The two armies were encamped at a moderate distance from each other, with a plain, partly wooded, between them. While in this position, and before any hostile action was commenced by either party, it was observed from the camp of Darius that suddenly a great tumult arose from the Scythian lines.
The next year he came down upon Italy, destroyed Aquileia, and the fright of his coming caused Venice to be founded on uninhabited islands, which the Scythian had no vessels to reach. He advanced over Vicenza, Padua, Verona, Milan. Rome was before him, where the successor of St. Peter stopped him.
During the life of Arnulph, the Hungarians were checked by gratitude or fear; but in the infancy of his son Lewis they discovered and invaded Bavaria; and such was their Scythian speed, that in a single day a circuit of fifty miles was stripped and consumed.
Then he passed the Thracian mountains, and many a barbarous tribe, Paeons and Dardans and Triballi, till he came to the Ister stream, and the dreary Scythian plains.
To him succumbed the Bactrian empire, in itself far more powerful, but already shaken to the very foundation partly by hostilities with the hordes of Scythian horsemen from Turan and with the states of the Indus, partly by internal disorders. He achieved almost equal successes in the countries to the west of the great desert.
His route was intercepted, his manoeuvre, thwarted: Kutusoff, an old man, a Scythian, had been beforehand with him! And he could not accuse his star. Did not the sun of France seem to have followed him to Russia? Was not the road to Malo-Yaroslawetz open but the preceding day? It was not his fortune then that had failed him, but he who had been wanting to his fortune?"
A Moorish and a Scythian buffoon successively excited the mirth of the rude spectators, by their deformed figure, ridiculous dress, antic gestures, absurd speeches, and the strange, unintelligible confusion of the Latin, the Gothic, and the Hunnic languages; and the hall resounded with loud and licentious peals of laughter.
He slew, in battle, the king of the Alani; and the remains of those Scythian wanderers, who escaped from the field, instead of choosing a new leader, humbly sought a refuge under the standard of the Vandals, with whom they were ever afterwards confounded. The Vandals themselves, and the Suevi, yielded to the efforts of the invincible Goths.
And proposed to the Grecian chiefs to destroy the bridge of boats across the Danube confided to their charge; so that, what with the force of the Scythians and the pressure of famine, the army of Darius would have perished among the Scythian wastes, and a mighty enemy have been lost to Greece a scheme that, but for wickedness, would have been wise.
Brenhilda looked upon her apparel and arms, spotted with the blood of the insolent Scythian, and, Amazon as she was, felt the shame of being carelessly and improperly dressed. The arms of the knight were also bloody, and in disarrangement. "Tell my female squire, Agatha, to give her attendance," said the Countess. "She alone is in the habit of assisting to unarm and to attire me."