Shu's Diaries - Askuzai

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To His Imperial Majesty,

The Huns arrived in Celtica and brought with them terror. The village gate burst open and an endless horde of mounted warriors stormed through. Shields broke, traps snapped shut and soldiers cried out. After a few minutes of mayhem, the battle was over and the victorious Huns began ransacking the town. I kept my eyes fixed on my belongings. Soon, the dust would settle and I would be able to leave this place.

A group of warriors walked towards my bag and searched it. They opened the diary, stopped, and began to look around. They paused when their eyes reached the direction of my hideout. Terrified, I stayed completely still. A few moments later, they looked at each other and put the diary back into the bag. There was definitely something peculiar about their behavior. I tried to listen to their conversation, but they were just too far away. As they mounted their horses and left, I thought I heard them mention one name: Gnaeus Titianus. Surely a mistake.

They left a horse behind. Strange. Trap or not, I had to follow them. I put together a Hunnic outfit, climbed on the horse and rode through the broken gates of Celtica. I was then joined by another band of warriors. I attempted to blend in, but they strangely paid no attention to me at all. They sang and cheered to celebrate the successful attack. Some stood with both feet on the back of their horses and put on a little dance while riding along.

We rode across empty plains and grasslands towards Askuzai, the home of the Huns. I struggled to keep up the pace of my company, who must have learned to ride before they could walk! Nenet was following me at a distance. He was probably afraid of the deadly archery skills the Huns had displayed earlier. The village was already visible from far away, as nothing was here to obstruct the view. Everything in this area appeared to be accessible on horseback by design. Yet, something else felt unusual about this region. Something strange was in the air…

We rode through the gates at breakneck speed and only slowed down when we arrived at a wide, open square in the center of the village. The troops from the raid were gathering here. In front of us was the statue of a Hunnic warrior on a horse standing on its hind-legs, while the warrior held out his bow. The Huns were cheering and sharing stories of the attack, one braver and less believable than the next. I noticed Nenet circling another a corner of the village

I got off my horse and walked in Nenet’s direction. There were barely any traditional houses, but I passed plenty of tents. Smoke billowed from a large chimney that stood in the open, next to a wooden shack with a roof made of felt. A hammer and anvil as well as various weapons and armor were placed around it.

Noise came from nearby. I walked past a shelter where several horses ate fresh grass and rested. The shelter had two roofs, one made of wood and one of felt. Hay was stored in a separate compartment. It was certainly odd to see horses without a Hun rider on their back. I moved on toward Nenet. He was flying over a building of considerable size. It stood on wooden posts with walls made of hard fibers and a roof made of felt. I walked toward the opening of the building, between two burning bowls, and entered. I found myself in a spacious, circular room.

Here sat the senator, Gnaeus Titianus. He was inspecting my diary, before looking up to greet me. A smile spread across his face. Then he began to talk. He told me that he now knew who I was. And that, while I had been gone for 10 years, this world had changed entirely.