Arthur shivered, drew his crimson cloak over his shoulder and looked once more over the Plains of Avalon. Although it was mid-morning the sun was still unable to break through the wet, damp, pestilential mist. He knew that less than a league away the Viking warband would be making ready for their final assault. If his small band of warriors, brave and skilled fighting men, though they were, were unable to beat them back, all of Wessex would be lost. The pagan hordes had subdued the whole country to the North of the Avon and only he and his followers could prevent the subjugation of the whole land under the barbarian yoke. He had dispatched a small group of men during the night to find how near the enemy had advanced but they had not returned and he feared they may have been taken or lost in the seething bog that was their strongest defence against attack. Not even he could find the safe pathways in this murk. A familiar voice called from behind and he turned to see his kinsman Aethelfled.
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