Ingrid says we’re idiots; that we should just pay tribute and get on with our lives; that at least the Romans don’t go out of their way to make examples of the tribes that submit willingly. Looking across the field at the legions lined up in solid blocks like nothing I’ve ever seen before, I’m starting to think she has a point. We outnumber them two to one, true, just as Gustaf said. And most of them only come up to most of our armpits, true, just as Gustaf said. And I’ll even take Gustaf’s word that they don’t even know how to swing a sword properly, that they just poke with the point like a child poking a dead dog with a stick. But I am still getting a shiver down my back looking out at those walls of red fabric and interlocked shields. But Vercingetorix is my chief; I have drunk his mead and eaten his meat, and when he says he will be damned before he will let some senator a thousand miles away tell him how to live I have no choice but to stand beside him.
Gustaf has started chewing his mushrooms, his eyes glazing over. I edge away from him, as does anybody else with any sense. It won’t be long, now.
This morning we outnumbered them two to one. Now, as the sun nears the horizon again, those of us who can still run are doing so, but it has been a dry year and the marshes are firm underfoot, providing us no shelter at all. The horses that did the Romans no good under the trees are helping them just fine out here on the flats, as they pick off our stragglers. I hear the hooves behind me and turn, determined that I at least will not take the spear in my back. I’m sorry, Ingrid.