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Total War: Shogun 2 Heaven » Forums » Bardic Circle - War Stories & AAR forum » The Eagle and the Wolf- Part I: Remember!
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Topic Subject:The Eagle and the Wolf- Part I: Remember!
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Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 10-01-09 02:13 AM EDT (US)         
Excerpt from the Eagle and the Wolf:

The Germani were now sweeping the ambush site of living and wealth. A German stood over him, sending his axe into the braincase of Darius, ensuring the Mede was dead before turning to the man in the silver armor. He smiled, and raised his axe. Marcus lunged upwards and felt the bite of his gladius into the man’s ribcage, and then through to that throbbing organ within. The German coughed, then fell, knocking Rutilius down and this time trapping his sword under the dead weight. The Roman quickly drew his dagger as another German straddled his prone body. The barbarian smiled, showing teeth as yellow as the torc around his neck, as he brought his sword back to slice this Roman’s neck.

Then he fell forward, and arrowhead and six inches of shaft protruding from his chest. The arrowhead impacted on the cuirass, and combined with the weight of the man it transfixed, penetrated the armor beneath. Rutilius groaned.

Nicht tot sein. Nicht tot sein. Nicht tot sein,” muttered a rapid female voice through the haze of pain. A hand pulled the German corpse roughly from his body, breaking the arrowhead off in the wound and causing another rush of pain. Then soft hands cradled his head and a tangle of dark hair framing two incredibly large liquid blue eyes covered his vision. The hands held him strangely firm, while those eyes locked onto his. He heard the voice once more, this time in Latin, uttering a single command- “Remember!”

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Other parts of The Eagle and the Wolf series :
The Eagle and the Wolf Part I- Remember!
The Eagle and the Wolf Part II- Tyroes in the Forest
The Eagle and the Wolf Part III- Downs and Ups
The Eagle and the Wolf Part IV- Mushrooms and Murderers
The Eagle and the Wolf Part V- In the Wolf’s Jaws
The Eagle and the Wolf Part VI- Doom and Despair
The Eagle and the Wolf Part VII- The Cauldron
The Eagle and the Wolf Part VIII- Broken Hearts and New Chances
The Eagle and the Wolf Part IX- Ominous Revelations
The Eagle and the Wolf Part X- Trials and Triumph
The Eagle and the Wolf Part XI- Return to Vetera

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[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 01-22-2013 @ 01:04 AM).]

AuthorReplies:
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 11-02-09 04:36 AM EDT (US)     51 / 62       
He got stabbed once- in the belly, under his cuirass. Lost a lot of blood and had some muscles cut, and enough damage to keep him basically unconscious for two weeks.

The three stabs to his back and kidneys were deflected by the bow he was carrying (broke it) and the armor. That assassin died before he could tell his accomplice that he failed to penetrate the armor, leaving the accomplice to think the other's stabs had succeeded.

Fog of war, my friend. It will bite you in the ass as it will them- as you shall see.
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 11-05-09 02:26 AM EDT (US)     52 / 62       
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Rutilius healed slowly, for the wound was deep, but with care it did not become septic. Once that nonsense about bleeding the wound, the healthy virtues of pus, and the curing qualities of leeches were knocked out of their heads, the physicians and other medici were allowed in to handle the patient, though only under the watchful eyes of Lucius Palla or Marcus Salvius. And even then they were sworn, as was the entire legion, to keep their mouth shut- especially to the Germans.

Froydis, of course, was allowed in, though she spent almost as much time in the town as she did by Rutilius. When she was in they chatted, when she was out, he talked with Palla, Milus, and Salvius. And over the course of the late fall, he did grow strong again.

Salvius was handling the post, passing the requests and filtering the post so that the mundane garbage generated by the humungous bureaucracy of the army did not go in to see the legate, while those critical messages were. Among the things he passed in were the letters of concern from Publius Salvius, Quintus Volusius, and Decius Paullus, all of whom received replies to the extent of “all is well, the rumors of my death are a bit exaggerated.” Still, it was enough of a concern that Quintus Saturninus decided not to hand over the province to Rutilius and go to Rome early, but rather await the new governor.

“Our tribune showed up,” Salvius reported one day over a bucket of post.

“Which one?” Rutilius asked. He was sitting up now that Froydis allowed him to. “The Briton or the turd?”

Salvius laughed. “The turd. Aulus Lucanus something or other. I’ve sequestered him among the centurions for the time being. The Briton is still enroute, as are the vigiles- they got held up at Novaesium, and again at Vetera, but should be here in a few days.”

“Our auxilia?”

“Gone,” Salvius reported sadly. “They never made it past Mogontiacum before getting reassigned. Our request is still pending, was the word from Rome.”

“Supplies?”

“They did arrive, everything as requested. Milus was one happy old man.”

“Training?”

“Palla followed your orders and priorities,” Salvius affirmed. “Every century of every cohort can now form the testudo, march for three days building a camp every night, fight, and march back. They can maneuver on line, or in column, or form the square. They can perform battle drills in their sleep. That Palla is one hell of a centurion, Marmot. You pointed him in the right direction, and he has this legion trained to top form. I think we are better now than we were when we marched here from Hispana.”

“He is a good man,” Rutilius agreed. “He reminds me of your father, except with all limbs working.”

“So tell me, Marmot,” Salvius said, moving closer and dropping his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “What is going on between you and the woman? Are you finally going to settle down?”

“She is a friend,” Rutilius replied. “If she was not one before, she is one now. But that is all, and mutual. What about you, you randy goat? Did you ever hook up with that skirt you were chasing?”

“I have a formal relationship with Frieda, widow of Floris the Six-Fingered,” Salvius replied solemnly. “She lives in town, and sells linen with two other women. One is kind of nice. Want me to set up a meet?”

Rutilius smiled wanly. “No thanks. I think any bedsport now would kill me. If not, then Froydis would, if for nothing more than tearing open the wound.” He looked up to the ceiling. “Venus and Juno! I sound like a married man already.”

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“Your dagger failed,” Udo roared as he stormed into his hall and found his twin drinking ale and playing bones.

Ulfrich looked up with widening eyes. “That is not true. I felt the blade sink, felt the tremor of death, saw his blood run freely.”

“You ran away too soon, brother,” Udo chastised. “Rutilius was badly wounded, but he is healing. The man has more lives than a cat. Erwin says he is well enough now to see visitors, though he has been like unto death for over a fortnight. Strictly secret. The Romans are not fools- they know this was no accident.”

“Bah, brother, what do you care about the thoughts of Romans?” Ulfrich slurred as he poured more ale.

Udo stepped forward and struck the horn from his twin’s hand. “Rutilius knows, and he has seen your face, you bloody fool. Now they will most definitely come.”

Then he stepped back and thought over his words and laughed. It was a loud laugh, a hearty roar.

“It is as the Witch said- Rutilius will come against us in the spring- revenge for this clumsy attack. The men will be glad he is with them- he is their darling war hero after all. And the legates will be furious- the governor breaking his own peace for personal revenge. Brother, we have brought about the witch’s prophecy by our own hand.”

Ulfrich glared at his horn laying broken upon the floor. “And the rest?”

“The rest- our brethren will see the Romans come and band with us, as she said. We have already laid the groundwork for this. All we have to do in the spring is lead them to our warhost and butcher the lot of them. Simple!””

“And the rest?”

Udo scoffed. “To Hel with the rest! We shall make our own fortune, like we made this part of the prophecy come true. All we need to do is spend the rest of the winter gathering our warriors and getting them fit to fight. Oh, and have someone build some villages here and there near abandoned meadows. We would not want Rutilius to be disappointed at finding nothing until we slaughter his men now, would we?”

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“I need to talk with you.”

Rutilius signaled his opponent a break, then backed away. He turned to see Froydis standing with her arms folded, obviously annoyed with him. He dumped the helmet from his head and handed the double-weight sword to Salvius, who also took the weighted scutum.

“I lost a lot of strength over the last two months,” he said by way of apology for exercising. “I need to build that back, and show my men that their legate can still whip their asses.”

“Just do not do too much at one time, Marcus,” she said with a nod. Apology accepted, and she knew the exercise would do him much more good than harm- if he was patient. If it was one thing this Roman was, it was patient.

“What did you wish to discuss?” he asked in Batavian. Good Batavian at that, not a trace of Cananefate in either syntax or pronunciation.

She caught the hidden message- nobody here understood anything other than Latin. She continued in the same tongue. “I may have found our spy.”

That stopped him in his tracks. “A spy?”

“Two, actually. Both Bructeri, as it turns out.”

“So it was an assassination with inside help,” Rutilius mused. “Tell me, and I shall have them picked up and locked away.”

“That might be bad for relations,” she replied. “They are Bructeri, but accepted as Batavians.”

Rutilius saw how that would look- two locals picked up by the conquering Romans. He was not about to upset the good relationship Rome had with the Batavians over such. Still, there was a way to remove the threat without causing harm- verily, it could improve relations, which are built on trust. “Tell Tiberius Labeo. He can hang them.”

“He will require more proof than I can give him,” the woman replied. “It will be my word against his, and though I am tolerated- Cugerni are not Batavian either, this man and his accomplice are respected.”

Rutilius pulled her aside to a corner of the compound. “Tell me what you have,” he said with sincerity, “and what you need.”

“I need for you to die,” Froydis replied, “or at least a funeral held for you. After that, I shall make the spies go away. You need know nothing more, unless you wish it.”

“I’ll hold a funeral,” he promised. “At least Salvius will announce it as such and let a smoky pyre be lit. To Pluto with the actual ceremony! Now who is this spy, and what do you have?”

“The fletcher, Erwin, is not what he seems. He appears to be a deafened Batavian, but appearances lie. I noticed him talking to a hunter, but not in the loud voice we who know him expect, but rather hushed whispers. A deaf man cannot hear whispers, therefore he is not deaf. He did not suspect he was being observed, I gather.

“Then there is the hunter, Georg Strawhat,” she continued. “Always goes out after selling his kills in the market, and returns the next market with a new load. Funny, but all the creatures he brings in are dead for three days, no more, no less. Bructeri lands are three days away, if one has a boat. Georg does. I followed him.”

Rutilius digested the information. Yes, Tiberius Labeo would demand more evidence than a deaf man seen whispering and three-day old animals before condemning a gifted fletcher and a food-bringing hunter. But Rutilius had a memory of a surprised fletcher not expecting to see him return from testing the arrows he made. Erwin the Deaf Batavian was neither deaf nor Batavian. He was a spy, and Georg his messenger. She wanted to him to have the funeral to let Erwin send the message to his masters that Rutilius was dead. Then the attacks would cease- you do not assassinate a dead man. She was bringing him peace as he brought it to the province.

“I shall have two medici go out into town to the market for herbs, then send a runner screaming for them to come back. The day after the market, I shall have a pyre lit.”

“Have them go into town before the market, then on market day light the pyre,” she corrected. “The spy and his messenger exchange words at the market and only at the market. He’ll pass on the message then. After which...”

“I am better off not knowing,” he agreed, “for the protection of the peace.”

Froydis nodded.

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There was a commotion in the street ahead. Erwin exited the house where he fitted feathers to arrows and wandered off toward the noise. He heard people talking, wondering what the fuss was about, and saw the legion medici bolting for the castrum. He turned to a passer-by and asked loudly what the fuss was about.

“Those two came looking for healing herbs,” the man replied, loudly once he caught sight of the broken ear. “Two others came and called them back. Said it was urgent. Something about a torn wound. Roman bullshit, if you ask me.”

Erwin nodded his thanks then wandered up toward the west part of town, his eyes searching the ground for lost feathers while his ears remained open. He caught snippets of conversations in this manner, enough to deduce that a high ranking Roman had torn open a fresh wound, and was bleeding heavily. The message was almost too easy to piece together- the wound his king had inflicted may yet kill the Roman. He would spend the next few days watching the sky above the fortress.

As it turned out, the following morning was sufficient. A large pillar of black smoke rose from the ramparts, billowing up and away while trumpets played a mournful dirge. Erwin knew enough. He picked up two buckets of arrows- the last he would make here in Batavodurum- and moved to the market to sell them. He knew of at least one Roman archer who would no longer require his services- he thought with a smirk.

Georg was on time, trading two dead hares for a bucket of arrows. As always, Georg hugged the man he called his cousin and spoke loudly and caringly. His ‘cousin’ would reply, then the two would hug again, bidding each other fare well until the following market. But this time there would be no next market. Erwin would be returning home before the end of the week- back to Bructeri lands, a hero returning, or moving on to gather more information for his king.

No, he wouldn’t. A strong hand shot forth from his own darkened doorway and grabbed him by the throat. That same hand dragged him forward into his own house then shot across the neck, leaving him helpless with an arm across his neck and his throat collapsing.

A gruff voice whispered in his ear, “Give me your silver, fool.”

Erwin lifted his purse to the man holding him from behind.

“So you are not deaf,” the voice said with a hint of satisfaction. “A pity, for now you shall hear your neck snap. You tried to kill my lord. Worse, my friend. Say hello to Hel for me, spy.” With that, Claudius Victor snapped the fletcher’s neck in an awful crack and let the limp body sink slowly to the floor. Then he looked over to the woman in the shadows. “And in a week, his ‘cousin’.”

The woman nodded. “And then our mutual friend will be safe. For the time being.”

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|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII

[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 01-16-2010 @ 07:36 AM).]

Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 11-05-09 03:25 AM EDT (US)     53 / 62       
Cool!

Great chapter.

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

/\
/|||| ||||\

(dis ma house)
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 11-05-09 10:44 AM EDT (US)     54 / 62       
Great chapter. Good to see those two guys get their just desserts!

General Rawlinson- This is most unsatisfactory. Where are the Sherwood Foresters? Where are the East Lancashires on the right?

Brigadier-General Oxley- They are lying out in No Man's Land, sir. And most of them will never stand again.

Two high ranking British generals discussing the fortunes of two regiments after the disastrous attack at Aubers Ridge on the 9th May 1915.
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 11-09-09 01:51 AM EDT (US)     55 / 62       
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Georg did his duty well. He left the market for his boat, then sailed upriver past the stone walls of Castra Vetera until he recognized the oaks of his homeland. From there it was a day’s walk to the king’s hall, where he was welcomed.

A spontaneous feast was thrown at the news. Rutilius was dead, the prophecy broken. He would not be leading the Romans against the Bructeri in the spring, though both kings were sure the Romans themselves would be coming. And dying. The Bructeri would emerge as the prominent tribe among the Rhein, a position once held by the Batavians.

It was the Age of the Bructeri, proud owners of two Roman Eagles, Slayers of Rutilius, and breakers of the Prophecy of Veleda.

It was indeed worthy of a feast. And afterward, back to work. The Romans would come. And both Udo and Ulfrich wanted their people ready for them.

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In the Roman castra along the Rhein was also a feast. It was the Saturnalia, the midwinter celebration of madness that turned worlds upside down. The most junior legionary in each century was made the centurion for a day, while the most junior legionary of the legion was made legate. The legates and tribunes assumed the duties of the legionaries for the day, but the centurions wisely remained aloof- and sober.
Amid the celebration came a summons. The new governor had finally arrived. He came amid a veritable army of auxilia, and this army began to disperse itself along the Rhein and deliver the summons.

An ala of Remi light cavalry, a full cohort of Arvernii archers, and two cohorts of spearmen- one Iceni, the other Nordican- delivered the summons to Noviomagus. Leading the detachment was tribunus militum Quintus Petillius Cadorus, the long awaited tribune. Rutilius welcomed the newcomers, and had them assigned quarters within the castrum. They would fall under the command of Gnaeus Milus, the prefect, while in garrison. Cadorus and his brother tribune- Aulus Lucanus Strabo, who had been learning legionary life the hard way for the past two months- were to report to the legate. The X Gemina was now officially finished with the Saturnalia.


Marcus Rutilius greeted his tribunes at the door to his quarters, then led them in. The rooms was spacious, but Spartan- a single table, some stools in the German fashion, no Roman-style couches, and absolutely nothing on the walls. Salvius offered the men drinks, which they politely declined, but they did accept the stools set out for them before the commander’s table. Behind the table was a large wooden board hidden beneath a linen sheet.

“Welcome to the X Gemina,” the legate said by way of introduction. “This is a proud legion, with a long and colorful history. It was raised by Gaius Julius Caesar Dictator himself, and fought under his command in Gaul, Britannia, Dyrrachium, Pharsalus, and Munda. In Gaul he named us the X Legio Equestrius and used us as cavalry, and our Aquilifer was the one who jumped off the boat onto Britannia to be the first Roman to set foot on that island.

“Recently, the X Gemina, as it was renamed, served in Hispana, and marched from there to here to quell the Batavian Revolt. It is stationed here, in the castrum built by my II Adiutrix, to watch over the Batavians and to let them see the superiority of Roman ways and help them become proper citizens. We are a good legion, and I tolerate no crap from anyone- including you. Understood?”

Cadorus smiled broadly and nodded, while Lucanus Strabo simply nodded while a look of horror crossed his face. This did not go unnoticed.

“You have a problem with this, tribune?” he asked of the Roman.

“They are Germani, lord,” the tribune said. “They can never be proper Roman citizens!”

Cadorus smacked the boy across the cheek with the back of his hand at the unintended insult. “I am a Briton, tribune, but am a proper Roman citizen as well. I have served Rome for almost a decade as a tribune, a commander of no less than three independent cohorts. Fighting for Rome. Do you think your thin blue blood makes you a better man than I, who have shed thick red blood for your city?”

Lucanus wiped a small trickle of blood from his mouth and gazed upon the new tribune with vicious ice in his eyes.

“My ancestors were praetors and magistrates of Rome, while yours were savages living on the edge of the world!” the Roman replied. “Of course I am a better man than you. I am a Roman!”

“You are also relieved of duty and ordered to return to Rome in disgrace,” Rutilius said bluntly, flatly, and coldly. “I refuse to have that kind of horseshit in my legion. Has this not been beaten into you over the last two months, Lucanus? The legion has no place for discrimination or evil thoughts about fellow soldiers based on their origin. In battle, the only thing you can trust is that the man standing next to you- be he a Briton, a Gaul, a German, a Roman, a Greek, or whatever. You must trust that he will stand and fight and guard your side while you do the same for him. The enemy is the enemy- not your fellow legionaries. Go. Out. And do not return until you learn that simple fact.”

Lucanus rose and stormed out, his young face flushed with rage and shame. Cadorus looked over to the legate with a nod of approval.

“Were you not too hard on the lad, lord?” he asked. “He is young, no more than twenty, and no doubt pampered and spoiled every day of his short life. Dismissal is a heavy burden for one so young.”

“His kind infuriate me,” Rutilius admitted. “But the ruling stands. The legion is no place for a pampered whelp who considers himself above the men he is leading. A lot of good men get killed that way.”

Cadorus nodded. “Aye, lord, it is so.” He looked the legate straight in the eye. “So, lord, what must I say or do to be returned to Britannia in disgrace?”

“Disobey my commands, treat the locals as if they were slaves, rape a few women, steal some goods from the markets,” Rutilius replied offhandedly. “You know, the usual stuff.”

“The lad did none of those, lord,” the tribune pointed out. “He was simply foolish, and bigoted. The slap I gave him was sufficient.”

“You have only just got here, tribune, so you do not know, but there is a standing edict to treat all with respect. He just broke it,” Rutilius corrected him. He cocked his head to one side. “Why do you stand up for him, I wonder? He obviously would be saying simply ‘good riddance’ had it been you who were sent away.”

“I do not like his kind- the haughty nobleman,” Cadorus admitted. “But I am one myself. He must learn tolerance, true, but how better than to soldier side by side with those you despise?”

“As long as he kills no soldier with his stupidity, you are correct,” the legate retorted. “But we are upon the Border here. Civilization ends here and the wilderness begins there. He can have that attitude in Hispana, or Aegyptus or Greece, but along the Rhein or along the Danube it gets good men killed. And maybe himself as well. I will not risk it.”

Cadorus nodded. “You argue your point well, and care for your men. Quintus Petillius Cerealis was correct. I think I will like serving under you, Marcus Rutilius with no Cognomen.”

“You have yet to pass the interview,” Rutilius replied sharply, “but so far I like what I am hearing. Now, tribunus, tell me of your career.”

“I was an Iceni nobleman, who found our queen savaged at Roman hands,” he began. “I hated Romans then, as much as that pompous young ass does we barbarians. I became a warlord among our tribe, and a successful general. It was our tribe which annihilated the six cohorts of Cerealis’s IX Hispana, and almost killed him along with every legionary. We did well, we Iceni, until we cornered Suetonius in a ravine and one of our own spilled sour mash all over our plan of battle with his impetuousness. Our revolt died then, and I ended up a fighting a guerilla war until captured. Oh how I hated your kind then, Roman- evil little men who take what they will by force and strike down with cruel steel all who oppose them.

“Then I met Gaius Julius Classicianus, a Roman and a Gaul. He helped show me the fact that not all Romans were evil like the Worm or heavy-handed like Suetonius. He, then Turpilianus, then Cerealis came and showed me the wisdom Classicianus taught. Rome was like us- only stronger. It had its evil men and wicked ways, but it also had its good men and benevolent ways. I have been a tribune in Rome’s service for seven years now, though a Roman citizen for but three- Cerealis himself granted it to me. I took his name out of respect, added the Romanized form of my own as a cognomen.”

“Battle experience?”

“Plenty as an Iceni warlord,” Cadorus bragged, then sighed. “But very little as a tribune- mostly coastal skirmishes against raiders.”

“Battle experience enough,” Rutilius noted. “And loyal to your fellows, even if they despise you. I have seen enough. Welcome to the X Gemina, Quintus Petillius Cadorus.” The legate turned to Salvius. “Marcus, fetch Lucanus. I think Cadorus here argued well in favor of him. I shall give him a second chance, if he is willing to obey.”

Salvius nodded. “Come with me sir,” he said, and escorted the tribune out. He came back a few minutes later, bringing the other tribune. Lucanus stood sullenly by the desk where Salvius put him, the red mark upon his face still hidden amid the blush. He did not look the least bit repentant. Rutilius sighed.

“Cadorus argued well on your behalf, tribune,” the legate announced. “As such, I rescind the order dismissing you. You will, however, adapt an instant adjustment to your attitude. You came here as tribunus laticlavius- my second in command, a senator in the making gathering experience. You have not impressed me, lad, nor did your performance the last hour raise that opinion at all. However, due to the vigor with which the other tribune defended you, I will give you a second chance.”

Lucanus perked up at that. Some of the sullenness left his features. Slowly, but noticeably.

“You are not suitable for command of this legion,” the legate continued. “And I do not wish something as slender as the thread of my life being between my legionaries and your command of them. Thus I am demoting you to tribunus angusticlavius- military tribune- until such a time as you have demonstrated the proper attitude and ability desired among military men. Cadorus, having served Rome for seven years and thus being senior, will be the tribunus laticlavius. In all dispatches, however, both of you will be referred to as simply tribune. In this manner your current rank will not be a tool used against you in your later, obviously political, career. Do you have any problems with this edict, Aulus Lucanus Strabo?”

Lucanus shook his head. Salvation had come, and from the hands of a barbarian at that.

“Get this straight, Aulus,” the legate continued, his voice softening as he saw the message sinking in. “In this legion, we are all purple men from Gemina. No Romans, no Germans, no Greeks, no Gauls, no Britons. And we are not pale, nor dark, nor Nubian Black, nor Syrian bronze. We are not rich, nor poor, nor noble, not of the Classes, nor Capite Censi. Only Gemini. X Gemini. Those outside this castrum are citizens- not Romans, not Germani, not Batavian. Simply citizens. Do you comprehend this simple concept, tribune?”

Aulus Lucanus felt strong enough now to speak. “Yes, legate,” he croaked, then coughed and repeated in a stronger voice, “Yes, Legate!”

“Good. Palla tells me your swordsmanship is horrible but improving slowly. He also says you are a good rider, and better with the pilum than is he. I assume you can write?” A nod affirmed it was so. ”Good. Work on your swordsmanship- it will save your life one day. And do not be afraid to march among the men. They will respect more a tribune who shares their toils than a haughty, aloof slave driver. If it was good enough for Caesar himself, it is good enough for me and my officers.”

Lucanus nodded. “Aye, lord. I shall endeavor to do better.”

Rutilius nodded. “To your quarters, Aulus. Think over what was said here, and take it to heart. Go on, off with you.”

Lucanus thumped his fist over his heart and departed. He was scarcely out the door when the centurions- the twelve most senior ones- knocked and entered.

“What is this about, Top?” he asked of Palla. “The senior centurions against the legate- is this a mutiny?”

Palla laughed. “You know better than that, sir. There is not a man in this legion that would not follow you through the sands of the Sahara to cross the crocodile-infested Nile at flood to burn the depths of Germania and go back again the same way. Its about these auxilia, sir.”

Rutilius groaned. Not another discussion about origins and discrimination!

“You requested them, because we were the only legion in the province without any,” Palla recounted. “We had the VI Vascon Mixed Auxilia for a while, but some bright-eyed governor decided to take them away and make them a garrison over in Traiectum.”

Rutilius grinned. “Guilty as charged.”

“A good call, as it turned out,” Palla continued. ”It protects our flank. Now to the matter at hand. You requested spearmen and archers, and cavalry. We got in two cohorts of spearmen, a half-ala of horse, more archers than requested, and two garrison cohorts that we didn’t even ask for. Just like that. We’ve been in the army for a long time now, sir, and know how it works. You order twice what you want, and sometime a year or three down the line you get half of what you ordered. Even here on the Border. Yet you got what was requested, more than was requested, and all within a few months. Our first load of auxilia was hijacked, but we got more replacements really fast.”

“Your point? Besides my efficiency?”

The humor fell flat. “The point is sir, that this many troops are not released to legions that fast unless we are going to war. You had me train these men to the best they’ve ever been. I am still working on it- the new guys still can’t build a proper camp, though they can march through mud up to their chins. So my question to you- are we going on the campaign trail against the Bructeri? Have you pulled your senatorial strings for personal vengeance?”

Rutilius stood now, all humor receding fast. Palla had a point- he got his requests awfully fast, given army bureaucracy. He had thought it a favor from Saturninus at first, but the second load- from far away- came mighty fast. Not even Saturninus with his connections can move troops that fast. And the timing... Jupiter and Mars, it did look like he was preparing a war for personal vengeance!

“I share your concerns, Top, and you other centurions,” he stated flatly. “But I have no plans. You of all people should know that! My only concern- then and now- is keeping the peace and repelling invaders. We- both of us- saw what this legion lacked to perform that task and requested it, long before that blade tasted my blood.”

He turned with open hands to the other centurions. “You men know my honesty. I say to you now- I have no plans other than maintaining this post and carrying out the orders given to this legion. And those orders are to maintain the peace in this region. I shall not exceed the authority given in those orders.”

The centurions looked at each other, then at Palla, who nodded. “All’s plus, legate,” the centurion nodded, then added, “Its not that we don’t trust you sir. Pluto’s Freezing Nuts, sir, we would follow you anywhere, as said before. Even if it was to punish those bastards for trying to stick you under the turf. Its just that having steel try to eviscerate a man... It sometimes affects a man’s judgment. Legates who think poorly are really bad for a legion.”

“I agree,” the legate replied evenly. “It does seem suspicious, but it is not of my doing. I will be leaving tomorrow to meet with the new governor in his headquarters at Novaesium. Maybe he has plans of which we do not know. You will know when I get back, Top. All of you.”

“Novaesium, and not Vetera? Or even here?” the top centurion cried. “Is he stupid?”

Rutilius laughed as he remembered himself saying almost the same thing to Saturninus in the late summer. “I haven’t met him yet, Top. Or even know who he is.”

“Take the Remi with you, legatus,” Palla suggested. “They need to learn the countryside- even if it is just to Novaesium, and you need an escort. Those bastards who tried to bleed you, them Bructeri- they live a ways across the river from here, but have ties with the Tencteri and Marsi across from there, sir. Stay alert, stay alive. And have a good ala with you.”

Rutilius nodded at the wisdom and had the primuspilus pass on the order.



The following morning he rode out, the Ala X Gallia Remia at his side. The track led down the hill from the castrum, into the heart of Noviomagus, then turned east to follow the river. The Remi negotiated the track well, handled the turn before the market well, but stopped just outside the east gate and formed up for battle. Rutilius rode through the forming ranks before pulling up sharply himself to evaluate the eighty Batavian horsemen formed for battle before him.

Claudius Victor was in their center, obviously their commander. Rutilius narrowed his eyes and had his horse edge closer.

“What is the meaning of this, Claudius Victor?” he shouted.

“We are your Batavian Guard, lord,” the man next to Victor replied. Rutilius remembered the wound of Victor, and the resultant lack of loud voice. “Whenever you leave the castrum, we shall be with you. Wherever you travel, we follow. You shall not go to Valhalla, lord, until you are old. We have so sworn.”

Rutilius choked down a laugh when he saw the seriousness of the Batavians. He rode closer, waving the Remi back. Claudius Victor rode forward, his voice beside him.

“I know you,” Rutilius said as he saw the man riding beside Victor. “Vetera, the last battle. You led our cavalry into the German rear to give me the victory.”

“Aye,” replied the rider. His back was incredibly straight- a result of a wound earned in Rome’s service. “You have kept your bargain, Rutilius, and argued a fair peace for all. Now someone wishes to remove you and that peace. Me and these men would stop them.”

Rutilius looked to Victor, who shrugged. “They are all veterans, from one side or the other. Volunteers, though you are paying them.” To an inquisitive look, he continued, “You need a senatorial income, lord, as you said. Your farms and ranches are now producing that. But you said nothing about having to keep that income. I thought it a wise investment to raise this warband for your safety, and they consider it an honor to serve you. Dieter Straightback here is their commander, I am merely the paymaster.”

“Eighty warriors? Is that not a bit excessive for a legate’s guard?”

“A legate, maybe, but not for a senator,” Victor replied. “Some of those fools- no offense, lord- bring armies of ex-gladiators when they visit. Eighty good warriors- all veterans- who are sworn to you, in exchange for a horse, weapons, and upkeep- is quite a bargain and well within reason.”

Rutilius had to agree. One senator, travelling recently, had an entourage of over two hundred souls- mostly gladiators. Another had three hundred people, but many of those were women. Yet another traveled with a retinue that included an entire circus. And two attempts on his life made a difference. These men wanted him alive, others dead. He would accept the eighty.

“They are quartered on the farm to the east of town,” Victor continued, ”under the ramparts of your castrum. You bought that, by the way, as a horse breeding ranch. Ten of us are always in the market, in case you feel the urge to buy more arrows from another spy. We would have escorted you through the market and town ourselves, but did not see you until the first three turmae were past- and then we raced to meet you. Do you approve of my expenditures, lord?” he added with a broad grin.

Rutilius nodded, his face flushing with a mixture of embarrassment- and pride.

“Fall in around me,” he ordered. “Dieter, tell off four of your veterans to work with the Remi decurions. I want this Roman cavalry to be as good as the Batavian cavalry.”

“It will never be,” laughed Dieter, even as he pointed to four men and motioned for them to go. “We are Batavian, and they are not. But we shall do our best anyway, lord!”

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 11-09-09 11:28 AM EDT (US)     56 / 62       
Terikel Grayhair can do no wrong!

Great stuff, wot!

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

/\
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(dis ma house)
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 11-12-09 01:43 AM EDT (US)     57 / 62       
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

The journey to Novaesium was uneventful, other than the cavalry drills Dieter put the Remi through. At the castrum was another story- there the Remi were billeted in the visitor’s barracks while the Batavians had to find their own lodging. Dieter blew off the unintended slight and pointed to the roll behind his saddle.

“We have tents and blankets, and the weather is still warm, though wet,” he said, brushing off the late winter cold as if it were nothing.

Rutilius dug into his bags and brought out a small sack of coins. “There should be a town by the river, ten minutes from here through that forest. This should cover their expenses at the taverna,” he said, handing over the little bag. “I’ll have two men with me- your choice- that I can bunk with the Remi. They can gather you in when I leave. Claudius was correct- what good does this silver do if I never spend it on what is needed?”

Dieter nodded. “Very wise, Claudius Victor is. We shall await your command at the taverna. Glam! Wolf! Accompany the lord and the Remi inside.”

Two men peeled away at the command and moved to join the Remi horsemen while the others followed their chieftain down the track through the forest. The castrum of Novaesium was before them, haughty on its heights, still showing the scars of its capture and recapture nearly four years ago.

The gate guards directed the Remi to the visitors’ quarters as Rutilius said, while the tesserarius escorted the legate to the praetorium. He knocked once, then opened the door and stepped aside so the legate could enter. Then he closed the door.

Inside the praetorium were the other legates. Marcus raised a hand in greeting to Decius Paullus of the XXII Primigenia, then greeted Titus Flavius Sabinus warmly. Lucius Amensius of the XXI Rapax at Bonna passed by and they exchanged casual greetings, while Gnaeus Messala of the VI Victrix was conspicuously absent.

“He is the host,” Sabinus answered when asked. “The governor will have Messala present him to us legates.” Then he lifted a long, narrow package. “This is for you, Marcus. I heard your last one was damaged. The boys say never trust a broken bow.”

Rutilius knew immediately what was in the package, and thanked his friend for the gift. “I have nothing to give you, though. Have you broken anything recently?”

“Just a few hearts,” Sabinus said with a wink. “And you? Have you asked for that Licinia? Or has this new healer woman I heard talk of stolen your heart? Come on, Marc, spill!””

“Gossip-monger,” Rutilius growled, though with levity. “Not yet, and no.”

The doors to the inner hall opened and Gnaeus Vipsanius Messala came forward. He was armored, as were they, all, in a mostly ceremonial cuirass and with a gold-chased gladius at the hip. The formal Roman commander at a formal function. All chatter in the hall ceased as he raised his hands.

“Quintus Volusius Saturninus has returned to Rome, his tour of duty here in this province a success. Where after the Great Revolt we were just Germania, now we are once again two provinces: Germania Inferior and Germania Superior. I present the governor propraetore of Germania Inferior, Quintus Julius Cordinus Caius Rutilius Gallicus!”

The legates cheered appropriately, while Sabinus whispered to Rutilius, “Another Rutilius, eh? A cousin of yours?”

Rutilius shook his head as the governor came out. He was slightly older than his legates, mid forties was the guess, but built compactly. A shock of brown hair- streaked with red- crowned his head, and his eyes were light brown- the color of what gathers by the roots when you cut into a maple. To the legate of the X Gemina, it was an ominous thought.

And when the governor addressed his legates and explained his plans for the province- and its legions, those omens became very real indeed. The XIV Gemina and Sabinus’s I Adiutrix were formally transferred to Germania Superior along with their castrum at Mogontiacum, where they would join two other legions. One of the four of the remaining legions in Germania Inferior would be patrolling the river and its environs as per today. But the other three...

To the Bructeri across the Rhein, the plans would mean much more. Gallicus was going to cross the Rhein just after the spring floods subside. He had presented his plans personally to the consul Titus Flavius Domitianus, his close friend, and the emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus himself. Both men gave their permission. Rutilius Gallicus now had an objective: to punish the Bructeri for their infamous slaughter of two surrendered legions, and recovery of the two Eagles they stole from the butchered men. And if possible, the capture of the villain who ordered it- Veleda, the Bructeri Witch.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Veleda’s prophecy was on its way to fruition. Caius Rutilius Gallicus had just ordered the invasion of Bructeri lands, to the annoyance and disgust of his legates. The X Gemina was one of the three legions chosen for the assignment, and its men would be very glad that they were being commanded by Marcus Rutilius, a legate who knew how Germans fought and had defeated them in battle.

The goals of that invasion were almost totally verbatim: the objective: punish the Bructeri for their slaughter of two surrendered legions, and recovery of the two Eagles. And if possible, the capture of the villain who ordered it- Veleda, the witch-queen of the Bructeri.

She only got one small thing wrong. The name of Ulfrich was never even mentioned.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
So ends Part I of the Eagle and the Wolf - Remember.

Part II will pick up where this left off- thus I will not write a summary into it.

The Eagle and the Wolf resumes after a short (maybe two-week) break for the tired author.

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 11-12-09 04:18 AM EDT (US)     58 / 62       
Ah so war will be brought to the lands of the Bructeri.

Good chapter to close out part one! You deserve the rest.

General Rawlinson- This is most unsatisfactory. Where are the Sherwood Foresters? Where are the East Lancashires on the right?

Brigadier-General Oxley- They are lying out in No Man's Land, sir. And most of them will never stand again.

Two high ranking British generals discussing the fortunes of two regiments after the disastrous attack at Aubers Ridge on the 9th May 1915.
Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 11-12-09 11:10 AM EDT (US)     59 / 62       
Excellent work, Grand Master Skald!

I saw this update earlier before anyone else had posted, but the stupid school computers filtered it.

I look forward to Part II already!

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

/\
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(dis ma house)
Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 11-21-09 04:04 PM EDT (US)     60 / 62       
I'd just like to congratulate you one last time. It's people like you who make these forums so infinitely superior to places like TW Center. They don't have a superbly talented resident bard.

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

/\
/|||| ||||\

(dis ma house)

[This message has been edited by Edorix (edited 11-22-2009 @ 02:55 AM).]

Andalus
Ashigaru
posted 11-21-09 08:37 PM EDT (US)     61 / 62       
Nice work.

How many parts will there be in total?
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 11-22-09 04:55 AM EDT (US)     62 / 62       
I've got three written, working on Part IV, and ideas for Part V.

Total number of parts is dependent on how the story unfolds. It has not yet revealed its full length, not even to its writer.

EDIT: On to Part II (Tyroes in the Forest) here.

[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 02-22-2010 @ 06:40 AM).]

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