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The Fanes' saga - The events underlying the legend

The clash against the Palaeo-Venetics


The king was compelled to realize, however, that the continuous raids had pushed him too far, and now he risked not being able to control the situation any longer. The young warriors didn’t accept reverting to the old and short-of-fun habits of a shepherd’s life: they were eager for more and more new war ventures and more and more triumphs. Even worse, the northern villages and what little was remaining in the neighboring valleys had all been plundered and plundered again: his warriors, who thought themselves unbeatable, loudly demanded eventually to turn against the richer tribes who lived in the south. No doubt, the king knew that this way they would risk awakening the wrath of a military power much stronger than their own, and in any case he didn’t like the idea of fighting against people of his own blood; but he was unable to avoid that some raids were launched against the people of the Lastoieres.
This was a small mountain tribe, whose lifestyle was rather like that of the Fanes’ of old, and who had only recently entered the Palaeo-Venetics range of influence. Maybe a few raids against their villages wouldn't make a lot of fuss.
Unfortunately for the Fanes, two events occurred that the king hadn’t foreseen.
The first was that the Lastoieres did ask for the Caiutes’ help, and a party of Caiute warriors actually ventured crossing arms with the Fanes; in one of these skirmishes, a son of the Caiutes’ king’s himself had the bad idea of having himself slain.
The second event was that some time earlier a Palaeo-Venetic priest had moved among the Lastoieres and had taken his mission very seriously. He had been sent there to hasten the cultural assimilation of the Lastoieres and at the same time make their political control easier; he had grown fond of them, and now he feared that all his efforts would have been wasted, had the tribe not felt adequately protected when in need.

In my opinion, the legend here very likely overlaps and assimilates two pairs of warrior and sorcerer, the former derived from an ancient initiatic myth, the latter who actually lived at the Fanes’ times. The latter couple, however, might be a sheer fictional invention, artfully built as a rhetorical copy the mythical one. Not probable, for reasons detailed elsewhere, but possible. In any case we must remark that a reaction from the Palaeo-Venetics to the Fanes’ raids was a way or another unescapable, and that the military expedition that brings to the battle at Fiammes, which is essential to the development of the plot, looks very realistic and tactically well-conceived. The reconstruction I’m advancing of the “modern” character of Spina-de-Mul is largely arbitrary but, I believe, is far from being absurd and is quite coherent with the course of the story.

As an answer to the priest’s pressing requests, the Caiutes king, instead of intervening with his army to give the Fanes a good lesson, limited himself to sending his friend a harsh warning: stop your raids at once, or I shall be compelled to punish your tribe heavily. The Fanes king hastened to agree, while his warriors grumbled. The priest, however, whom we shall call Spina-de-Mul, although his true name must have been different, didn’t trust the Fanes at all to respect that agreement; therefore he gave himself much trouble and hastened from one tribe to another in order to put up a coalition capable of moving against the Fanes even if the Caiutes refrained from that. He succeeded in collecting a sizeable expeditionary corps, whose spearhead consisted of a party of Duranni, a tribe well known for their valour in battle, commanded by a well-spoken young warrior.
It seems that the athletic Duranno, whom we shall name Ey-de-Net, although his name also must have been different, let himself convinced mostly by his curiosity to look at this famous Dolasilla’ face himself, and he agreed with Spina that he would be left free to take care of the archer girl personally, a way or another. In any case, he agreed to come.
Spina-de-Mul convinced his allies to perform a bypass manoeuvre so as to enter by surprise straight into the core of the enemy territory, but to no avail. The Fanes discovered the move and intercepted their foes well in advance. A furious battle ensued, during which Spina, who had a precise purpose and didn’t fear being accused of cowardice, wounded Dolasilla at her shoulder with an arrow. Ey-de-Net, however, angry at him for violating their agreement, attacked him in the middle of the fray; the Fanes king, seeing the enemy commanders quarreling with each other, at once ordered a charge and succeeded in achieving victory.