Thoughts of a Warrior
By A.J.

It is time to fight.

I stand here on this hill, and look down on a land that will soon be covered in blood. It's so hard to believe that the emerald carpet that sprawls before me will soon be littered with the empty shells that were once living, breathing, *thinking* beings. All I know will be gone, lost in the dirt and wind that will haunt this place long after my children's children have passed to the paradise above. And here I stand, knowing that in so short a time, nothing will be the same.

I feel the power around me. The Roar. It 'nigh crackles with the tension of a bow-string waiting to be released. Even the windsseem pensive, blowing in sharp gusts that hold no hint of the long, cooling summer breezes that sweep from on end of the Isle to the other. It is as if Mother Nature were trying to knock some sense into our daft minds. I wish there were a way we could listen.

We can't though. We knew this daywould come. We have prepared those who would listen andscreamed 'till we were hoarse at the ose who wouldn't. We've worked every day for the past three years to give this land the chance to learn to protect itself. We will now see if we have done our job well enough.

For, the eve before last, Ciarrn landed. He had beensent tokeep watch on the big island's shore. His duty was to sail quickyback the moment he detected a large, or even sizeable, influxof Roman troops. He says thereare at least a thousand landing on the southern shores.

Ciarrn heard from one of them that they might try and take "the small one to prove the to the Brit Isle they can."

What a reason to destroy so many lives,just to prove you can. One would think I would expect this folly from the Roman's, seeing as I "served" them. It 'tis strange. I still had hoped better from them. For a society that is so well reasoned and 'advanced,' one would think they would be less dumb.

Tully says my ideas are rooted in the hopeless faith I still harbor in the human nature. Fergus just smiles and turns his head. He still thinks I'm naught buta young upstart. It doesn't matter how I prove myself. I am the untutored child he's know for solong. That view will never change. I'm somewhat glad that there is some thing that won't.

It's so strange to think that tomorrow, they might not be here. I pray they do not fall, but it is apossibility. I cannot imagine that life. A life without Tully falling for a new and different maid, or bantering with Fergus. Nor could I picture an eve without Fergus sitting by the cook-fire, the children gathered by his feet as he spins a yarn so intracate and beautiful, even the grown stop to listen.

Nor can I imagine a day without Conor. He is my strength. No matter what has happened to him, the pain of losing his father so brutally, his love not farbehind, or the hell the spear put him through, he has always risen, and been better. He released me from my dead existance and gave me something I hadn't known I'd lost. He gave me color, and beauty, and trust. Through him, I *feel* again. To lose him now...

But those thoughts have no place in the here and now. Now I must concentrate on the horizon, and whatever it may bring. Be it Romans, or peace, I know naught, but for now, I pray it the latter.

So I stand here, holding my weapons at the ready, willing to die for a land I have but recently come to believe in. Ilook down, again, at the rolling grass and flowers below me, etching the picture in my mind, so that I will never forget.

It is time to fight.