Delighted to be in this. The first chapter of the story of Vortigern and Hengist's daughter which follows on from A Presentment of Englishry.
The second chapter is up at https://brazen-head.org/2021/02/28/britannia-in-peril-an-extract-from-an-epic-of-britain/
The story begins with the nameless narrator being sold. His new master gives him instructions:
Come! I promise, you will not be harmed.
Of course, he lied. Behind that door
was something worse than many kinds of death.
But the spears for emphasis,
so I followed him inside.
The door hanging fell and cut the light behind us.
A single room, walls heavy with dark tapestries,
bright embroidery flicking the firelight.
A single loom, a bed behind a curtain,
a tripod burning something fragrant.
A hag, slack-jowled and toothless
looked up from her spindle, unconcerned
and a woman, in profile by the central hearth
rose. I blinked. Words
acknowledging their limitations disappeared.
This is my daughter. You will teach her;
British, Latin, you were a Christian, you will
explain your god. The list had been rehearsed.
Though he spoke like a man treading a considered path,
scared as I was, his ambition seemed a little crazed.
You will sing her the songs of your people.
We sail for Britain in the spring.
If you live that long, I will take you with me.
Until then you will teach my daughter.
She will be a queen; my grandsons will be Kings.
Repeat what I just said.
I did but failed to reproduce his certainty.