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CIAN OF THE CHARIOTS

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Victoria Liss
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« on: December 20, 2009, 02:01:27 am »

CIAN OF THE CHARIOTS
by
WILLIAM H. BABCOCK


"His Right Wheel Struck and Shattered."


    CIAN OF THE CHARIOTS: A ROMANCE OF THE DAYS OF ARTHUR EMPEROR OF BRITAIN AND HIS KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE HOW THEY DELIVERED LONDON AND OVERTHREW THE SAXONS AFTER THE DOWNFALL OF ROMAN BRITAIN [Note to the text]

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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2009, 02:01:45 am »

Page 3

PREFACE.

THE most romantic period of English history is surely that chronicled by Geoffrey of Monmouth, sung by Alfred Tennyson, put into modern story by Sidney Lanier, and told in pictures by Abbey--the days of the knightly and royal Arthur of Britain.
   To ascertain, as nearly as may be, the real truth of that time, and embody a typical part of it in the guise of modern fiction, has been the labor of years, that has finally found expression by the writer in this romance of love and valor--the story of Prince Cian of the mistletoe crest, Cian of the Chariots.
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2009, 02:02:02 am »

That it may make more real the deeds of that remote and misty time when the last wave of Roman occupation was receding from Britain, when, between Rome and barbarism, between Christianity and heathendom, stood only the conquering sword of that splendid knight of the Round Table and the Holy Grail, Arthur the Emperor, is the hope of the author, who here presents the old tale in modern dress for modern readers.
   It was a stirring and pivotal time. In The Two

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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2009, 02:02:22 am »

 Lost Centuries of Britain we read: "The true story of the Arthurian campaigns would seem to be this. At the same time with the grand assault of Cerdic at Netley, or in the confusion following the death of Ambrose, the northern Saxons came crowding down. Arthur, issuing from Caer Lerion (formerly Ratae, now Leicester), met their army as it crossed the valley of the Glem; drove it back to the mouth of that stream, and there inflicted on the shore of the Wash a defeat whereby men chiefly remembered the campaign. The Saxons may have taken to their boats and escaped him by sea. One result of his victory was the relief of Caer-lud-coit (Lindom, Lincoln), which had long been standing isolated beyond the true border. No doubt the uplands of Lincolnshire were regained.
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2009, 02:02:40 am »

"At the west the border-line had been carried back to the Mersey. Chester was in danger. The young general went to its relief; took the offensive; pressed the Saxons northward to the Duglas, and struck them a severe blow near Wigan. Perhaps for the time he drove them from the little valley.
   "But they returned in greater force the next season, and the next, and the next. The bone of contention was there, in spite of indecisive victory, until at last he was able to drive them bodily north as far as Westmoreland. A final success on the Pesa made a complete clearance of all that region.

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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2009, 02:02:44 am »

"At the west the border-line had been carried back to the Mersey. Chester was in danger. The young general went to its relief; took the offensive; pressed the Saxons northward to the Duglas, and struck them a severe blow near Wigan. Perhaps for the time he drove them from the little valley.
   "But they returned in greater force the next season, and the next, and the next. The bone of contention was there, in spite of indecisive victory, until at last he was able to drive them bodily north as far as Westmoreland. A final success on the Pesa made a complete clearance of all that region.

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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2009, 02:03:45 am »


   "But the Deirans of York were unbroken as yet, although beaten back along both lines of approach. They invented a third, by way of surprise, and fell into a trap, whence, by all accounts, none issued alive and free. Hardly any event made a deeper impress on the minds of that generation than this total overthrow in the haunted wood of Celidon.
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2009, 02:04:14 am »

"Now the scene moves to the southward. At this time Arthur may first have been formally invested with the supreme command throughout Britain. As Guledig, or Imperator, what a claim London must have had upon him; the most renowned of all his cities, though fallen into decay; the most recalcitrant, and thus in need of conciliation; the most endangered, so requiring aid. He found her with the enemy before the walls, the irrational hope of superstition in her heart."
   Our story opens after the battle of the Pesa or Bassa, and while both sides were gathering their forces, and beginning to move toward that still more decisive encounter in the wood of Celidon. Arthur, already Emperor, has sent Cian and Llywarch as envoys to summon the aid of the semi-independent city.
   All else that is needful will reveal itself as the story goes on.
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2009, 02:04:27 am »

                                                                                                                           WILLIAM H. BABCOCK.
       ROCK HAVEN, NEAR GEORGETOWN,
                             March 12, 1898.


Page 7

CONTENTS


CHAPTER

I. CIAN TO THE RESCUE   9
II. WITH THE GUARD OF THE GATE    23
III. THE FIGHT BEFORE THE SHRINE    35
IV. THE RETURN TO THE VILLA    45
V. A DIP INTO OLD ROME    52
VI. THE HOME OF AURELIA    57
VII. FEAST AND SONG    72
VIII. LONDON AND LONDON'S COUNCIL    78
IX. THE EMPEROR AND THE QUEEN    98
X. A VISIT TO THE SWORD OF FIRE   104
XI. THE PERPLEXITY OF ARTHUR AND THE MISSION OF OISIN    120
XII. ARTHUR WITH LANCELOT AND GUINEVERE    125
XIII. FOREBODING AND DANGER    133
XIV. THE CONFLICT AT THE LAKE VILLAGE    140
XV. LONDON BEFORE THE STORM   150
XVI. AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DEAD    162
XVII. THE FIRST SERVICE OF THE CHARIOTS    172
XVIII. THE MIRTHFULNESS OF GUINEVERE     181
XIX.. ARTHUR AT LEGIOLUM    190
XX. IN THE VALES OF ARGOED    195
XXI. A RIDE THROUGH THE SAXON-WASTED LAND    202
XXII. AMONG THE CAVE-DWELLERS OF THE SCAUR    208

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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2009, 02:04:45 am »

XXIII. THE RIDE TO ISURIUM AND A WILDER RIDE HOME-WARD     224
XXIV. FROM LOIDIS TO LEGIOLUM    241
XXV. ARTHUR IN COUNCIL    248
XXVI. IN THE FOREST OF CELIDON    255
XXVII. A PASSAGE AT ARMS BETWEEN LANCELOT AND VORTIMER    260
XXVIII. THE NIGHT BATTLE OF THE GREAT WOOD    271
XXIX. THE BLOWING OF THE ELFIN HORN    279
XXX. THE DEATH OF AN ARMY    286
XXXI. THE TOKEN OF OISIN AND THE MARCH TO LONDON    292
XXXII. BROUGHT TO THE LIGHT    299
XXXIII. HOW ARTHUR AND CIAN RAISED THE SIEGE    309
XXXIV. THE MYSTERIES OF MONA    330
XXXV. HOW ARTHUR DEALT WITH THE HEATHEN    338
XXXVI.. THE FIERY TRIAL OF CIAN    345
XXXVII. AURELIA AT CAMELOT    352
XXXVIII. HOW SANAWG WAS THE SUMMONER OF CIAN    357
XXXIX. THE LONG BATTLE OF CAMELOT    362
XL. HOW CIAN SAVED ARTHUR FROM CERDIC    377
XLI. ALL WELL ENDED    390

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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2009, 02:05:06 am »

CIAN OF THE CHARIOTS.
CHAPTER I.

CIAN TO THE RESCUE.

Thou Guider of the chariot of Arthur.
                                --GILDER.


RED through the fringe of the river of mist, it shone to the eye of Cian, Arthur's fighting man, Briton of Britons, prince and poet of the north. The sunset was on him. He had halted a little over the round of the hill, where the ancient Ermine way came southward out of the woods.
   He marvelled at the unwholesome ruddiness in that dying light, the parti-colored streaking of distemper, the ruinous upjutting of wall and house-top bathed in the dimming vapor. Only in one spot a white tower, delicately strong, lifted itself high above the reek. He knew it for the work of a people whom he did not love, a race that had but lately melted from the land, with its magic of beauty and of power. And still the vapor shroud flowed on above the liv-

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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2009, 02:05:35 am »

 ing stream, and the town enfeebled and hidden, until it spread over the eastern marshes like an inland sea.
   The soul of London seemed melting by him, and away. He called to mind the young strength and glory of Camelot, the ripe splendor of far Caerleon. Words of forecast came to him, as they came full often and strangely. He said aloud, "A city in its winding-sheet; a dying city."
   A strong figure was that of Cian Gwenclan; every way memorable. Cian of the chariots, men oftenest called him; Cian of the golden mail, from the flexile body-garment,--a filmy corselet hiding the good bronze or steel,--which burned even now in the low sunbeams. Over the heart a single spray of mistletoe was wrought in silver. It had a magical look and name. This repute often befriended him.
   His chariot stood near,--for almost alone among northern princes he fought and journeyed in the light rushing war-vehicle of elder Britain,--the brown horse turning from the light, the carven boar's head grinning on the front of it, the helmet and weapons glowing within where he had flung them down.
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2009, 02:05:50 am »

His eyes were deep, dark, and bright in that western glow, his face dark and vivid also,--a warrior-minstrel face of action and many musings. The hair fell to his shoulders in masses, fine, glossy black, gently waving. He wore the long mustache also of his time. He had the bearing and stature befitting

Page 11

an equestrian of Arthur's court, a veteran of rough campaigns.
   There came a patter of hoofs behind; and Llywarch of Argoed, in the saddle, drew up at his side. Llywarch had the fuller outline, a trifle the lesser height. His raised visor showed a younger-looking countenance, winning and flushed. The heart shone out of it. There were mischief and waywardness in the hazel eyes, but also uprightness and clear wisdom at need. Like his friend Cian and many others of their rank, in that romantic day, he touched the harp-strings, and put words of melody to them; although not yet had suffering and loss wrung from him that enduring poetry which later ages associate with his name.
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2009, 02:06:06 am »

"Not the cheerfullest of places," quoth he, with a glance at the city. "Yet after all it is no more than water in the air. And you--hatching prophecy and destruction, I warrant? You look it."
   Cian regained his seat, and replied: "I have been waiting for a man who has time to follow stray footmarks in the woods, when the emperor sends him."
   Llywarch grew sober. "It was an archer who made that footprint," said he, "a lively fellow who can hit his mark from a swaying bough. See here," and he put his finger to an arrow-dent in his casque. "By the time I was right in the saddle again my grinning marksman was gone. I followed as far as

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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2009, 02:06:23 am »

 a brookside, but that was all of him. I began to fear that he would let fly at me out of the water."
   "A Saxon?"
   "Not a doubt of that."
   "So near the great city? When the stag weakens, the wolves gather. Listen."
   They looked at each other, as the cry of a wolf indeed came lugubriously from the depth of the wood. As they rode on, it opened again, with purpose in it; then another and another, a succession of racing voices.
   They were descending a tongue of the highlands which tapered very gradually into the marsh by the northern wall. On their left a depression deepened and widened into a ravine, where mist-films were drifting, and water murmured. Beyond it, farther down, they could discern the outline of some large low building. Lights were coming out in it. Beyond, masses which might be villa ruins half showed themselves. But everything grew momently thicker to the sight, and, indeed, could scarcely be seen with certainty at all, unless it stood on high ground in the very eye of the west.
   They had neither met nor passed any wayfarer. The road was all their own. No sound came to them but of the wolves, the low-complaining runnel, and the uneasy soul of London, murmuring. It was a region where great wealth had been and should be

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