“I was so bored and wanted so badly to go with them. I knew that if I did, my father would not trust me anymore I would never be able to become a warrior.”
Chapter 1: What Happened?
“Get Out Of The Divide!”
The world turned dark.
“Ategnatos, are you there? Hello?”
I slowly opened my eyes and felt pain in my head. There stood my mother.
“You’re alive!” she said. “I can’t believe it.”
Then, I felt another wave of pain in my head. I managed a quick smile but felt one more wave of pain. This time, it caused me to clutch my head while almost screaming, it felt as if my head were ripping apart. I looked into my mother’s eyes and tried to open my mouth to speak but I couldn’t. I looked around the room for a wax tablet and pointed to it. My mom quickly got it along with a sliver of wood too. I carved as questions kept popping up:
Quid accidit? Cur malum caput meum? Úbi sum? Cur ego lecto? Ubi est Pater?
I was going to keep writing when my mother put her hand on my head and I slowly fell back to sleep.
When I woke up for the second time, my father –– who was chief of our village in Gaul –– and mother were at the foot of my bed. I looked at the tablet which I had written on before. It now contained several answers to my questions. I realized what had happened. It was the divide. I had been so stubborn that I had stepped in the divide. The village enemy had shot five arrows in my head creating a large hole. The piece of paper said that I was very lucky that the arrows did not reach my brain. I could not believe I had stepped into the place with the most bloodshed. The most war. It all happened in the divide. Everyone who died in war died proudly for their village in the divide. I tried to get out of bed but I was stopped firmly by the village doctor.
“Get rest,” he said. “You will need it if you want to make a full recovery.”
Now, I knew what had happened. I had wanted so badly to make my father proud, to make the village proud. I had gotten it in my head that the only possible way to do this was to fight in the divide and serve my village like all young warriors did. But my father had refused to let me go. He had said that I was too young and weak. He had said that he was not ready to lose me. I was born a delicate baby and even as I grew up, I could not keep up with other kids. I was so sad to see all my friends go off to war while I was stuck here doing chores, waiting for them to return every night. My father had said that my day would come and, now that I had proved myself to be so irresponsible as to go out in the divide and not tell anyone, I would probably never get to go out to war for as long as I lived.
Chapter 2: The Talk
Just as I was about to go back to bed, my best friend Veteporix walked in.
“Ategnatos, is that you? You’re alive! I can’t believe it.”
I wondered why everyone was so surprised to see me alive. I looked at the very bottom at the piece of paper. It said:
Fili , oportet loqui.
I had a bad feeling about this. If my dad wanted to talk with me, I was doomed. He would tell me that I was such a disappointment and everything about how I shouldn’t have done what I did. Under this at the very bottom of the page he wrote:
Cras autem dicemus. Utinam meliora sunt .
At least he was aware that I was hurt. Veteporix was looking at me as I realized he was still in the room. I looked at him and he said: “Are you ok?”
For the first time that day, I responded in a raspy voice. “I don’t know. All I can do is hope.”
I woke up early the next morning because I was thinking so much about my talk with my father. He’d said it would be this morning. I waited anxiously for my dad to come and, after what seemed like forever, he walked in with his most prized war general right behind him.
He said, “can you please wait outside, Caturix?” The general slowly stepped outside. My father turned to me. “Did you get my note, son?”
I managed a simple, “yes.”
He responded quickly. “Then what are we waiting for?”
I nodded my head in agreement when inside I was very nervous to find out what he would say.
“So, son, I have been thinking about your irresponsible behaviors, going into the divide without a generals’ or my permission. I have also been thinking about how you are the last kid your age who is not fighting for our village. I then thought that the reason you have never made me proud is because I have never given you the chance. I have decided to give you one. As soon as you are well, you will guard the gates to the village along with one other soldier. If you are successful, you will be promoted, if you disappoint me I can at least say that I gave you a shot at it. A chief’s son should be given a chance to be a great warrior, to serve his village. Here is yours.”
I could not believe my ears! After what I had done my father still decided to give me a chance. This is what I had wanted all along. My thoughts were interrupted by the voice of my dad.
“So? What do you say, son?
I responded with a quick “my pleasure dad,” as I did not want him to change his mind. “You won’t be sorry.”
Chapter 3: The Mysterious Legend
It has been 6 months since I was in the divide. I would start my new job today. I could not wait to prove myself to the village and make my father proud. I looked at my hourglass and rushed out of bed. I arrived at the gates of the village only to see the angry face of my dad.
“You are late!”
I can’t believe I had already gotten off to a bad start.
“I thought you would impress me,” he said. “I will leave you to this.”
He handed me a shield sword and a set of armour and went off to battle.
My first day was not as I expected. All I did was watch warriors from our village go in and out. I was so bored and wanted so badly to go with them. I knew that if I did, my father would not trust me anymore I would never be able to become a warrior.
On the walk home from my first day, I saw my dad who was calling me, “son! Over here!”
I walked over to where my dad was standing. He was right outside our druid’s hut.
“Come quickly, Cicero is unconscious and is saying strange things. I walked inside the hut and sure enough Cicero the druid was saying random words while lying on the floor. As I listened closely, I heard what he was saying: “It will come, the day will come. Run, save your lives. They will kill you all. Until there is nothing left.”
I looked at my dad with a worried face. “Is it true? Is the legend true?”
“Let’s not believe an old man who has almost gone crazy. And, really, do you think anything is more scary than the enemy village winning? And plus, we need to get him some medical care.
Despite what my father said, I was still very worried. What if the legend is true?
Chapter 4: Is it True?
I woke up even earlier than I had the day before to make sure that I wasn’t late. When I reached the gates of the village, I heard someone calling me.
I cocked my head toward the sound. It was Veteporix.
“Come here,” he shouted soon after.
I quickly ran toward him.
When I reached him, he looked around then whispered, “follow me.”
Confused, I followed him into the bushes. After a little while, we came upon the greatest thing I have ever seen: a 50-foot-tall tree with a ladder reaching all the way to the top. When we reached the top, there was a large room with an armour stand, a weapon rack, many slabs of stone, many carving tools, rolls of papyrus, wax tablets, bowls of ink, and an amazing view of the enemy base and the rest of the forest.
I looked at him in surprise. “Did you build this?”
He looked at me and nodded.”Do you like it?”
“Why wouldn’t I? This is so amazing!”
I started to explore some more when I realized that I should be guarding the gate. I ran down the steps and yelled out to Veteporix: “Meet you here at 7 p.m..”
I then rushed back to the village. Luckily, no one had noticed my absence. I walked in front of a gate as if nothing was wrong.
That evening, I snuck out to a village. Just as I was climbing in the bushes, I bumped into someone. Worried, I hid in the bushes. I slowly peeked out to see who it was. To my luck Veteporix’s face popped out of another bush. We got up and started walking.
“I was scared for a moment when I bumped into you,” I said to Veteporix.
“Me too,” he responded. “We have to make sure we’re not followed.”
When we reached the tree house, I lit a candle so we could see in the dark.
“I have something to tell you.” I said to Veteporix.
“What is it?” he responded.
“It is a legend. Yesterday I was walking home from the gates of the village and my father called me. Cicero was unconscious saying random things. When I listened closer I heard that he was talking about a legend. He said that someone would come and kill us all until nothing and nobody was left.
“Is it true?” he responded.
“That’s what I want to find out. But I need your help. Tomorrow get Cicero and bring him to the tree house. Around five a.m.. Hopefully then we will get anwers.
Chapter 5: The Bloody Battle
I rushed out of my hut careful not to wake my mom. Before I knew it, I was walking up the steps of the tree when I heard a voice.
“Ategnatos, come quickly!” it called.
I realized it was Veteporix calling me from the top of the tree house. I quickened my pace. When I got to the top, I saw Veteporix writing as if his hand was about to fall off while Cicero was blabbering about all sorts of things. All of a sudden Cicero stopped talking and turned to me.
“How are you Ategnatos?”
“I am good,” I responded. “What is going on?”
“Oh I was just answering Veteporix’s questions.”
I turned to Veteporix.
“Did you get any useful information?”
I turned back to Cicero when I heard a loud war horn.
This war horn was not at all like our war horn. It’s sound was fuller and made a different sound. Cicero was saying random things again, but this time, it had something to do with the legend:
“They are here. Run, save your lives.”
Just then I heard a loud bang and a crash.
I looked to where the sound was was coming from. There were huge rocks being hurled at our village. I looked closer to see where they were coming from. There was a wooden platform with a giant spoon on top. People who were not the enemy village were wearing full armour with with weapons. As I looked farther in the distance, I saw even more armed people. I looked around and realized that we were surrounded by at least 10,000 men who were attacking both us and the enemy village. I now knew the answer to the legend. It was true. Cicero was right. Unless we fled, these people would kill us all. They would conquer our village and take our homes. I looked at Cicero and Veteporix in a worried face.
“Follow me,” I said, “we must protect the village.”
I rushed to the village gates, only to find many bloody dead bodies of our villagers.
I turned around and found my father who was in a frenzy telling everyone to grab armour and a weapon.
He looked at me. “Son don’t just stand around, help.”
I quickly grabbed a set of armour and a sword. I looked at Veteporix and signaled for him to do the same. We stood in battle formation. Then my dad spoke: “We will fight as one. We’ll have no mercy! We shall die proud! Charge!”
“Charge!” everyone echoed.
The bloodiest battle our village has ever seen had just begun.
A tear dripped down my eye as I saw the dead bodies of people I had grown up with, shared memories with. They were gone, and I would be too if I showed any mercy.
I heard a loud scream come from the enemy village. I looked toward them and found them in the same situation as us. The perfect battle plan then struck me, it would not only save our village –– or at least what was left of it –– but it would also make these people never want to set foot in our territory, as they would be too scared. I ran to my dad.
“I have the perfect battle plan, let me tell you!”
“Son, it is too late. We can’t regroup without being attacked.”
I realized that convincing my dad was not going to work. I had to do this the hard way. I ran back to the village and went to the weapon hut. I found the war horn rack and picked the loudest, scariest horn. I dashed out of the hut when I bumped into my mom. She stroked her hand through my hair.
“Stay safe son,” she said in tears.
“Don’t worry, I will.”
As I was leaving the village gates, I realized it was only a matter of time before it was too late. I dashed through the bushes until I arrived at the tree house. As I arrived at the top, I quickly grabbed a wax tablet and began carving my battle plan. I got my war horn out and my perfect plan was in position. I cupped my hands over my mouth and blew the war horn as loud as I could. I looked at the battle field and realized all the attention had turned to me. This was the perfect time to execute my plan.
Using the materials in the treehouse, I created a shadow puppet. I hid behind one of the walls and lit a lamp. I shadowed the puppet over the lamp creating a large version of a tiger. I peaked out of the tiny hole in the wall of the treehouse. And as I expected, the enemies were beginning to back off. I kept moving the tiger in a way that made it seem like it was coming closer and closer. As soon as it was as close as it could be, I jumped down from the treehouse and ran towards the battlefield. While the enemy was still in terror, I ran toward my dad and told him, “Regroup everyone, including the enemy village.”
Soon enough, everyone was grouped together circling around me. I heard some protests from members of the enemy village.
They were saying, “Why should we listen to you? Why should you lead us?”
I responded by saying, “I may seem little and the least qualified person to lead you, but I have a plan that could save us all.” I pulled out my wax tablet and showed everyone my battle plan.
They all nodded in agreement.
I then said, “battle formation!” Surprisingly, everyone listened. People are desperate in times of hope.
“Charge!” I screamed. Just like that, we were driving off the enemy despite our odds being ten to one. If you are smart you can always overcome strength.
Chapter 6: United As One
As we were chasing off the enemy, I heard one of the enemy soldiers say something.
“Julius Caesar will be angry with us for our defeat. He will say that us Romans should be stronger after conquering Greece.”
I then realized who these people were. They were the so called Romans who had conquered almost all of Europe. One day, two years ago, I remember my dad getting a letter from a foreign Gaulish village saying that they were under attack by Romans. I reckon this won’t be the last time we see them.
As everyone headed back to their village, there was a lot of work to do. When I was in the weapon room, putting my things away, my dad walked over to me.
“Son,” he said. “That was some battle strategy out there. How would you like to be a general in war? Maybe you could come up with all our battle plans. I’m sorry I didn’t give you enough of a chance before. I should have trusted you.”
This is what I had wanted all along, to make my village and my father proud. And I had done so today. I turned to my dad.
“I accept the position,” I said.
My dad walked out to the center of the village and loudly blew the horn for a village meeting. Soon enough, everyone was in the center of town looking at my father. He then gave his speech:
“This is one of the bloodiest battles our village has ever fought and we would never had won if it weren’t for one fighter. I would like for us all to thank my son, Ategnatos. He served our village and made us all proud. I would also like to thank him for reuniting us and the former enemy village. I have organized a feast for all of us to celebrate.”
There was a roar of celebration. The next day, we would work on combining our villages to make one mega village. The next day, we would unite as one.