The Sagas are here.
The Coming of the Saes
Written by Kevin Murphy
Edited by Erik Nelson and Seth Blaustein
Introduction to the Sagas of Saesland:
What are presented here are excerpts from Sagas of a fictional people called the Saes. They are intended to give substance and depth to the people from the island nation of Saesland and enrich the experience of the film. Here you will find some tidbits of history as to the founding of the country and the naming of its people. The Sagas also reveal a bit of the development, character, and strength of Saes warriors and a brief glimpse into Saesland's political make up. Pay close attention, as there are many details of this symbolically rich film that can be better understood with a foundational knowledge about this culture...
Warning: The characters and events you are about to read within these stories, although including actual historical personages and based on some real historical settings and events, are themselves creations of fiction.
"...if they remain masters of the battlefield, there remains no enemy..."
Upon the field of the slain there was no sound. No more the shouts and the bellows of warriors. No more the deafening din of battle, of the battering of rounded shields, the splintering of ashen spears. No more the cunning axe play or the deadly singing of the swords' song. Yet the smell of smoke and blood still clung to the trees. No more the sound of conical helmed mail-clad warriors clashing and striking with mighty blows battering and rending the enemy within the bloodied tempest and mad chaos of the melee. The careening of the hosts together had begun with the blood red dawn, the last sword stroke ended at the murky, cloud darkened twilight; the stench of blood and gore mixed with the acrid smell of smoke had hung heavy and oppressive over the field.
The invaders did number twenty thousand men and assaulted the Isle of the Mighty at a time when her people were suffering after a great sickness descended over the lands of the Brython in the South and the Tribes of the North. The wise King Brennus of the Iceni did appeal to his kin in the Northlands beyond the North Sea and was sent an army by the King of Norway to ally and assist the King in his struggle with the barbarian horde. Fighting men of the Tribe Morchoe came with their king, cousin to Brennus, from Eire from the East and together these warriors would stand against a foe twice their number on the fields before Camlann.
Yet the Fates again seemed to be against the Brython, as Brennus would fall ill and die just days before the death grip would begin among the gathered hosts. All seemed lost, when the young and decisive Prince Harrall stepped forth and did take up the banner to lead the Three Nations onto the field. The battle did begin with a mighty charge of the Saxons, Jutes, and Angles towards the lines of the Brython, Norse and Gaels. The men of the Isle of the Mighty led by Harrall held firm as the enemy led by the young and impetuous Saxon warlord Wiglaff and twice their number crashed like the wave of the sea and did break upon the rock that was the Three Nations.
The Valkyr and the Morrigu had flown looming as great and dark shapes and shadows screaming above the fray and they chose those who would die. They would take those who had fought most valiant facing death with courage and vigor to the Heroes Hall and leave those to wander the wastes that had fallen in fear and discontent. Crows, the Eyes of Odin and the companions to the Morrigu had flown cawing and did wait to feed upon the dead and the dying. Blood spattered, torn and tattered the mighty army of the Three Nations led by the battle-lord, Prince Harrall had won the day long battle driving before them the three armies of the Saxons, Jutes and Angles as the dust before the storm...
With our backs against the Mountain
Our swords spears and axes to the fore
We have come to join in Death's Grip
We have come to end the War
We shall loose the Rage
Destined to settle the Score
On our feet and in steel blued armor
We have come to close the Door
We charged and broke their battle line
In our fury we struck relentless
The blood lust song had seized our minds
We pressed onward striking as vengeance
Three days hence had passed since the clash of mighty blows of gleaming swords and the night forest was immersed in a heavy mist, and a warm, slight breeze wisped through the grove of sleepy oaks, and all was presided over by a full, silver moon passing silently over head, peering through the gathering clouds against the star-laden heavens. The musty fragrance of the forest was carried by this slight wind mixing with the incense of the many bonfires set by the people of the tribe of the Iceni. These men of Alba had fought along side their allies, the Gael of Eire and the Men of the North beyond the North Sea and had crushed the combined force of the invading Jutes, Angles and Saxons.
Cairns of the honored dead lit by torches were watched over by their brethren standing guard for them as they lay in silent testament to the valor and courage they displayed in battle against a stout and unyielding foe and the ultimate giving of their lives so that their peoples may remain free from the oppression of the barbarians. In times past warriors from Alba, the Gael and the Norse would have taken the heads of the fallen enemy to bring home as trophies from the field of battle.
The wise Druids had proscribed before the battle that this would no longer happen as the barbarians we were fighting also took the heads of their dead. We are no longer like them for we had changed and did see a better way. The Druids decreed that battles were fought to end wars and to secure victory and peace. Our warriors instead brought back the blooded earth from the field of battle that had both the blood of our enemy and the blood of our slain warriors to give to the families of the fallen champions. Perhaps they had foreseen the coming together of our peoples.
The bards and scalds of the British and the Vikings to commemorate and immortalize their sacrifice for all time were singing Songs of their deeds upon the field of battle. They would truly be the foundation upon which the peace and prosperity of a new nation, of a truly united people would be built and this would never be forgotten. Prince Harrall at the behest of the Chief Druid Liolaken had sent a message to the chief of the surviving invaders, who with them had brought their families, that they did not have to flee back to the chaos on the continent. He sent to them the message that if they swore fealty to the rightful throne of the Isle of the Mighty and would abide as a peaceful peoples they would be allowed to stay and be granted lands in the southeast as their own.
Within the mighty ramparts, the tower stood firm, the ancient rock from which it was made was witness to the passing of eons, uttering ethereal whispers of long forgotten ages. Surrounded by the company of nobles and princes the head table was laid in food and drink enjoyed by Prince Harrall and his British and Irish counterparts, Prince Bran, of the Iceni and King Brian of the Irish tribe Murchadha. Gathered around were British, Norse and Irish nobles would were asked to be a part of this council of some thirty-five men. Whereas outside the fortress could be heard the noise of celebration and festivities, inside there was much work to be done as these men were struggling to build a new kingdom, a new country; a land that would have to equally represent both cultures of the British Celts and the Scandinavian Norse. Prince Bran spoke,
"As we have said we are content to keep the current lands we have. As you know we have suffered a great loss of our numbers to the plague and to the initial violence to the barbarians. There are open and fertile lands to the east, the north just south of the Caledonians who will accept you as we have and to the south east of the island. These lands are fertile and can bear many of you, our brothers and sisters"
Among the nobles there was a murmur of agreement and understanding. The Irish nobles agreed amongst themselves that the union of the British and the Norse would be a benefit to the independent Gaelic kingdoms in Erin and were comfortable with the results of the recent victory over the barbarians and were well pleased at the prospect of a unified people and strong allies and trading partners to the east of Erin to which they would soon be returning. Their leader was a king from the lands of the Morchoe in southeast Erin, King Brian, who sat next to the young Norse Prince Harrall. King Brian said to the Viking lord,
"Do you see before you what we have wrought? A new land, a new people. A new age has begun on this island. These lands have seen much bloodshed and violence. Now the prospect of a real peace and true prosperity fills the hearts of your two peoples. As on the battlefield where we have stood together against overwhelming odds, you will now work together against even greater challenges to truly unify the land and to stop the bleeding and the chaos."
As he spoke, the young wife of Harrall, the Iceni princess Igraine with their five-year-old daughter arrived in the chamber and they took their place next to their husband and father, the Norse Prince Harrall. As King Brian watched the British Princess sit next to the Norse Battle lord, he looked upon the child and laughed at the his recognition at the obvious implication at what she now represented—what the new land was to become.
"There, dearest brothers, is your future. Norse and Briton united, at once the same but now neither. You are something new."
He pointed at Harrall, Igraine and their daughter. The child was the embodiment of the new people and the new kingdom forged in the fire of a people's strength united. As a hush fell over the body of celebrants, Prince Bran knew what his ally, the Irish king meant. The Prince of the Iceni, the single most powerful tribal leader in Britain turned to the council of assembled Norse and Briton nobles and spoke these words:
"Lords and Nobles, I would like to suggest to you that before you is your new King" he paused and looked upon the faces of the men gathered in the chamber. "Are there any one of you that would stand and oppose the confirmation of this man as your lord?"
Among those gathered there was only silence as none thought otherwise
Harrall was in obvious shock as he let go a short sharp laugh of disbelief that broke the silence, as this was most unexpected. Igraine having seen this in a dream just smiled.
The Council room erupted with unanimity and agreement. Prince Harrall was to now be King. "King Harrall" They exclaimed. "Long live the King!"
During the commotion King Brian stepped over to the beautiful child and knelt.
"What is your name, child?" To which she replied in a small clear voice
"I am called Saesa. My name is Saesa-Knoss"
The King asked knowingly, "Do you know what it means?"
The small sweet voice replied, "Yes, I do."
"Will you tell me, Saesa-Knoss, what it means?"
The King of the Morchoe drew close to the child as the room fell silent and those in it listened intently to the exchange between a king of men and the innocent and delicate child as if the secret of secrets was to be revealed to them.
In the quiet voice of a child she replied, "It means precious jewel of a crown"
The Irish king stood and turned to the still silent council and announced to them.
"Here stands the future. Your future as one. Your unity expressed before you. You are all like her, children of a new union. A new land, a new nation of one people, of one mind and will. You are no longer Briton. You are no longer Norse."
The council was silent, and they watched King Brian step down to the floor. He held up his golden cup in a toast.
"To the land of the Saes...!"