Verus the Merchant
Immediately after the javelin throw, Tjerri saw that he had missed the foremost attacker, but he had hit the third man after that first one in the shoulder, who had not recognized the danger in time. This had contributed to stopping the attack. Verus, the merchant, claimed that he wounded the leader.
As soon as they had noticed the raid, their mounted scout had rushed back to Tungrorum, the closest Mansum, a guarded Roman farmyard they had passed early in the day. They could only hope that there was a beneficiarius unit there. But if there was no such Roman road police nearby, it looked bad for him and their whole group around the merchant. The highwaymen had regrouped and were now rushing forward. When he could almost see the white in their eyes, Verus shouted: “Now!” and they threw their last spears. Several attackers in the front row fell, and those who ran close behind them stumbled over fallen ones and over spear shafts.
The attack slowed and at that moment Verus ordered: “Attack!” And he gave the example himself by going in front. They stormed against the enemy and struck the stragglers before they got up. Tjerri caught a sword blow with his shield and struck back himself. Swords clanged briefly all around him, then the attackers retreated behind the trees. “Don’t persue them!” he heard Verus calling.
“Collect spears and come back to the wagons!”
Tjerri grabbed two spears and then gathered around the two carts with the others. He quickly helped to wrap the arm and head of a wounded comrade to stop the bleeding.
However, the situation was not looking good because the attackers still had superior forces. Nevertheless, he did not regret to have left his Frisian homeland, entering into the service of the Celtic merchant as a traveling companion and fighter. Verus paid well and the provision was far better than what his tribal leader at home could offer.
Suddenly the enemies ran from cover, but now disorganized, running in different directions screaming with fear. They did not attack, Tjerri noticed now, they fled! Then everyone saw the reason for it: a group of mounted Roman soldiers appeared from the forest and hunted the fugitives.
The centurion in charge of the squad rode toward the two carts, accompanied by some of his men. Tjerri saw that the soldiers were Bataves. And the scout of his group was there, too.
“I really wasn’t expecting your help so fast,” Verus told the leader in relief. “You were lucky,” replied the latter, “we spent the night in Tungrorum and were already on the way to our new location.” – “Thank you very much,” replied Verus, ordering his men to bring some amphorae filled with wine for the soldiers. – “I don’t know the attackers’ tribe,” the centurion said, “do you know them?” Verus shook his head, but when Tjerri took a closer look at the fallen, he recognized two faces and said: “These two were sitting in the tavern where we’ve been two days ago. They boasted to be free men and that they did not belong to any tribe.”
“Brigands,” concluded the officer. Verus nodded and asked the officer, while he was picking up another amphora: “If I remember this area correctly, you will pass the sanctuary of Magusanus?” – “That’s right,” was the answer. “Would you please offer this amphora with wine for me in gratitude?” The Batavian nodded and said: “You’re right, he protects these lands and should be given an offering.”
Both groups gathered, and the mercenaries soon disappeared from sight while the merchant moved on with his followers. While walking next to the front cart, Tjerri said to his companion: “I don’t despise a good fight, but I wouldn’t complain if we reached the town of Ganuenta without any further battles. We’ll need all our strength for the passage at sea.”
His comrade smacked him on the shoulder with a grin and replied jokingly: “You Frisians were all born as fish in the water, what do you care about the sea then! Moreover, you have your goddess Nehalennia to protect you there.”