The tale begins with a huge fleet of thousands
of ships arriving off the coast of a
wild land. The nearest ships are already
disgorging hordes of sword-wielding,
bloodthirsty invaders who begin plundering
a hapless seaside village. The army
flies the blood-spattered flag of Alphatia.
Several small, detailed pictures show
other villages burning or falling to the
heavily-armed attackers. In each case, a
handful of barbarian warriors makes a last
stand while the rest of the population flees
Finally, the invaders arrive at broad
fields that lead to the largest barbarian settlement
pictured here. A barbarian army,
much smaller than that of the Alphatian
attackers, prepares to do battle.
At the end of the mural is apparently
the story of this climactic clash. Spells of
fire and lightning fly from the Alphatians,
while the barbarians respond with their
crude war machines and plenty of raw
courage. Finally, the invaders are caught
between the river and the barbarian army.
In another collection of small, detailed
scenes, individual pockets of Alphatians are
surrounded and killed by the barbarians.
Finally, one man—a high commander by
the look of his uniform—stands alone, his
back to the river.
His face is a picture of anger and frustration
as he holds his sabre high and seems to
be pronouncing a potent incantation. His
blade is sundered by a sudden stroke of
In a final scene, the waters of the river
close over the head of this last survivor. The
barbarians turn toward home and heavy
stormclouds gather in the distance.