We came at last to long capes stretching into winding waters, and on a grey beach below us we saw ships drawn up. Forty-seven we counted—not Roman galleys but the raven-winged ships from the North where Rome does not rule. Men moved in the ships, and the sun flashed on their helmets—winged helmets of the red-haired men from the North where Rome does not rule.
This is from “On the Great Wall” , the second of the three Roman stories in Puck of Pook’s Hill.
Parnesius and Pertinax are young Roman officers, stationed on the Great Wall, the frontier of Roman Britain. Hunting in the heather beyond the wall, they Hve happened on the longships of Viking warriors from the north.
Later, as captains of the wall, they will fight them off in deadly battle.