Time on My Hands Chapter 64 - 430-432 CE: Patrick and the Invasion of Ireland

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Time on My Hands

Chapter 64: 430-432 CE: Patrick and the Invasion of Ireland

The Clan Corvo did their best to stay out of the turmoil surging through the Roman Empire. Barmaz continued accepting refugees. The immediate family of a refugee were kept together and expected to adapt to Clan Corvo mores. Those who did not were counseled with expectations explained. If they still refused to be assimilated they were given a choice, expelled back across the border or to the far colonies. The Clan Corvo believed if the situation where you lived was so bad you fled, it was common sense you would not be allowed to recreate what you fled in Barmaz.

Bonifacius, in the meantime, had been unable to defeat the Roman troops the Regent sent to deal with his rebellion. Bonifacius entered into an agreement with the Vandals to come to his aid dividing the African provinces between them. Concerned by this turn of events and determined to hold onto the African provinces at all cost, the court at Ravenna sought reconciliation with Bonifacius, who agreed in 430 to affirm his allegiance to Valentinian III and stop the new Vandal king Gaiseric.

Britannia was no longer controlled by Rome although trade continued. Britannia had devolved into local mini kingdoms each based in hill forts that controlled the area immediately around them. Saxons and Angles expanded their footholds on the east and southern coasts. Raids from Caledonia and Ireland continued with increased vigor.

The Clan Corvo base at Gibraltar was in the thick of the Iberian mess. Gibraltar was in the southern tip of Baetica, which was under Vandal control. During the 56 years since the base was established, a stone defensive wall had been built {along present day ring roads of the town of La Linea de La Conception, west to east being the Calle Torres Quevedo, Avenida de la Colonia and Calle Cartagena}. The defense wall as well as the walls along the shoreline were built on the same scale as those of Barmaz. The militia trained population of 10,000 with a division of Raven Raiders proved quite daunting to the vandals. More importantly, the strict neutrality maintained by the Clan Corvo kept them safe. The same was true for the Island of Ibiza.

In the Americas between 419-424, the Faroes, Iceland, Cheticamp and the 19 South American bases each received 1000 colonists. The 4 Gulf of Mexico bases each received 2000. Nantucket, Hatteras, Bahamas and Cancun each received 10,000. Panama received 20788. As Cancun continued to spread south, Panama spread north, both absorbing the native populations until the 2 colonies merged into the colony of Mesoamerica in 423. Cancun also absorbed the rest of the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

By 430, Patrick felt a calling to priesthood, heading from Britannia to the continent to study at Auxerre. What he felt about his calling to share the Salvation of Christ did not mesh with the politics of the Catholic Church. He'd heard the monks and priests talking about the blasphemy in Barmaz with their refusal to acknowledge the Pope as the earthly head of the entire Christian Church. The only saving grace about the Corvoian Blasphemy was they didn't send people out to proselytize. As he completed his studies in 431 he decided to travel to Barmaz to investigate their Christian practices. There he discovered the vast Clan Corvo Library and met Raben/Fiach.

Patrick had heard the legends about a Demon Slayer who could change gender that had accompanied Emperor Severus during his Caledonian Expedition 223 years before. Raben read Patrick’s aura, sensing his piety and dedication to Jesus as well as his unease and discomfort with the increasingly despotic and self-centered practices as well as the self aggrandizement of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Patrick was quite impressed with the people based humility of the Corvo Church, feeling it was a truer reflection of the gospel message of unconditional love for one’s fellow man.

“I sense you and the previous Demon Slayers are the key to keeping the Corvoian Christian Church centered on Christ’s message for humanity,” Patrick said. “You keep the Clan Corvo centered and actually do your best to live Christ’s message. I’ve learned a Demon Slayer was the first Bishop of Barmaz and that you are the Pope of the Corvian Christian Church and the Corvoian Bishops report to you, not the Pope in Rome. You are most definitely sure of yourself and confident in your actions. The entire Clan Corvo looks to you for guidance and respects your decisions. Yet you remain humble. You live without the pomp and vanity of the Roman Catholic Church. You are the political and religious center of more than 12 million people who hold you in awe and reverence. The Bishop of Rome calls himself Pope, papa. But you behave like a loving father tending and guiding his children. What I don’t understand is how that is possible for generation after generation of Demon Slayers to stay the right course.”

“That’s easy,” Raben smiled. “I am the Demon Slayer... there has only ever been one Demon Slayer. I was born in 161, I became the Demon Slayer in 175 when I was 14. I have not changed since that day. I can not be killed or poisoned.” Raben then explained his dual sexuality, his acquisition of the Curse, his eternal pre-puberty, his intimate relationship with the goddess Ianuaria and that he had been raised as a pagan German healer since birth. He explained that the Bible did not deny the existence of other gods, only that the triune God was the Supreme God who ruled over all others and that the goddess Ianuaria was akin to an Angel of God. Then he added he was a triplet, part of a triune birth, the last, smallest and weakest who was taken in by the Clan healer when it was clear his mother and village could not see to his needs. He grew up helping others, knowing he was the one abandoned. That drove him to succeed and be the best. “I watched my family age and die. The majority of the members of the Clan Corvo can trace their ancestry back to my mother. Through intermarriage the offspring of those not direct descendants will become descendants. It is due to my longevity, so far 266 years, that I keep the Clan Corvo on the path of righteousness.”

Raben's honesty and sincerity impressed Patrick. “So the man you killed and burned to ashes passed the curse of being the Demon Slayer on to you,” Patrick wanted to be sure he understood. “He was the initial curse holder having received it when he pierced Christ’s side during the Crucifixion.”

“That’s correct,” Raben nodded. “Since he was a soldier, he had no idea what to do with the Curse, so tried to continue his life as he had been doing. However, like me, he never aged and quickly recovered from any wounds. He was accused of witchcraft and had to keep moving, never settling down. He grew weary and tired of living. He willingly passed the Curse to me, not that at age 14 I understood what having the Curse meant. But with my background as a healer I have instinctively done my best to use the Curse for good. I’ve saved the lives of thousands of destitute people, been able to save historic writings and keep the Clan Corvo on a steady course of being good people.”

Patrick revealed his capture and enslavement at age 16. That at that age he’d been totally unprepared for life. But the hardships he’d endured shaped who he’d become, a man of God. Patrick then asked if he could be ordained to the priesthood in the Corvoian Christian Church. Raben agreed and the deed was soon done. Raben agreed to support Patrick’s desire to bring Christianity to Ireland.

Raben decided the time had come to formalize Corvoian Christianity as a separate faith by publicly breaking from the Catholic Church in Rome. The Council of Ephesus was called in 431 to shut down heresies. Raben called a meeting of Barmaz priests who agreed to formally appoint him the Pope of the Corvoian Christian Church. With three bishops and aids, they attended the Council Of Ephesus. Needless to say Raben was discounted because of his apparent age. Pope Celestine did not attend but sent delegates. The representatives of the Pope from Rome were indignant that Raben insisted Barmaz and the Clan Corvo, as a nation independent of the Roman Empire, was also independent from the Roman Catholic Church. The Corvoian Christian Church recognized Jesus Christ as their leader, without a mere human intermediary like the Roman Pope. What saved Raben was the that Barmaz Christianity was based upon and adhered the Nicene Creed just as Rome did so it wasn’t being heretical. They simply refused to accept an earthly leader. The fact Barmaz and the Clan Corvo declared their independence from Rome was supported by other regions that wanted their independence but were too weak to militarily defend themselves. Among the delegates Pope Celestine was Leo, a well respected 31 year old learned deacon, one of the many men Raben amazed with his vast scriptural knowledge. Celestine was furious at the declared independence of the Corvoian Christian Church but unable to take any action.

The years 425-431 had seen the colonization continue. The now 18 bases around South America,, Faroes, Iceland, and Cheticamp each received 1000 colonists. The 4 bases around the Gulf of Mexico received 2000 each. Nantucket, Hatteras and Bahamas each received 16,000. Mesoamerica received 15788 in 425, 15778 in 426, and 15880 in each year 427-431. They expanded north each year taking in 25,000 natives each year so that by 431 they occupied the Mexican states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Puebla, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Mexico, Hidalgo and the rest of Veracruz. The Bahamas Colony had spread to every island in the Carribean.

Raben was delighted with the Clan Corvo University. By 430 their careful experimentation with black powder resulted in useable weapons. They developed horse drawn wheeled cast bronze muzzle loading cannons with a bore of 4 2/3inches but 2 barrel lengths, 66 inches and 33 inches. The longer the barrel the further the range. The larger barrel weighed 1227 pounds requiring a 2 wheeled carriage to maneuver, a total weight of 2350 pounds. The shorter barrel weighed 220 pounds with a carriage and wheels that could be dismantled and mule packed to areas impossible for wheeled units. The weapons were developed in concert with the university metallurgists, mastering the casting process and figuring out how to bore the cast central cavity to a uniform size. They developed several shells, a solid shot of 12 pounds, a fused explosive shell, and an explosive cannister shell containing small round balls. The work continued trying to develop an iron cannon as well as smaller hand firearms.

The 2 wheeled gun carriage was hauled behind a 2 wheeled limber mounting an ammunition box carrying 40 rounds forming a highly maneuverable 4 wheeled wagon. A caisson was another 2 wheeled wagon that held 3 ammunition boxes that was towed by a limber. Each artillery unit consisted of 2 limbers, a caisson, the carriage mounted cannon, 8 soldiers and 12 horses/mules. Each 4 wheeled combo needed 6 horses to pull it in order to keep up with the mounted Raven Raiders. They were set up in troop sized batteries consisting of 6 - 66 inch cannons, 3 - 33 inch cannon, 4 additional ammunition wagons each carrying 6 ammunition boxes, and a wagon mounted forge for making in the field repairs. Each artillery piece was commanded by a corporal, 7 privates handled the horses and other tasks and 3 ravens. A section consisted of 3 artillery pieces commanded by a sergeant with a corporal and a raven. The battery was commanded by a lieutenant with a staff sergeant, a corporal, a private, 2 ravens and a wolf, a sergeant blacksmith and a private helper. As the units were equipped and trained they were attached to each division.

In 432 the colonial disbursement to the Americas changed. The 23 fleet bases, Faroes, Iceland and Cheticamp each received 1000 colonists. Nantucket, Hatteras and the Bahamas each received 9500. Mesoamerica received 9380 as they occupied the Mexican state of San Luis Patosi. The remaining 30,000 were dispatched to Ireland with Patrick consisting of 1 division of Pathfinders and 2 divisions of Raven Raiders and 9642 colonists. Fiach decided to accompany them with the intent of bringing the entire island into the Clan Corvo, using it as a trial for Operation Harmony. This would assist Patrick spread Corvoian Christianity and further secure Barmaz trade routes since the Irish were a primary source of raiders to Britain. Those raids threatened the sea lanes used by Corvus Shipping. The occupation of the Isle of Mann was certainly preventing excessive deprivations but securing Ireland would totally eliminate the issue.

While Christianity was not a mainstream faith on the Celtic Island, it was known. Christianity entered Ireland in the fourth century, in a slow and gradual process of unplanned infiltration from Gaul and Britain. Some were British captives carried off by Irish raiders, others were Irish raiders who settled in Britain, were converted and returned to Ireland to share their new faith with their family, still others came via trade relations with Gaul, Britain and Iberia. Some were monks seeking refuge in Ireland from the barbarian invasions of Gaul and Britain bringing their Christian religion with them. Irish Christians were sufficiently numerous by 431 to justify Pope Celestine's appointment of Palladius as Bishop of Ireland. Palladius landed at the village of Wicklow on the Varty River, which was also the port Patrick made his escape after his six years' captivity. The Celtic Druidic Priests were hostile towards the Christians. If the Christians were quiet their relationship was one of begrudging toleration. Palladius was not quiet. At the end of 431, at the urging of the Druids, the King of Leinster expelled Palladius to Scotland.

The fleet, supported by the Isle of Man Clan Corvo fleet, landed at Drumanagh {GM 53.540557, -6.080147}, a headland near the village of Loughshinny. The headland was a trapazoid, 1320 feet on the landward west side with a defensive dry moat with earthen wall built entirely across the headland. The water sides were 1300 feet along the north and south shores and 950 feet along the east shore. The headland was the site of an unofficial Roman trading base. The trading settlement offered no resistance to the unexpected arrival of the fleet and the subsequent occupation of the headland.

The locals were accustomed to dealing with outsiders. However, most trading was done by single ships or at most 2-3 vessels. The size of the Clan Corvo fleet and the fierce reputation of the Clan Corvo people occupying the Isle of Man intimidated them. The rapid unloading and deployment of the troops quickly discouraged their even attempting to organize resistence. In his homespun priest’s robes with the large cross hanging from his neck, Patrick was clearly there to convert the Celtic Irish to Christianity, an action most certainly not welcomed by the local druids.

The local noble tried to control his anger when he was summoned to Drumanagh. Word of the large fleet had reached him as had the reports of the thousands of mounted warriors. When he discovered the fleet and soldiers were from the Clan Corvo, he understood this could be the start of an invasion so when he was asked to come speak with the commanding Corvoian general he begrudgingly did so.

"We have brought thousands of Clan Corvo members," the Corvoian general stated. "Amongst them are over 13,000 Raven Raiders, our best warriors. We have come to bring Ireland into the Clan Corvo. Ireland WILL become part of the Clan Corvo. We hope you will voluntarily join us. Ireland must chose between joining us peacefully and willingly or fight us and join after we defeat you. If you force us to fight we will win and many of you may die."

The noble seethed at the general’s audacity but knew he didn’t dare attempt to prevail against the massive military might of the Clan Corvo.

"Send messengers throughout the island telling the kings what we want," the general declared as he set a date for the convocation. "We will grant 3 months to allow the kings to raise and lead their armies to fight us. However, instead of a full war, we’re willing to settle this by individual combat. The leader of the Clan Corvo will be the sole champion for the Clan Corvo. We know there are 19 kingdoms in Ireland. Each king can select 4 champions besides himself. The Clan Corvo champion will fight them 1 by 1 or even all at once until they’ve all been killed or submit. When the Clan Corvo champion wins, the kingdoms will submit. If our champion loses, the Clan Corvo will leave."

Gaelic Ireland placed a heavy importance on clan wars and ritual combat. A very important aspect of Celtic ritual warfare was single combat. To settle a dispute and measure one's prowess, it was customary to challenge an individual warrior from the opposing army to ritual single combat to the death while cheered on by the opposing forces. Clans were the basis of the competing Celtic Irish kingdoms. They had few professional warriors, their armies consisted of a core of warriors who served as body guards for the king, his family and his home/castle. Vassal nobles had similar warriors but smaller numbers. This meant the central trained core of an army was seldom more than 500. That meant the available trained Irish warriors numbered about 10,000. Untrained commoners made up the mass of the army, but they were barely more than skirmishers who could never stand up to trained professionals. The clearly declared intention of the Clan Corvo to take over Ireland coupled with the single combat challenge left the kings with no choice but to accept the challenge.

Fiach also decided to use psychological warfare. One of the most common causes of Irish conflict was Cattle raiding. Cattle were the main form of wealth in Gaelic Ireland as coins had not yet been introduced. The aim of most wars was the capture of the enemy's cattle. Indeed, cattle raiding had become a social institution. It was even customary for new kings to carry out raids on traditional rivals. In Irish folklore a warrior queen, Medb of Connacht, who’s father was the High King of Ireland, married her to the king of Ulster. She bore him a son but the marriage went bad and she left. The high king deposed the king of Connacht and installed Medb as queen. The deposed king regained a share of the throne when he and Medb became lovers. The king of Ulster raped Medb after an assembly at Tara and war ensued between the High King and Ulster. The deposed king, hoping to regain favor with the high king, challenged the Ulster king to single combat and lost. A rival for the kingship of the deposed king protected the Connacht army as it retreated and became Medb's next husband and king of Connacht. While married she took the chief of her bodyguard, as her lover. When the king discovered the affair he challenged the bodyguard to single combat and lost. The bodyguard then married Medb and became king of Connacht. Medb insisted that she be equal in wealth with her husband but he was one powerful stud bull richer than her. She discovered that the only rival to her husband’s bull was owned by a vassal of the king of Ulster. She sent messengers offering wealth, land and sexual favors in return for the bull. After initially agreeing the King of Ulster withdrew his consent, and Medb prepared for war, the legendary ‘Cattle Raid of Cooley'. An army was raised to steal Ulster's prize stud bull. During the campaign Medb secured the bull but after a final battle she was forced to retreat with her prize. Ironically the captured bull fought her husband’s bull killing him but days later died of his wounds.

In addition, Macha was the Celtic Goddess of war, death, life, cunning and sheer physical force; a protectoress in both battle and peace. She was known as ‘the Raven,’ depicted wearing a cloak of raven feathers, often appeared as a raven, was Queen of Phantoms, and the Mother of Life and Death.

Word of the Clan Corvo invasion quickly spread throughout Ireland as did the news the Clan Corvo was going to take the entire island. The various kings put aside their petty disagreements to face the very real threat to Irish existence. Over a period of several weeks the kings and their armies gathered. Upon their arrival they saw the huge encampment of the Clan Corvo. They saw the disciplined Raven Raiders. They saw the church that had been built and heard Patrick preach of Jesus in their tongue. Many of the local women liked what they heard and asked to be baptized. The women in turn brought their children and finally their husbands. They also saw a huge happy but belligerent bull in a fenced pasture with a dozen Irish cows that none dared approach. The bull was the largest anyone had ever seen. Fiach had brought the largest aurochs bull she could find to play to the Irish legends. Several daring but stupid men paid with their lives when they stepped into the field. They saw the nearly 500 ships anchored in the harbor and river. The invasion of Ireland by the Clan Corvo seemed to be true.

On the day set for the convocation everyone gathered around the pasture containing the aurochs bull.
The mounted Raven Raiders formed on the coastal side of the of the pasture and waited. The 19 Irish Kings, their champions, Druidic priests and the armies gathered on the opposite side of the pasture. The common people gathered between the opposing sides. When everyone had gathered Fiach boldly walked into the pasture. They were surprised to see a slight preteen child, not the fearsome warrior queen they had assumed. Much to the amazement of the Irish onlookers, the huge bull calmly walked up to her to be scratched. The Irish were stunned as she easily hopped upon his back and rode him about the pasture. As she came closer they could see Fiach wore a long skirt with a sword/scabbard strapped across her back with sheathed knives on the front strap. She also wore a cloak of raven feathers like the goddess Macha! They also noted she was mounted on the massive fierce bull who seemed to obey her unspoken commands. The huge bull stood 6 feet tall at the shoulder, weighed 2500 pounds, the horns were curved upwards and outwards at the base, then swung forwards and inwards, then inwards and upwards. Each horn was 31 inches in length and 8 inches in diameter at the base. The hide was coal black with a narrow white stripe down the spine. The appearance Fiach evoked riding the biggest bull anyone in Ireland had ever seen brought the legendary warrior Queen Mebd to mind, intimidating the Irish. The 13,752 mounted Raven Raider warriors arrayed behind Fiach, obviously awaiting her orders, also reinforced their associating Fiach with Macha and Queen Mebd. The fact the small female warrior was riding the imposing killer bull as if he was a horse boggled their minds. They didn't know the mental rapport Fiach had with animals allowed her to keep the wild beast calm and manageable. The fully adult young bull controlled his natural urges because he was already enjoying the reward Fiach promised for his cooperation, being THE stud of Ireland.

“I am Fiach Corvo, co-head of the Clan Corvo with my twin brother Raben,” Fiach announced from atop the intimidating aurochs. “We are Demon Slayers and heads of the Clan Corvo and the Corvoian Christian Church. We have appointed Patrick as Bishop of Ireland to bring you the Good News of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know how stubborn you Celts are. So you know who is facing you, I’m descended from Celts. My great grand mother and her twin were the head physicians with Emperor Severus when he attempted to conquer Caledonia 223 years ago. I’m sure even you on this island have heard of the female Demon Slayer the Caledonians feared.”

The Irish had indeed heard of legends told of the mysterious female Demon Slayer. She was used as a boogey-man type of monster to keep kids in line. Now, sat atop the biggest bull any had seen, sat her descendant who claimed to be the current Demon Slayer.

“We are gathered here to decide the future of Ireland and it’s people,” Fiach began. “The Clan Corvo has decided that your incessant raiding can no longer be ignored. We ask that you join us. We will honor and preserve your legends and lore as well as your people. The Clan Corvo adopts the best features of the cultures of those it absorbs. We Demon Slayer’s honor the Druidic pantheon since it is a subset of Christianity. We become part of you as you become part of us. We welcome new peoples. All we have, we offer to you in exchange for membership.”

“I’m aware the kings do not want to give up their kingdoms but the Clan Corvo has no kings,” Fiach continued. “We have no upper class, we have no low class. We have one class, everyone is equal. The vast majority of the Irish will benefit from joining the Clan Corvo. The kings will be equal with all others which means they must give up their privileges. No one need suffer. What most of you need to ask is if you are ready to sacrifice your lives to continue being subjugated by the kings?”

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To me this chapter begs the question,

Wendy Jean's picture

What happens to a king who voluntarily joins Clan Corvo? Is there any incentive beyond keeping his life? I could see such a move if a kingdom was losing a blood feud with another kingdom, but the loss of all property is a strong disincentive for even the most desperate king. All your previous chapters show the ruling classes loosing everything, including their lives as well as their privileges.Clan Corvo is basically an enlightened Ganges Khan.

Svenn and his descendants, up

Beoca's picture

Svenn and his descendants, up at Olvishaugen, are the best precedent we have for this. The status as leader was kept, though in a position subordinate to the Demon Slayer. The triumvirate government has probably made the prospects facing such a decision somewhat gloomier. The possible answer is that they stop being the one ultimately responsible for everything, they get to fade out of the spotlight. That has to be worth something.

Seems to Me...

...that Raben/Fiach hasn't offered that kind of sub-leadership to anyone since the Clan got strong enough and ubiquitous enough not to need the native leaders' help. Also, now (as noted a couple of chapters back) Fiach has decided that all subject people will greet Clan Corvo as liberators and welcome the removal of their current leaders.

I could certainly be wrong -- this isn't an area I've researched at all -- but I think the clans in Ireland have a closer rapport with their leadership than the subjects in Africa and Mesoamerica did with their autocrats. If the Irish agree to accept the Corvo church as taught by Patrick, with the Druidic pantheon still accepted, but want to maintain their current clan identity and leadership, will Fiach be satisfied? (The impression I got here was that single combat didn't require the death of the combatant if he surrendered.)