynd;
No others have I heard, beyond.
King Guitawl did, whence came his day,
Adjunct to father Gloui lay.
Gwortheru then, Guitawl's first son,
Next King of Powys did become.
No fighting man, as gone before;
To business leaned more than to war
Was Gwortheru. Yet pirates swept
From Mer Hibernis, borders kept
Secure; all this did Gwortheru
Achieve. Aye, and more did he do,
The which I shall not here record
Barring what served to guide my Lord.

Three hundra years or more had gone
Since Claudius set foot upon
Llogwyr. Peace all but endured;
Pax Tiboris thus ensured
Prosperity within these shores
For those who kept Rhufeinig laws.
And so did Gwortheru proceed,
With all his ventures, to succeed
Of business. Thus it seemed, and sure,
Such days would flow forever more;
Three hundra years already done,
Three hundra more would follow on
As consequence. This would not be;
Of Man, naught lasts eternally,
Not even Tibor! Raiders came,
Towns and villas erased by flame.
North of Gaul did Frisia menace,
Led by proudful Radagaisus,
Herent-King of Heruklia
Who granted Tibor not one care.
Whole populations felt his wrath,
Whilst Alaric's wild Visigoths
Sacked Carthage. Alaric let burn
Full storages of grain and corn,
For Tibor bound. This could not go
Unmet. Flavius Stilicho
(Chief Tribune! Regent to the West!)
At Senatorial behest
Embarked upon Tibor's reply;
Commenced at North'ard boundary.
First, Uldrach and his Hunnish host
Who'd crossed the Danube, to the last
Lay slain. Two hundra thousand dead
Were counted, ere the Regent sped
On Alaric. Long months in vain
He sought his foe, then sealed Prydein's
Own fate. His army's strength o'erall
He bolstered by a part withdrawal;
Two Legions took from Hydrien,
Plus Llogwyr's central garrisons!
Thus twenty thousand troops, or more,
Marched South, to fight the mainland war
Of Stilicho. Nor was this done
Unseen by eyes of Caledon.
South'ard, too, they hastened cruel,
Viprous-burned their eyes, like fuel.
Sulwains, half-clad Allocotti,
Strathcluida and grim-faced Scotti,
Unmercied hordes beyond the sun
Who butchered all they fell upon;
Down came tribes, through Prydein Prima;
Smerctan! Tixaeli! Demetae!
Eight long years would there be, of this;
Foul conspirato barbaris!
Thus would men say: "But to the North
Shall troubles come, of any worth!"

Cut wood, friend! Stoke the fire bright,
For naught shall ail you through this night.
'Tis darkling, and the twilight sings
Not to us just, but on all things.
I tire now, pray grant me rest;
Full morrow's morn, more of this quest.
Achates, stay! Soon will I tell
Of things whose like I know too well.



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