Bladewielders
Boudicca was married to Prasutagus, the King of the Iceni tribe in East Anglia (traditional region of England, the easternmost,
consisting of the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and parts of the counties of Cambridgeshire and Essex) and they had two
daughters.  Prasutagus was a rather weak king, and to avoid a war he made a pact saying that all his lands and riches would
be split between his daughters and the Romans at his death.  When he died, the Romans decided his will wasn't good enough
for the Empire, and they plundered the Iceni houses and invaded the entire land.  They flogged Queen Boudicca, and her
daughters were removed from her house and raped by Roman soldiers. These atrocities provoked her anger.  She started up a
great rebellion, capturing the town of Camulodunum (Colchester), then marched onto Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St
Albans).
"Among the Romans, Boudicca, the Killer Queen, was still a name to frighten children.  In Londinium you could see the marks where the basilica had burned,
and workmen digging foundations as the city grew sometimes found the bones of those who had tried to flee the bloodlust of the Iceni hordes." -- Marion
Zimmer Bradley, in The Forest House

Boudicca managed to frighten many Romans, but they were powerful and well-organized, unlike the Britons.  An army of 10,000 Romans was prepared to
counter Boudicca's 100,000-man horde.  It is said that she held this speech to them before the battle:  "We British are used to women commanders in war. I
am the daughter of mighty men. But I am not fighting for my royal power now... I am fighting as an ordinary person who has lost her freedom.  I am fighting
for my bruised body. The Gods will grant us the revenge we deserve.  Think of how many of us are fighting, and why.  Then you will win this battle or die.  
That is what I, a woman, plan to do.  Let the men live as slaves, if they want.  I won't." -- Queen Boudicca, quoted by Terry Deary in The Rotten Romans

It is well known that the Roman Empire had the world's greatest fighting force, large, organized and very well-trained. Their men managed to vanquish the
Britons, and they finally captured Boudicca.  Rather than undergo further humiliation from the Romans, according to Roman historian Tacitus, she took poison
and died.  The Witchblade was placed in a niche of honor, according to Boudicca's wishes, while it waited for the next rightful wielder.

In the time of harvest, possibly November 11, in the year of 70AD, the last of many young, strong, hopeful Celtic maidens entered what was the court of
Queen Boudicca ~ Boudicca having died almost nine years earlier ~ and requested permission to try to wear the Witchblade. This young woman, Cathain,
was a designated wielder, and the Witchblade accepted her.  She became a dedicated warrior and defender of the Celts for decades. Of the legends and
myths surrounding the beautiful young woman, the story of her love for Conchobar, a Briton prince, is best remembered in this poem, adapted into a song
hundreds of years later:
The Legend of Cathain

Bid Goddess rise, from mists of memory
Rise, the fair Cathain
In battle the equal of every man
And every lover disdained
Her heart was locked in a roundtower's keep
And none that gate could unbar
Till rose a prince from Ulster's east
The hero Conchobar

A suitor's troth he brought Cathain
In wild Connemar'
He bade her teach him feats of arms
And the bloody arts of war
And what, said she, will you teach me
Who dwells here all alone?
The pleasures of love, said Conchobar
I will melt your heart of stone.

So King and warrior thus were joined
In battles blood and love
The throne belonged to Conchobar
To Cathain, the Witch's Glove
The world soon turned his heart away
So back to Connemar'
She westward rode to dwell alone
Away from Conchobar

Dark rivals rose against the king
To challenge for his throne
All Ulster in the balance hung
Without its champion
A Druid he sent to sacrifice
An offering to Cathain
A maiden fair, with flaxen hair
Not once, but two times slain

But Cathain, she would ne'r return
To rescue Conchobar
Till the Druid did a virgin bring
To Connemara far
The fair Iona pure and sweet
upon the table lain
And by the corclach's hungry stone
Was Cathain's own daughter slain

In rage the warrior goddess
From the western sea arose
Her bloody gauntlet dealt that day
a thousand fierce death-blows
The kingdom saved, her quest complete
she sank beneath the shore
Till Ulster's sons with sacrifice
Bid her return once more.
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