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Total War: Shogun 2 Heaven » Forums » Bardic Circle - War Stories & AAR forum » The Eagle and the Wolf Pt VI- Doom and Darkness
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Topic Subject:The Eagle and the Wolf Pt VI- Doom and Darkness
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Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 10-14-10 08:15 AM EDT (US)         
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Excerpt from The Eagle and the Wolf Pt VI- Doom and Darkness:

“You can’t go in there, quaestor,” a Samnite bodyguard told Rutilius two days later when he tried to go into the governor’s office. “The governor is quite busy.”

“I know, Papius,” Rutilius replied. “That is why he needs me. Now stand aside.”

“You know I cannot take orders from you, quaestor,” the Samnite decurion replied.

“Tell him I used force,” Rutilius said sweetly to the Samnite ex-gladiator who stood two inches taller than him and outweighed him by at least fifty pounds- all of it muscle. “Now stand aside. Or Dieter here will cut your tonkers off.”

Dieter grinned, and fingered his knife. Papius remembered the last time he got into it with a Batavian, a nobody-trooper at that. He had come off second-best. And Dieter was supposedly the best of them.

Papius stepped aside.

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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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|||||||||||||||| 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 01-22-2013 @ 01:05 AM).]

AuthorReplies:
GeneralKickAss
Ashigaru
posted 11-26-10 10:10 AM EDT (US)     51 / 87       
Very enjoyable. Dieter's quite a character.

Side question: How does one pronounce "arcani/us"? I've been pronouncing it like archangel (the stress on arc), but would the stress be on ar-can-us, instead?

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.

[This message has been edited by GeneralKickAss (edited 11-26-2010 @ 08:17 PM).]

Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 11-26-10 01:05 PM EDT (US)     52 / 87       
Arc-an-us. That's an ah, not an ay...

[This message has been edited by Edorix (edited 11-26-2010 @ 01:07 PM).]

Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 11-26-10 02:37 PM EDT (US)     53 / 87       
Cordinus reminds me of those British First World War commanders of 1914-15. Totally aloof at times.

Good chapter and finally some combat!

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 11-29-10 05:32 AM EDT (US)     54 / 87       
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“Your tribune has been gone for quite a while,” Dieter said to Messala.

“Too long,” Messala agreed. He went to the generalis, who was reading again the tally of prisoners and booty from the tiny village. Four hundred women, fifty men, and no children. Thirty oxen, twelve horses, and a pile of silver a pace across and up to his knee, about two talents all told. Not bad for an hour’s work.

“Generalis, Ceionius has not yet returned.”

“Yes, it has been a while,” Cordinus relied absent-mindedly as he gazed at the tally again. Four hundred big, blonde Germanic women- almost a small fortune in the slave markets! This was turning out much better than last time!

“You ordered him to chase the Germans until he caught them,” Messala replied bitterly. “As you have learned in our first foray here, unarmored Germani can run quite fast. Or he is dead, because you only sent two cohorts and they had much more waiting in the woods.”

Cordinus flinched at the words, and the tone. Then he looked again at the tally sheet and smiled. “Send a turma to recall him,” he ordered. “And any prisoners he took. I want to add them to my tally book.”

“No lord,” Messala said. “I am not going to let you whittle away my legion by handing the Germani a cohort or two at a time. I will leave three cohorts here with you in the village, and take the other five with me to find Ceionius. If he did run into trouble, throwing a turma of cavalry at it is the same as throwing that turma away. Now sit back, enjoy your tally book, and watch how an experienced legate handles an event like this.”

Messala turned away, and grabbed the nearest runner. “Get the scout cavalry tribunus to me now,” he ordered, while sending for his remaining tribuni. His tribunus laticlavius he ordered to command the troops in the village, while the other three were to bring the II, III, V, VI, and X cohorts to a rally point south of the village.

The cavalry tribune arrived. Messala was curt with him. “Six of your turmae patrol the area around this village- eyes for the defenders. The rest are to scout that way, looking for two of my cohorts who were detailed to chase Germanic skirmishers. Be wary, and do not engage. Scout and report. We’ll be coming up behind you in battle formation should you run into anything.”

The tribune saluted and bolted off. Messala did the same. He rejoined his legion- the part of it going to the attack- and formed them up. Then he began moving out, with the light cavalry racing to assume their positions ahead.

Cordinus, watching from the gate, marveled at the speed of the hasty and useless order. The VI Victrix was indeed a prime legion. He was not so happy to see the Galatians racing to take up positions after the cohorts, though, but it was far too late to recall them. Ah, it does not matter. This village is in our hands, and the Galatians won’t be able to soil his valuable slaves. Let them go and play in the woods.

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Messala and the cohorts were moving smartly. Up ahead, cries of battle could be heard. Dieter heard it as well, and kicked the Galatians to the attack.

A horn blew, a bone horn, not Roman. Dieter and the Galatians accelerated, while Messala wondered the meaning of the horn’s blast. He found out when Dieter and a single turma came back.

“It was an ambush,” he said. “They called a retreat as soon as we came in sight. My boys are hounding them now. About two hundred of yours are still alive. I told them to march toward you.”

“No need,” Messala replied. “We’ll go to them. I don’t want to leave Roman equipment for them to sweep up later, or Roman bodies to desecrate and infuriate us into a precipitous attack.”

Dieter nodded at the wisdom, and pointed his bloodied sword to the south. “Almost half a mile that way, legate.”

Messala met the survivors halfway there. The men were bloodied and carrying wounded, and were escorted by three turmae of Galatians. The men in the lead carried a makeshift stretcher, upon which lay Marcus Ceionius. He was still alive, but barely. A centurion reported, but Messala cut him off.

“Detail a squad to guide the cohorts,” he ordered while dismounting, “And have one of the cohorts to escort the rest of you to the village.”

He knelt beside Ceionius. There was an axe lodged in the back of the tribune’s helmet, with blood oozing from it. Messala had seen enough head wounds to know that if he removed the axe now, his tribune could bleed out and die before his eyes. He could not let that happen, not yet.

“Tell me, Marcus,” he said, kneeling over the wounded man. “What happened?”

“A chase,” the wounded man replied. “Then an ambush. There were thousands of them, Gnaeus, waiting in the underbrush. My men massacred, only a handful escaped. Damned stupid general, sending us alone.”

“I wanted to bring the legion, and leave two cohorts to invest that town,” Messala agreed.

“Had we done it your way, Gnaeus, we would have crushed them.” Ceionius coughed. The movement shook the axe, sending waves of pain throughout his body. “Had we done it your way, I would have held them with three cohorts while you bring another three into their flank. Them dead, not us.” He coughed heavily again, evidence that his wound was affecting his breathing. He would die soon, and knew it. “Tell Cordinus... tell him he is a fool. His orders killed my command... He killed us all.”

Then he spoke no more, and the seepage of blood from under his helmet lessened and ceased. Messala closed his tribune’s eyes and rose.

Dieter laid a hand on his shoulder. “Breathe deep, legate,” he ordered. “And leave your sword in its scabbard. Do not confront the general until you can do so without killing him.”

Gnaeus Messala looked into the Batavian’s eyes. He saw the same hatred of wasted men as was in his own, but he also saw controlled rage. Ceionius and two cohorts were dead. Nothing could change that. But their deaths would not be in vain if they could prevent the generalis from doing it again to another cohort.

“You are correct,” Messala admitted. He took a deep breath, and let it slowly out. His hand fell away from his sword hilt. “My being dead or in chains will not stop the slaughter of my legion. I will talk to him, rationally.”

“As will I,” the Batavian promised. “With two of us and the corpses of your dead as evidence, he might even listen.”

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The VI Victrix returned to the tiny village bearing its dead. At first Cordinus was overjoyed, thinking the men were bringing prisoners. He went pale as he realized the dead were in Roman armor, being carried on scuta.

“What is this horseshit?” he railed to the legate. “Your tribune chased three hundred spear-chuckers, and comes back on his shield? And his cohorts likewise? I had thought this a competent outfit!”

“Steady,” Dieter cautioned. “Let him blow off his steam, then slam him with his own stupidity.”

Cordinus went on, rambling about incompetence, loss of faith, and an utter lack of tactical sense shown by what he thought were veterans. It must have taken a complete moron to lose a thousand armored and disciplined soldiers to such a worthless rabble. Incompetence of an epic scale! All the while Messala and Dieter stood quietly, their rage building, while that of the generalis waned. Finally he ceased his tirade and face Messala. “And what do you have to say to that, legate?” he asked.

Gnaeus Messala took a deep breath, and let it out slowly, then another one. He silently thanked the Batavian for the relaxation trick. It just saved his general’s life and his own career. “I totally agree, lord,” he finally said. “This is indeed the result of a monumental cock-up, incompetence of the worst kind, and severe stupidity. A thousand Roman soldiers lie dead, and one damned good tribune, while the perpetrator of this heinous massacre is most likely going to get away with it.”

Cordinus was caught off-guard by the rapid agreement with his assessment. It showed. And then Messala drove the dagger in.

“Your orders were the cause of this catastrophe,” he said, just as flatly as his agreement. “You countermanded my order, which would have resulted in the death of several thousand Germanics, and sent an under strength detail to deal with unknown forces in an area out of range of our support, and added on the condition that the tribune not return without having met the enemy in battle.

“Your way might work in Armenia or North Africa,” Messala allowed. “But it is a death sentence in Germania. Ceionius followed the baiting forces- at your order- into a trap where several thousand Germanics were waiting in a prepared ambush. He never had a chance. That a hundred fifty seven men survived was a miracle in itself. Your incompetence- ordering eight cohorts to assault a village defended by less than one cohort-women at that! left him and his two cohorts hung out to dry.”

“Thousands?” Cordinus croaked.

“Thousands,” Dieter repeated, without the doubt. “The survivors said so, and the tracks left confirmed it. They fled at our approach.”

“Had we done as I suggested- hit the village with the trailing cohorts and have the forward six go past, we could have caught their force in a vise. Three cohorts would hold and fix them while another three- or five, since the trailing cohorts could detach two for support- attacked the enemy flanks. They would have died, not our men.”

“You do not know that for certain,” Cordinus retorted.

“I do,” Dieter said. “I have done it myself, when we faced the I Germanica in the last war. We teased its cohorts out of line just as these fools did to you, then swamped them. We did that twice- once on each flank, until the legion was no more than a handful of cohorts in the center of a big Batavian circle. We were eight cavalry cohorts- half the strength of the legion- yet we tore them apart. Just like what was done to you here.”

“You lie,” Cordinus shouted. It still had not sunk in. He was responsible; there was nobody to blame for his own failure.

“I would retract that if I were you,” Dieter said calmly. “No man casts my honor in doubt and lives. I am here as a personal favor to Marcus, who does understand honor. Thus I am not in your service, and slaying you would be a boon to those of this legion still living. I doubt anyone would stop me. Oh, and look! Your Samnites are all over there by the command tent- like Ceionius, too far away to do you any good.”

Cordinus glanced nervously about. It was true- Vibulus and his Samnite Guard were too far away to intervene. He looked back at the Batavian tribune, and saw him fingering his sword. I’ll get you for this, he thought to himself, even as his mouth uttered, “I retract the allegation.”

Dieter’s hand fell away from his sword, but his eyes drilled deep into the generalis. “You know little of Germania, and even less of honor. Stay away from me, little man, and you might yet live to see your side of Father Rhein again. And you owe Messala here an apology as well. You berated him for your own faults. I would have killed you, but he is the better man.”

Messala nodded at the unexpected words, then smiled inside. A beautiful set up, Batavian. I played right into your hand.

Dieter turned to leave, then twisted in the saddle to face Cordinus. “A word of advice. Stick to strategy- you are not bad at it. But leave the tactics to your legates. They outshine you there as the sun does the moon.”

As the Batavian left, Cordinus began to find his balls again. Messala saw it and stopped him dead in his tracks.

“Don’t, Cordinus,” he said forcefully, dropping all tone of respect for the man whose orders cost him a fifth of his legion. “Leave him be, and remember what he said. Remember what I said as well, and think upon it. You lead us to battle; we fight it. It has worked before for many a political general with little military talent. It will work for you, too.”


The next evening, a squad of messengers arrived from the base camp, with dispatches from, among others, the X Gemina. The town before them had fallen to a two-pronged assault by three cohorts. Some skirmishers tried to lure the assaulting units away, but they had been clobbered with cavalry at little cost. An ambush of the forces continuing to march was attempted, but was broken by the assaulting flank attack of the other forward group of cohorts. Two thousand Germanics were caught in the press; a thousand were killed and the rest taken prisoner. The X Gemina suffered less than a hundred casualties.

Damn it! Cordinus thought. Cadorus and the Xth had run into the same situation as here, yet his losses were far lower and his prisoner count far higher. Damned twice!

Messala would be happy. Cordinus would be turning over the legion to its commander, and exiting the stage of tactical battles. The brutally rude Batavian was right. He did not know Germania, and he had no head for battle. But he did have an exceptional head for strategy. It was there he should concentrate his efforts, and from now on, it was where he would.

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In the forests before the legions, Udo was making the same decision. He was a strategist, but as the failed ambush before the town on the river Ensch showed, he was a poor tactician. Luckily, Ulfrich was healed enough to lead the battles. Udo handed the command of the battered warhost over to his twin, along with orders to retreat to the east until they could link up with Hugo’s victorious warhost. It was time to escape the Roman trap while the jaws were still open.

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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
GeneralKickAss
Ashigaru
posted 11-29-10 07:45 AM EDT (US)     55 / 87       
What is the difference between a strategist and a tactician? (no, serious, no "Trojan woman tonight!")

A Germanic telling a Roman to cool off? That's fresh

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 11-29-10 07:49 AM EDT (US)     56 / 87       
Good chapter. Finally Cordinus will be put in his place.

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 11-29-10 02:31 PM EDT (US)     57 / 87       
Best update in a while. "Burn", Cordinus (as they say).

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

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

(dis ma house)
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 12-02-10 01:56 AM EDT (US)     58 / 87       
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The VI Victrix picked up speed. More tiny villages were taken, some without a fight when they saw cohorts marching by and more coming with ladders and trees pruned to rams. The Bructeri were falling, and falling fast. The only concern bothering Messala now was did he have enough auxilia to escort the influx of prisoners?

Three days and two towns later, the VI Victrix met elements of the XXI Rapax coming north. Over to the east, the X Gemina reported contact with the XXII Primigenia. The Germanic warhost that should have been crushed in the jaws of four converging legions had gotten away.

Cordinus smiled. He had over ten thousand slaves now, and hardly any casualties after that one brutal ambush. Letting Messala handle the legion was a wonderful decision. His marching the vanguard past the towns and villages forced them to spread the defenders- something that made the actual assault easier. Twice ambushes were broken without loss, though the enemy got away. In all, he was pleased.

His legions were moving well- without his interference- and success was at hand. He set his forces eastward. Somewhere over there was the civitas of the Bructeri. He intended to burn that civitas around the Bructeri king’s ears before the month was over.

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The XI Claudia was two days behind him when Sabinus saw Vindonissa in the valley below, with the castrum dominating the town and valley. Normally the XI Claudia he had met on the road south of Argentorate was based in that very castrum, but not anymore. Now it was his, far from the action. He had enjoyed the visit with the Claudian legate Caius Tettius Crescens anyway. Tettius Crescens had also gotten strange orders recently- uproot yourself from the hills around Vindonissa and move to south of Argentorate. No further explanation given. None required, either- when the governor says move the legion, the legion moves. It was just that simple. Yet the XI Claudia was given orders to move from the butt-hole of the province and towards the action, while the I Adiutrix had received opposite orders.

Crescens had an idea about that too, one that had escaped Sabinus completely.

“You know, those hills have a shitload of meadows. Rather open terrain, compared to down here,” he had said. “And your legionaries pride themselves on those bows of theirs. Jupiter knows how that irritates Clemens! Maybe he is moving you to more open ground to actually be able to use them?”

Sabinus had thought that over and nodded. “Could be. A few volleys of our toothpicks would take the wind out of any attacker. Follow that up with a rain of pila, and nothing will come even close to touching my legionaries.”

“See?” smiled Crescens. “Everything has a reason.”

Sabinus thought that over, but still did not totally agree. Vindonissa was damned near being in Italia- far, far away from where any action would be, especially if the tribes were moving north. He was moving south.

And now he was in Vindonissa. He had his centurions move the men into the barracks vacated by the XI Claudia while he and the tribunes went into the hills above for a view of their new home. To their south they could see the Via Mala rolling out of the Alps, while away to the north east they could see the wilds of Germania Magna. Suevi land, that. But the Suevi warhost was not there, nor would it be anytime soon. It was away to the north, possibly threatening his home base of Mogontiacum. To the southeast they were looking into Raetia, another province.

“Welcome to the roof of the world,” he said to his tribunes. He explained what lands they could see, and their new mission. He tried to do so in far more pleasant terms than he himself thought. “We were chosen to defend this vital strip of land, chosen above all other legions. There is the Via Mala- running straight through the mountains to Italia.”

“Most of us were here with Naevius when he brought the legion north,” a tribune mentioned. “In the same army that brought you north as well, legate. We know the Via Mala and its strategic importance.”

“Good,” Sabinus said, unruffled. “Now can anyone tell me why us?”

“The frikking bows,” one of the tribunes who had not come north five years ago said. “Auxilia weapon, but the men love it as much as the governor hates it.”

“He’s prejudiced, but correct,” said a veteran of the march north. “Put our bows on the walls along with the scorpions, and nothing is going to get near enough to lay ladder to stone. We are the best for this mission.”

“Except the enemy is moving north,” another said. “So there is nothing to defend against.”

“That will not stop us or this legion from defending this valley and the road beyond,” Sabinus concluded. “Now, which of you can point out to me likely avenues of approach for the enemy, and where they could slip in unseen?”

The tribunes examined the terrain, and soon the reasons for the move were drowned in debates over true military subjects that mattered to the legion.

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Ulfrich and Udo were staring at the ground, a few noblemen about them. In the center of the small group was a cleared section of forest floor decorated with small blocks of wood and colored ribbons. Four large, red oak leaves were grouped near one side, a smaller, green elm leaf to their right.

“This elm leaf is the remaining strength of our tribe, brother,” Ulfrich was saying to Udo. “The oak leaves are the Eagles. We damaged one, but the other damaged us. The blue ribbon there is the border with the Marsi, and the large green shred there is Father Rhein. This,” he said, placing a green oak leaf down upon the blue ribbon, “represents the Chauci and Marsi, heading back home. We stand alone.”

A nobleman reached into the pile and moved two of the red leaves closer to the brown chunk in the center of the diorama. “These were seen this morning. It is assumed the others will either follow, or take up positions on the wings.”

Udo studied the diorama. Small twigs stuck upright in the earth represented villages, while the thicker ones represented the larger towns. And the brown chunk in the middle portrayed the Sacred Grove.

“They are going for the Sacred Grove,” Ulfrich determined. “They wish to kill our gods, and thus weaken us further.”

Udo laughed. He saw other possibilities- their hall was a few hours beyond the grove. Rutilius would want his revenge. “We have less than six thousand men. How much weaker can we get and still be called a tribe?” He pointed his sword to the east of the grove. “This is their target, not the grove. The grove is merely in the way.”

Ulfrich noted the position, and remembered well the location of his hall. That hall was now ashes, destroyed in the same battle which cost him his left eye and laid him out for two weeks. He also remembered the flat, dead look in the eyes of Rutilius as his sword lunged for that eye. He had almost died that day, had Udo not dragged him from the burning wreckage- himself with a slit throat- to the Sacred Grove where the priest worked with the gods to save his life. Rutilius had shown no emotion in the brief duel. He fought, stabbed, and moved on a if nothing untoward had happened. Such a man would not care one whit for a tiny village without even a decent wall. The hall’s ruins were not the objective.

“Rutilius is cold,” Ulfrich said. “Villages and towns mean little to him.” He pointed his sword to the elm leaf. “This is his target. Us.”

Udo considered that. The grand sweep from the north and the attack on the Marsi belied that, but the subsequent converging of the legions lent the idea an aura of truth. The Roman was casting a net, and intended to catch the remaining Bructeri in it.

“By the gods, you are correct, brother,” Udo admitted.

“So do we fortify the Sacred Grove and go out in a blaze of glory?” Ulfrich asked. “There is little else we can do. We are doomed, as Veleda predicted.”

Udo shook his head. “If we fortify the Grove, we will go out in a blaze. The Romans need to merely burn it down and us with it. No, we make this last. And to do that, we fall back. Or migrate- the Bructeri move east or north until the Romans retreat. They can pillage and loot our empty villages all they wish.”

“Where would we go?” Hugo asked. “The Frisii are to the north and are not exactly on good terms with us. To the east are the Chauci- same thing. To the South, Romans and Marsi- who deserted us. And to the west, the men who drive us from our lands.”

“We pack up and head east,” Udo proposed. “We can claim the Rites of Hospitality among the Chauci and Cherusci- both had promised us aid, yet the Chauci abandoned us and the Cherusci have yet to come. We are fractured, but will survive. Again, as Veleda predicted.”

“Udo!” cried a warrior. “Men approaching- not ours!”

Udo turned, and the circle around him parted. Coming towards him were fifty men, all mounted. Behind them came a broad front of warriors- Germanic warriors. And the lead riders... Among them he could see Ricgard and Calor.

“You came back,” Udo said once they were within range of his weak voice. His hopes rose as more and more men broke from the tree-line. It was indeed the Chauci warhost, returning to fight by his side once again.

“Aye,” Ricgard replied. “We could not let you claim victory over the Romani all by yourself.”

Udo sighed in relief. “You are more than welcome to share in the glory, brother kings.”

“We brought our warriors to once again fight by your side, Udo of the Bructeri,” Calor said stiffly. “We were wrong to leave you.”

“We were fooled by the Roman thrust at Calor’s tribe,” Ricgard admitted. “We would be there still, while your people die, had it not been for a vala. She told us the Romans would come as you said, from the north. And she said we would fight in two battles. The Romans would win the first, but we would encircle and destroy them in the second.”

“Was this vala a woman of the Marsi, named Halla?” Ulfrich asked. When Ricgard nodded, he turned to Udo. “This was the woman who rivaled our own Veleda. I was with her in the winter- she foresaw our success- if the tribes came. The Chauci and Marsi are here, brother. Her Vision comes true!”

“More tribes come,” Ricgard noted. “The vanguard of the Cherusci was reported crossing my lands.”

“And the Chatti have entered mine,” Calor added. “I have heard the Tencteri and even some Suevi are with them. The Usipi have been seen in that warhost as well. The tribes gather, Udo.”

Udo looked down at the diorama, then gestured for his fellow kings to join him. As they did, a nobleman threw down more green leaves depicting the incoming Germanic warhosts. Ulfrich explained the diorama while Udo studied the pattern of leaves and twig and ribbons with undue interest. As the other kings understood what was portrayed, they too began studying it.

“I see a Germanic wolf snapping down upon a Roman roast,” Ricgard said after a moment. He pointed with his sword to the Chatti coming up from the south. They were reputed to be the best infantry in all of Germania- Roman discipline combined with Germanic lust for battle. “We turn north, then when the Chatti cross, turn about and charge. Halla’s Vision comes true.”

“We will lose a battle before we win one,” Calor reminded him.

“So we ambush a small section of the Roman army first,” Ricgard snorted. “Hit it, then run- we leave them the battlefield, so it is a defeat. They chase us north, and the jaws close on them form the south. How many Chatti come, by the way?”

“Horobard leads them,” Calor said. “So I would think as many Chatti come as Romans. Add in another half as many for the Tencteri and Usipi. I have no idea of how many Suevi come, but it cannot be a small amount, either.”

“I need the exact words of the vala,” Udo said suddenly, still staring intently at the diorama. He lifted his gaze to meet that of his fellow kings. “Veleda said we Bructeri would be fractured, but survive. In that she was correct so far- we have seven thousand men left, but sixty thousand women. A few Homecomings and we might be up to strength in fifteen-to-twenty years, sooner if clans from other tribes come to join the Bructeri. That was but a part of what she said- the rest has been proven wrong. We proved it wrong. So I need the exact words, my brothers, to interpret what the gods wish us to do.”

“Ricgard pretty much said it all,” Calor said. “There would be two battles. We would lose the first. The second would see us surround the Romani in victory.”

Udo thought on that while his gaze returned to the diorama. A spark ignited in his mind, and grew with such furious speed that it could be nothing other than a gift from Wotan.

“Halt the Chatti and the others in Marsic land,” he said, indicating that those leaves stay south of the blue ribbon. Ricgard, you lead your Chauci and Calor’s Marsi to the north of the Sacred Grove. When the Romans come there, I’ll send word and guides to the Chatti. They cross, and come up from the south and west. Bam. The Romans jaws are squeezed shut in a Germanic muzzle, as Halla predicted. Victory.”

The kings nodded. “That would work,” Ricgard said. “But we must lose before we win.”

“I’ll handle the loss,” Udo said bitterly. “I will take the remnants of my warbands and try to bloody their nose. I will fail, of course, but in failing I will get them to chase me. I will pull back to the ashes of my hall, here, and await your coming.”

“Brother!” Ulfrich cried. “Let me lead this running battle!”

“You are but recently returned to Midgard,” Udo said. “And we need no battlefield genius to lose against the Romans. I have proven my ability to do that totally alone. You, my brother, can go to our hall and fortify- but leave it before I come running to man the defenses you shall build. I will lead the army to defeat, then you three can lead yours to victory freeing our warhost form the trap into which I shall lead it.”

Ricgard thought over the plan and nodded. “You are taking an exceptional risk,” he said solemnly. “It speaks much of your valor. Frankly, I did not think of you as so brave, despite your charging into the Roman jaws before to rescue Ulfrich from death or slavery. Now, without pressure, you volunteer to lead a suicide task to catch and hold the Roman attention. You will most likely die- and know it- yet you choose to do so anyway.”

“I am king,” Udo said bitterly. “If any must die so his people could live, it is the king. It is my duty.”

“There are many who do not think like that,” Ricgard admitted. “I am glad the slayer of my father is a man who does. You are a worthy king, Udo.”

Udo had almost forgotten that incident, and was still trying to forget the awful aftermath of it. All he could manage was a simple nod, then dismissed the kings and nobles to carry out the plan upon which they had just agreed.

In all the talk of prophecies and valas concerning the upcoming battles, one simple but crucial piece was neglected. Udo and Ulfrich verified the words, and the source. But the target of the prophecy itself, was ignored. Halla spoke the prophecy to three Roman auxiliaries. Their battles, their fate.

Udo was throwing himself onto Roman swords in the false belief that the words were aimed at the Germani.

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

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
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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 12-02-10 11:11 AM EDT (US)     59 / 87       
... how did I/they miss that? Cunningly crafted, Terikel.
Ulfrich noted the position, and remembered well the location of his hall. That hall was now ashes, destroyed in the same battle which cost him his left eye and laid him out for two weeks. He also remembered the flat, dead look in the eyes of Rutilius as his sword lunged for that eye. He had almost died that day, had Udo not dragged him from the burning wreckage- himself with a slit throat- to the Sacred Grove where the priest worked with the gods to save his life. Rutilius had shown no emotion in the brief duel. He fought, stabbed, and moved on a if nothing untoward had happened. Such a man would not care one whit for a tiny village without even a decent wall. The hall’s ruins were not the objective.

“Rutilius is cold,” Ulfrich said. “Villages and towns mean little to him.” He pointed his sword to the elm leaf. “This is his target. Us.”
- Do you think we should tell them Rutilius isn't in charge?
- ... nah.

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

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

(dis ma house)
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 12-02-10 04:34 PM EDT (US)     60 / 87       
Great chapter. So the Germanic tribes unite once more like they did in the revolt of Seval.

Can't wait to see what happens next!

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.
GeneralKickAss
Ashigaru
posted 12-03-10 10:09 AM EDT (US)     61 / 87       
I am enthralled.

EDIT:
... how did I/they miss that? Cunningly crafted, Terikel.
Missed it too, totally. I like the "natural" strategy map of oak and elm leaves.

Sense of foreboding for the Germani.

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.

[This message has been edited by GeneralKickAss (edited 12-03-2010 @ 10:26 PM).]

Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 12-06-10 03:03 AM EDT (US)     62 / 87       
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Quintus Julius Cordinus Caius Rutilius Gallicus pored over his map. His legions were spread out, but not too far- a Roman juggernaut crashing through the Germanic forest and destroying everything in its path. His legates were handling the mission beautifully, and all he needed to do was provide a little direction- as they told him. And by the gods, it was working well!

Now he had a problem. Two Bructeri hosts had been encountered- one hurt his VI Victrix, the other got itself mauled by the X Gemina. And now a third was before his two front legions hitting and running- guerilla warfare. He knew it well from Armenia, but as he had been told time and again, this was not Armenia. Still, there had to be some way to counter this incessant raiding that was slowing his advance. He hoped to find the answer on the map.

He knew his approximate location, and the possible location of the enemy warhost. It was not a large warhost, but it was an irritating one. He tracked the encounters across the map, plotting each little skirmish. And saw a pattern.

“Summon my legates,” he ordered a guard. By Jupiter’s lightning, this is why!

The legates arrived by evening, bringing several prefects and tribunes of the auxilia with them. Cordinus had his slaves pour them watered wine, then gathered them around the table. He pointed out their locations, and where he thought the enemy to be, and then showed them the tiny path of crossed swords indicating skirmishes.

“What do you see?” he asked.

The legates looked. He could see it in their eyes and expressions they saw the same thing he had. Amensius put it to words.

“They lead is in a pretty arc around this tiny forest and the village near it,” he said. “They do not want us going there.”

“Correct,” Cordinus related.

“That is the village which housed the King’s Hall,” Dieter added. “A tiny place, with walls a horse could easily jump over. Nothing worth defending there, especially since we burned that hall to the ground a few weeks ago.”

“That does not change the fact that they are trying to lead us around it,” Messala noted.

Dieter nodded- it was true. And irrelevant. He pointed to the trees nearby. “This is more important to them. This is a Sacred Grove to Wotan, their chief god. It is that they wish to shield from harm.”

“Bullocks,” Cordinus sneered. “Sacred trees? Trees can be replanted. It is the village they wish us to ignore- even a tiny one with poor walls and ashes for a hall. Their civitas- the center of their tribe. If they lose that, they lose much face.”

“Romans care about face,” Dieter reminded him. “Germans care about blood and the gods. Valhalla is our paradise, where we feast and fight and fornicate for eternity. One must die in battle for the Valkyries to come and chose among the fallen those who have earned the right to enter Valhalla. They lead you away from the Sacred Grove, lord, and give a rat’s ass about that collection of hovels.”

“Their king has been seen leading the warhost harrying ours,” Cordinus said. “Evidently he has returned from the dead, or Rutilius was mistaken when he said the king had been slain. Germans value blood? That king shed his blood there, and is trying to earn his ticket to Valhalla by battling us. That is where he would have us avoid- where he had once been shamed.”

Dieter acknowledged that was a good thought- a Germanic thought. But his heart still thought it was the Grove, and his mouth echoed that.

“It could be both, or either,” Cordinus admitted. He too was learning. “So we take them both, in turn. This is my plan: I want the XXI Rapax here in the east of the village- your task is to screen the east in case other tribes come. X Gemina, you do the same here, oriented to the north. The VI Victrix will deploy here to the west as my reserve. The XXII Primigenia will have the honor of assaulting this tiny village with poor walls.”

“A good plan,” Decius Paullus agreed.

“Of course you agree,” Messala teased. “You get to assault the civitas of the tribe most responsible for the deaths of the V Alaudae and XV Primigenia, and get first crack at whatever booty is in that burg.”

“After securing that objective- and hopefully having its king in chains,” Cordinus continued, glancing at the Batavian tribune while he elaborated, “The VI Victrix will turn about and attack the Sacred Grove. It is holy ground to the Germani- I want it desecrated and razed. Do you remember Suetonius and the Druids of Mona? That kind of destruction. We will show their king in Roman chains and the superiority of our gods to theirs. Break them in body and soul, as per the Will of Caesar.”

Dieter pointed to the south. “You have legions screening east and north, with the reserve in the west. Who screens the south?”

Cordinus snorted. “There is no need, Batavian. South is the Lupia and our navy. Nothing can come from there.”

“I have heard there were Marsi in the pack we killed by this outpost,” Dieter reminded him. “They came once. They could again. And the river is long for a small fleet to hold.”

“The Marsi are still smarting from our raid,” Cordinus stated flatly. “Two legions invaded them, if you do not recall. They burned and captured many villages before crossing north. I doubt the Marsi will come north after that.”

One could tell from the Batavian’s face that he doubted that- Germanic warriors flock to where there is blood to be spilled- river or raid or not. The tone of the statement, however, left nobody any doubt that the generalis believed the south safe. Nobody would call doubt onto that belief without proof- and none had any to give.

“Then it is settled. You legates and commanders know what I want. Make it happen,” the generalis concluded.

The legates left smiling- the generalis was indeed learning.

The tribunes had less confidence, but with no evidence, they must obey the orders.

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

Navarchos Titus Piscius was cursing as his men hauled yet another river galley from the shallow river by the Witch’s Tower where it had gotten stuck. He was cursing because he knew better. This was the third galley in less than a day to run aground in the shallow water.

“I sailed this not two months ago,” he muttered to himself. “An entire day’s sail past this place, in galleys laden with an entire cavalry cohort. No problems. Now this. Three in a day!”

“I cannot understand it either,” shrugged a coxswain. “In Martius we could sail freely. Now we can barely come near the Tower. It is as if the river fights for the Germani.”

“It is a German river,” Piscius said as he spat into the shallow depths.

Then he cursed and kicked himself. Two months ago! Spring floods! The river was higher then- something that bloody Batavian knew, and he had forgotten. In the summer, the ships did not go past the Tower- the water was too shallow. The fleet captain had let his experiences during the Spring Floods erase those of the past summer. Idiot!

“Signal the fleet,” he ordered. “We do not patrol past this point.”

“But the orders say to patrol the entire river!” argued the coxswain.

“Then get off my ship and patrol it on foot,” Navarchos Piscius retorted. “Because there is no way in Pluto’s Realm our boats can get up there unless we carry them.”

As an afterthought he added, “Oh, and have someone sail back down river to inform the mud-striders of the situation.”

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

|||||||||||||||| 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 12-06-10 05:57 AM EDT (US)     63 / 87       
I wonder what the Germanic tribes are planning?

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.
stollyrock
Ashigaru
posted 12-06-10 08:00 AM EDT (US)     64 / 87       
I can smell an attack from the south... The Romans will regret their decision not to screen it :-)
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 12-09-10 02:59 AM EDT (US)     65 / 87       
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Roscius did not have to travel all the way to Rome as he had planned to do. Just over the mountains and through Mediolanium, he met Caesar’s son Titus and a cohort of the Praetorian Guards coming north.

Titus was hard to miss. The Praetorians were in gleaming armor which reflected sunshine all about them, and their purple crests could not be mistaken. The man in their lead, still swarthy from his time in Judea, was a slim and younger version of the Imperator himself, whose countenance appeared on many of the coins the scout had acquired in his swift ride. There was no mistaking the Son of Caesar.

Nor was there any stopping him. The arcanus was still dressed in his field clothes- that is, German breeks and cape, and had yet to shave. To the Praetorians, he was just another German roaming the land, and there was no way they were going to let someone like that near their darling prefect. So Roscius waited until they passed, then turned to follow them at a respectful distance.

The cohort’s commander sequestered his prefect in a villa outside of town for the night. Roscius found the soldiers to be very pretty, but not very good at security. He slipped through their outer patrols and close-in perimeter, was inside the villa without their knowledge. The first they knew of his presence was when he suddenly appeared in the hallway which led to the Imperator’s firstborn.

“Halt!” the guardsmen yelled, lowering pila.

Roscius halted. “I bear news that Titus Flavius might find useful,” he said. When the guards laughed uncomfortably, he added, ”His father wants the news pretty badly, or he would not have sent me across the river six months ago to get it.”

That did not impress the praetorians. One kept him covered with a pilum while the other moved forward to take the sword from his hip. Roscius let him do so. He also let him take the heavy bag from his left hand. He did not let him take his purse, however.

“The bag is for your lord. The one you are reaching for is mine, praetorian,” he warned. “No harm in there for anyone but the man stealing from me.”

The praetorian, sword in hand and with a comrade covering the intruder with a pilum, laughed and reached for the purse. Roscius turned sharply, connecting his elbow to the gap between the praetorian’s helmet and shoulder, dropping him to the floor with a loud thud. Then he spun the other way, dodging the thrust of the spear and slapping it away to make sure. His other hand was scooping up the dropped bag. He whirled the bag heavily and let it collide with the face of the surprised praetorian. The head inside wore no helmet, but the dead feel no pain. The living man wearing the helmet could, and reflexively tried to block the missile. Roscius stepped quickly forward and lashed out with his foot. He caught the praetorian on the knee, bending his leg back at an impossible angle as the kneecap shattered. Then he picked up his sword and bag and knocked politely on the door.

The door burst open, and two more praetorians came out to investigate the clatter. Roscius greeted them with hands raised, his sword dangling innocently from his right hand and his left containing the bag. Titus remained in the room, watching curiously from behind his desk, as the praetorians relieved the intruder of his weapon.

“Gaius Roscius, arcanus, requests permission to report concerning Germania Magna, lord,” he said as one of the inner guards examined the outer guards. Roscius cast a quick glance over his shoulder. “They’ll live, though this one may not walk again and that one will have a really bad headache. Their own fault- they wanted to split my meager purse.”

Titus waved the praetorians back. “See to the wounded,” he commanded. “And have someone take their places here.” Then he looked at Roscius. “You were on the road this afternoon. A German, I thought.”

Roscius nodded. “Many have thought that, lord, but I was born to proper Roman parents on the Clivus Suburanus in the Eternal City itself. May I lower my arms now, lord? This bag is frikking heavy.”

Titus laughed and granted the man entrance.

“You cease your journey to tail me, to report to me, whereas before you were killing horses to get to my father,” Titus recounted. “Why?”

“You are the Prefect of the Praetorians, Lord Titus,” he replied. “As such, you are the commander of the imperial intelligence services, under which fall we arcani. You are the lord to whom we report. I was heading south to find you. I did.”

Roscius went forward to the desk. “Lord, you and your father ordered several of us into Chatti lands just after the Saturnalia. We were to watch the barbarians and give word if they gathered for war. They have. Most of my comrades are dead. My partner Sollus died a week ago, lord. Killed by a spear from this guy.” With that, he emptied the bag onto the desk. The head rolled out, its tongue lolling about, and its eyes open glazed and pale. Titus picked it up and examined it.

“A Suevi, lord, from the southern reaches. He was in the vanguard of a large warhost of Suevi, moving through Chatti lands- unopposed! The Chatti themselves were already gathered for war-which initiated our journey here- but they did not head south to fight these intruders onto their tribal lands. No lord, they moved north. They are heading to Germania Inferior.”

“That’s quite far from their lands,” Titus noticed. He looked up from the head he was examining. It was indeed recently dead and unmistakably German . “Are you sure?”

“Very,” Roscius said with a nod. “There came envoys in the winter, asking for aid. Horobard, the big poo-bah of the Chatti, promised it, despite the pleas of a witch to refuse that help. Messengers came recently, and Horobard called up his boys and headed north. They passed by my stead- I counted over ten thousand in that column. Sollus, further away, saw a like number moving north as well. Then we headed for the river and ran into a warband of Suevi.” He pointed to the head. “That topknot marks him a warrior of the Suevi. I killed him north of Mogontiacum, but not by far- way out of their area. I took the head as proof, in case I needed it.”

Titus sat back. “Impressive,” he said to the arcanus. “A witch, you say? Asking them to refuse to help the northern tribes?”

“I didn’t catch her name,” Roscius admitted. “But even I have heard tales of her reputation. She’s the real deal, lord. She said something to the effect that if Horobard goes north, it would set the tribes back three hundred years.”

Titus would have laughed, but instead sat forward. Roscius wondered why, but Titus gave no hint. “Did Horobard believe her?”

“I don’t think so,” the arcanus reported. “Otherwise he would not have gone north.”

Titus relaxed visibly. “Bad news for our northern army, but excellent news for the Empire as a whole. The Witch was probably right, by the way.”

Roscius looked puzzled. “You want the boys in Germania Inferior to die?”

“Heavens no,” Titus replied. “That is why their orders were to go across the river and make a big fuss. Rutilius Gallicus was told explicitly to recover the Eagles of the lost legions- one of which he already recovered- and then punish the Bructeri for their breach of honor in massacring our soldiers whom they had promised safe passage. We received a confirmed report that the Bructeri were very weak, and the second Eagle was located. Gallicus should be able to cross, punish, and recover and be back across the Rhenus before that Chatti warhost comes anywhere near him. But we do want that Chatti and as many Suevi as possible to go to Bructeri aid.”

Roscius thought that over, and added in what he saw along the road to Mediolanium. The XIV Gemina in Mogontiacum, the VIII Augusta in Argentorate, the XI Claudia south of them, and the bow-wielding veterans of the I Adiutrix in Vindonissa. Plus reports of the VII Gemina moving towards Vindonissa...

“Clemens is to invade the Hyrcanian Forest!” he exclaimed.

“All the way to the Danubian defenses,” Titus confirmed. “Eliminating that spearhead poised to strike our West at its weakest point- the end of the Via Mala, gatehouse to both Italia and Gaul.”

“The Witch was definitely correct then- him staying about would have allowed him to help out the Suevi when Rome claim their lands. With him going north- he is out of position.”

“And the Germani threat to Italia and Gaul is crushed once and for all. Clever, eh?” Titus asked.

“A masterpiece of subterfuge, lord, but risky. Very risky,” the arcanus added. “Forty to fifty thousand Germani are descending on Rutilius Gallicus.”

“If he remains there, which he should not,” Titus reminded him. “I’ll send an order telling him to return to base to make sure- his mission is already accomplished. He drew the Chatti away from our real target. I’ll post it with my orders to Clemens to begin his operation. I was heading there to take command, but if it is as far along as you report, arcanus, then he must begin at once, while I am tied down here for a few days.”

“You might want to reconsider that,” the arcanus said bluntly. “I have talked with many auxilia and veterans on the way here. I have a reasonably good picture of the situation up north, and it is not pretty. Gallicus, or Cordinus as they call him, is neither familiar with Germania nor popular with his troops. Nor is he particularly bright.”

“Explain.”

“Cordinus is across the river with all four of his legions, lord, and moving like molasses,” Roscius said. He cut no corners and spared no emotions. “He has a pretty bright quaestor guarding the border- a quaestor commanding about a dozen auxilia cohorts all told. Every other swinging pecker in the province is over there, lord- facing forty to fifty thousand Germanics they neither know about nor expect. The border is for all intents and purposes wide open. If Cordinus and his legions go down, there is not squat between there and Massilia or Hispana that can stop the German flood.”

“Jupiter’s Balls!” Titus roared. “He cannot be that stupid! All four legions?”

“And most of the auxilia.”

Titus cursed. “I must hurry then.” He pulled a scroll from a bucket nearby and handed it to the arcanus. “New mission, Roscius. Find the man who wrote this.”

Roscius opened the scroll- noting the intact wax hanging from a flap, and began reading. He read the detailed plans of the attack into Bructeri territory, and whistled.

“Clever plan,” he admitted.

“Yes, but you’ll notice he had three legions involved,” Titus countered. “I have heard rumors from the area saying he took four legions- which I discounted before you just confirmed them- and is operating on a different plan.”

“He operates away from an order approved by the Imperator. That’s dangerous.” Roscius said. “And cagey.”

“With reason,” Titus said emphatically. “That scroll you just read was intercepted between Vindonissa and Mogontiacum, on its way to the Germani. A copy with a false plan was sent instead, and from the deployment of the Germans, they received it. The information in it came from Rome, thus this scroll traveled from Rome to Vindonissa enroute to Mogontiacum. Someone else is working that end, while I trace the route and find out from them the extent of this spy network.”

Roscius backed away. “I’d knife him for you lord, but I am an arcanus- a scout. You need a spy for city work- I work in the field.”

“I need a man who knows how to dig up information- which you do well- and can think on his feet, as you have proven,” the prefect replied. “One who can take out two praetorians with bare hands, and move around without arising the suspicion and terror the praetorians instill. In short, someone unseen who will not cause people to clam up immediately. You are the only one in my service here who can do that.”

Roscius thought it over. Titus spoke true- the praetorians intimidate by their very presence. Nobody would speak to them casually, negating their effectiveness in investigation. He, on the other hand, is hardly seen- an arcanus’s invisibility and ability to blend in are his strongest traits.

“Aye, Lord,” he said. He lifted the scroll. “I will find this traitor for you.”


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

It took Gaius Roscius less than fifteen minutes to confront the man who sent the plans. He merely walked to the town center, turned right, and knocked on the third door, under the Bull sign.

A servant girl opened the door, invited him in, and sat him down in the atrium. A few minutes later he was greeted by a merchant in a short Greek-style tunic more suited to the weather than the longer Roman version.

“Gaius Roscius!” the man said warmly upon recognizing the visitor. “Calypso, bring my guest some wine. Come Gaius, into my chamber. My gods, it has been years since I have last seen you!”

“You are looking well, Septimus Tullius,” Roscius replied as he followed the trader into an office chamber. He accepted a goblet from the servant girl with a silent thanks and sipped carefully. It was watered like he liked it, so he took another sip. “Business seems to agree with you.”

“Calypso,” the trader said, pointing to his guest, “meet Gaius Roscius, one of the more faithful guards any merchant could hire. I haven’t seen him since Verginius crushed Vindex back when Galba was still in Spain.”

“It has been a while,” Roscius admitted.

“Business here is good, I can tell you,” the trader replied. “Our smiths have received many orders for armor and the leatherworkers just as much for sandals. I tell you, Gaius Helvidius was a genius to invest in that foundry.”

“About why I -” Roscius began, but was cut off by the eager merchant.

“Our vineyards in Gaul are coming along nicely as well,” the merchant continued. “Do you know we recently invested in looms there? The Gauls are producing wonderful tapestries now- very popular in Rome. And affordable, too. And I am working on a Spanish connection for olives and peppers. I hear the palate of Rome is changing, and I want to get in on it before that rascal Crassus corners the market.”

Roscius sipped his wine and let the flood of information sink in. Same old Tullius. How in the world did he make money when he blabbed his secrets about to almost anyone? Eventually he slowed.

“So what have you been doing, Gaius? You must have lots to tell- it has been years. Years!”

“Our operation in Germania fell apart, as you know,” he began, only to be immediately interrupted.

“I figured as much!” the trader interjected. “For several years nothing, then Laurentius started up again. Are you here to re-establish formal contacts?”

“Shut up and listen,” Roscius replied hotly. “Laurentius is not starting up again. He’s dead. He caught a stray arrow during one of the German sieges of Mogontiacum. Killed him instantly. Most of the others are dead too- Sollus a week ago. Only I am left of our once merry band of merchants.”

“Caius Laurentius? Dead?” Tullius wondered, in shock. Then he shook his head. “No, no, you must be mistaken.”

“I was right next to him carrying pila to the wall when he died,” Roscius admitted. “Arrow to the neck. He’s dead. I buried him myself. And Sollus just a week ago.”

“Mercury and Hades!” Tullius exclaimed. “That cannot be true! I still get packages for him.”

“That’s what I need to talk to you about,” Roscius continued. “After the revolt, I needed a job, so I rode post for a while. Six grueling months over the Via Mala between here and Vindonissa. I hated the cold winds and poor pay, so I sought a job in imperial service. I was made a scout, Septimus. My time in Germania made me perfect for it.”

“Imperial agent Gaius Roscius?” laughed the trader. “Now I have heard everything!”

Roscius fished the damning scroll from his pouch. “Your seal, Septimus. Inside was another scroll- sealed as well. Both were bound for Mogontiacum.”

Tullius examined the seal, then the second seal. He sat back and crossed his arms smugly. “Yes. See? There is the proof you were wrong. That was sent for Caius Laurentius Catullus, and I forwarded it.”

“And because there were no more merchants or wagons between you and Laurentius, you bribed an imperial rider to deliver it for you, yes?”

“Of course,” Tullius said, astonished that a man like Roscius even needed to ask. “It is far cheaper than hiring a courier myself, and the post rider is going that way anyway.”

“You bloody fool,” Roscius said lowly. “The rider slipped it into the imperial post bound for the same posting, where another was paid to fish it out. And of course you did not open the second seal, right?”

Tullius was horrified at the accusation. “Open personal post?!? Why Gaius, you and I both know we never do that! Its dishonest!”

Roscius nodded, and unrolled the second scroll. He handed the battle plans to Tullius. “This is what you forwarded, Septimus. Battle plans! And they were intended for the Germans. That is treason. Maiestas!”

Tullius’s jaw dropped several inches. He was stricken speechless. “I had no idea!”

“You were used,” Roscius stated. “I would like to know by who.”

“I thought the scroll was purchase instructions for amber and furs, like usual,” Tullius wailed. “Burrius always sends his purchase orders sealed.”

“Titus Burrius?” Roscius asked. “The merchant-prince of Rome?”

“Aye,” Tullius replied hoarsely, knowing he may have just sentenced his friend and associate to the same death he himself expected. Treason!

Roscius put an arm around his quaking friend. “Majestas requires voluntas,” he reminded the merchant. “You did not voluntarily provide information to the enemy. You were used. I have some influence; I will use it to help you. But I need something. Are you sure this came from Burrius?”

Tullius stood and rummaged through his table. There were sheaves of notes and papyrus everywhere. Finally he picked up one and gave it to the scout.

“This was inside that scroll,” he said, handing it over with a quivering hand.

Roscius took the small papyrus note, and pitied his friend. He walked into the room a happy man; now he was told a close friend was dead and he himself had committed treason of the worst sort. He read the note. It was indeed from Burrius, though smudged with sweat and wine, and simply said to forward the scroll to Q. Laurentius Catullus in Mogontiacum.

Roscius rose. “I am going to take this, if you do not mind. It may save your neck from the blade.”

Tullius thanked him profusely. Roscius nodded curtly, then departed swiftly. He did not want to tell his friend that his influence was as limited as a scout’s to the Imperial Heir, but he would find out soon enough.

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

|||||||||||||||| 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 12-09-10 11:23 AM EDT (US)     66 / 87       
I have to admit that these sub-plots and back-stories are just as interesting as the main storyline. Masterful as usual, Terikel.

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

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

(dis ma house)
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 12-09-10 11:33 AM EDT (US)     67 / 87       
Haha poor Tullius. But what will it mean for Cordinus and his four legions?

When the arcani and Titus mentioned the clever quaestor helping Cordinus they meant Rutillus right? By the way where is he?

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.
GeneralKickAss
Ashigaru
posted 12-10-10 09:26 PM EDT (US)     68 / 87       
My official favorite character has now become arcanus Gaius Roscius. Poor Dieter will have to try harder...

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 12-13-10 02:18 AM EDT (US)     69 / 87       
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Roscius returned to the camp of the praetorians that very night. This time there was no hassle. The praetorians escorted the arcanus to the Prefect.

Roscius put the papyrus forward onto the table before his lord. “I found the owner of the seal, lord,” the scout reported. “He was a merchant, who bribed a postal rider to forward the package. He did not know what he was forwarding- he assumed it was merchant purchase orders and the like. I believe him to be innocent of any wrongdoing.”

Titus looked over the note. It was on thin papyrus. The addressee name was damaged, but clear enough. “QL.U..TIUSCATULLUSMOGONTIACUM. Q..Quintus? Lutatius? Quintus Lutatius Catullus! The quaestor of Germania Superior? He is the intended recipient? He is the spy?”

Roscius looked over the addressee. “That’s a C, not a Q, lord,” he pointed out. “Gaius Laurentius Catullus. I knew him.”

“Then that is our spy!” Titus exclaimed.

“Doubt it,” Roscius said. “He caught a stray arrow during one of the three sieges of Mogontiacum in the last war. He’s dead, and has been for several years now. Tullius, the man who forwarded this, had no idea what it was or that his friend was dead. I believe him.”

“I shall bring him in for questioning nonetheless,” Titus determined. “He may even survive it.”

“He knows nothing lord, and anything you do press out of him will be false. Trust me, lord. I know this man well. He is naught but a loyal Roman who was used, and that without his own knowledge.”

“So he is useless. He can go back to being a nobody,” Titus cursed, and began pacing. “This is frustrating. We have proof of treachery, from one man to another. You tell me the one knows nothing, while the other is dead.”

“You have bigger problems than chasing down a private messenger service, lord,” Roscius said flatly. He breathed a quick sigh of relief for his friend, but needed to fully distract the Imperial Prince or Tullius may yet pay in blood. “You need to get to Rome. Those plans. They came from Rome. Somebody high up there stole them, and used a merchant network to move them to the enemy. Tullius has connections in Rome- his patron, a backrow senator named Mallius, his competitor and friend the merchant prince Titus Burrius who sent the note, and a few others who are clients.”

“I think I need to question this Burrius fellow,” Titus determined. “Mallius is a nobody, a wealthy man who never once opened his mouth in the Senate. He is content to enjoy his wealth and status and not need to work to keep either. He is too lazy to commit treason for no gain. Burrius, on the other hand, likes to dabble in politics, trading his wares for support on various issues. This may be his way of getting revenge for some imagined slight, or lost trade deal.”

Titus made up his mind. “You go back to Mogontiacum and find out who has been receiving a dead man’s post. I want that German connection- and I want to know if they knew what they were sending. The lack of secondary instructions or forwarding notes leads me to believe that the recipient of this knew well what is was and who it was to go to. I want to know everything he knows.”

“He betrayed me and my partner,” Roscius replied coldly. “You will know everything he knows, before I slit his throat.”

Titus nodded. “Fair enough.” He turned a cocked head to the arcanus. ”You seem to know a lot more about this merchant business than an arcanus in the field could glean. How?”

“Gaius Laurentius Catullus was what you would call a ‘guy who could get it for you’,” Roscius said. “No matter what- the prettiest slave girls, the finest amber, the softest furs. These he sold to Tullius, who sold them to Burrius, who sold them to the wealthy in Rome. How did this guy get these things? Well, he hired guys like me. I also doubled as a guard when he wanted to sell his wares directly in Rome and skip the middleman. Our whole network crashed during the war, though. That’s when I turned my hunting skills to scouting for the Empire.”

“Then you would know who the contacts of Catullus would be.”

“Aye, lord,” Roscius said, thinking back. “He had some contact with the Suevi merchant Aethelric Sigurdsson, a Gaul named Burnix, and a Roman named Decimus Licinius in Germania, but only sporadically and solely in materials. Never did they ask for special packets to deliver- or received any that I knew about.”

“Go to Mogontiacum and find out,” Titus commanded. “Put any suspects to the question. Use torture if you must, but get that information.”

“You are going to Burrius,” Roscius noted. “I’ll keep in touch, sir.”

Titus gripped the arcanus with both hands upon his shoulder. “You will report only to me,” he commanded. “And only in person. Do not be seen. Do not get caught. And above all else, do not bring discredit upon my house.”

“Aye, dominus!” Roscius said emphatically. Titus was heading to Rome. Tullius was safe. And he himself was going back across the cold Via Mala into Germania.

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

The XXI Rapax was moving easily through the woods. The Remi scouts had long ago learned the lesson that clearings were danger areas, and waist-high scrub brush on the forest floor even more so. So when they approached another area where the bushes began to grow, they knew it to signal a clearing ahead where the sun could penetrate to the forest floor- and a potential ambush point as well. Thus they began trying to find the flanks of the clearing to get behind it and see what hid within its skirts.

Demos and Beric led their squads north, while Arturus and his squad headed south. The tribune would lead the others slowly forward but with every intention of whirling about at an instant’s notice. They inched forward, while the flank-finders galloped. And together they teased the warhost hiding in the brush to reveal itself with a shower of arrows and javelins.

Tribunus Publius Sennius had seen enough. The frontage, the location, the depth- there were several thousand Germani in front of him. He had found the enemy warhost. Mission accomplished. Now, to live. “Retreat!”

The Remi scattered, becoming elusive targets diminishing into the distance until they were out of range of even the best archer. There they regrouped, reformed, and held their distance to keep an eye on the warhost while one turma rode off to report.

Cordinus was excited. The enemy warhost was found where he had expected it to be, and it numbered less than a legion, as he had thought. The XXI Rapax was close by. It was a simple decision for him to order Lucius Amensius to engage the warhost.

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

|||||||||||||||| 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 12-13-10 05:38 AM EDT (US)     70 / 87       
So let us see if Cordinus learned his lesson on how to conduct a battle!

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 12-13-10 06:16 AM EDT (US)     71 / 87       
Do not forget the prophecy...

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

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

(dis ma house)
GeneralKickAss
Ashigaru
posted 12-13-10 06:39 AM EDT (US)     72 / 87       
Ah, hanging on the cliff, aren't we?

There's a bit of everything: the battles, the politics, the secret service, the merchant networks, the mystic fortune-tellers.

Ingredients of a magnificent tale.

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 12-16-10 01:47 AM EDT (US)     73 / 87       
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

“They come,” a mounted scout reported. “Behind the scout screen- a full legion. It is the Eagle of the Birds of Prey, the ones that had so recently pestered the Marsi.”

“His scouts have doubtless informed him of our numbers and deployment,” Udo whispered. “So no surprises.”

He gestured his nobles closer. ”They come,” he announced. “Here is where we play our part. Javelins and archers for the first wave, then a single rush. Do not get bogged down in battle! You are of no use to the tribe dead. A single rush, make it look good, then I will signal with the horn. Then, and only then, will you cease. Understood?”

The noblemen nodded.

“We are to bloody them, without getting bloody ourselves. Hit once, then on the horn- back to the village. You all know the way. On the horn, scatter and regroup there. Ensure you are followed!”

“If the Romani break apart to chase us?” asked one nobleman.

“Use your judgment,” Udo wheezed. “If you are more than two to their one, try something but be quick about it. Otherwise we need your strength in the village, where we must hold out long enough for the rest of the tribes to get into position. Understood?”

The noblemen nodded.

“Our tribe’s future lies in your hands. Bructeri, we fight!”

The nobles resumed their positions with their bands. The Romans were close enough now to be seen. Bushes added no protection from pila, nor were they useful for concealment now. No, now it was time for blood to be spilled.

The Romans came closer. Udo could count seven hand standards in two rows. Three were missing. He knew instinctively that the other three were moving around a flank, to fall on him from the side or rear. Have fun, Romani. We will not be here when you arrive.

The Romans stopped, confirming his suspicions. They were allowing their flanking cohorts to get into position. Such was not the plan of Udo. He had his hornsman blow a double blast- Charge!

The noblemen turned the blast into words. “Forward, spears at the ready!” Closer, they echoed, “Now!”

Spears and axes flew, to be answered by a shower of pila. The archers behind took their last few potshots in ragged volleys before the warriors were too close to separate friend from foe. Useless now, they ran toward the village.

The Germanic impact knocked the first ranks a few steps back, but the line held. The Bructeri fought hard, but their efforts were futile- whenever they managed to bring a weapon upon a Roman body instead of shield, it was invariably repelled or deflected by the thick armor. The return stroke of the Roman found often soft flesh. Still the Germans fought, sometimes in teams where one would pull on a Roman scutum to haul a man out of line where another could butcher him. Others thrust spears into Roman faces to distract the target long enough for another to stab into the ranks.

The Bructeri brought Romans down, but not enough. The Romans were stabbing the Bructeri down mercilessly, killing three for every legionary knocked out of line.

It was enough.

Udo nodded, and the hornsman blew a single, long blast.

“Wotan!” roared the Bructeri- a battle cry turned into a signal. The Romans braced for a renewed effort, and were caught standing still when the Bructeri suddenly bolted from the field.

Realization set in a moment later. There was no hidden horde coming to the flanks. The enemy was broken! And retreating in scattering groups.

“Let loose the legion!” Amensius ordered. The signals blew, and the legion broke into individual groups chasing the foe. There was little hope of catching the fleet-footed, unarmored woodsmen, but still, he could try.

Later that evening he would write his report to the generalis.

“Battle report. XXI Rapax. We engaged the enemy. Six hundred Bructeri slain, the rest of the warhost jack-rabbited away. The survivors sought refuge in a fortified village. Two hundred casualties, of which fifty eight dead. Rest expected back in form within two days. Missing another hundred or so chasing fleeing Germani, but expect them to trickle in over the night.

Village fortified with wooden walls. Reinforced with internal towers. Fresh wood- it will not burn easy. Estimate two to three thousand enemy warriors inside, and maybe as many as five hundred civilians. Suggest siege in place of assault.”


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

Titus Flavius Sabinus and the tribunes of the I Adiutrix were on the hill overlooking their new home for the umpteenth time, looking over the castrum and its environs and discussing- again- the various ways an enemy could approach and how they would defeat him. Sabinus was bored with the recitation, but there was little else for the officers to do. The centurions were training and drilling the legionaries, the auxilia did their own thing in their areas, and the officers had squat. So he allowed his attention to wander, and that’s when he saw it.

Moving down the Via Mala was a nice procession of men in tight blocks. Each man gleamed when the sunlight hit him, and in the fore of each little block was a pole decorated with discs and hands. A bright glare from the middle of the procession confirmed his idea- that glare could only come from a polished silver object about a cubit long- a legionary Eagle. There was a legion on the move.

“Sextus,” he called to a tribune. “A legion approaches from Italia. Take a squad of riders and find out who they are, and more importantly- if they are here to replace us. There might be a way back into the coming war yet!”

The tribune saluted and bolted off before he had to recite the defenses of the eastern wall again. He returned to the castrum a half-hour later, bringing with him the legatus of the VII Gemina.

“Titus Flavius Sabinus,” the legate of the I Adiutrix said, introducing himself. He held out his hand to his fellow legate.

The older man shook the hand. “Manius Gellius Plautus, legatus VII Gemina,” was the reply. Gellius was shorter than Sabinus, but at least ten years older. His hair was dark like Sabinus, but his eyes a shade lighter brown. A lifer, risen to legatus and staying there instead of going back to the Senate.

“Are you coming to relieve us?” Sabinus asked hopefully.

Gellius shook his head sadly. “No such luck, I am afraid. I am ordered to bring my legion to Postal Station Switchback Ridge between here and Argentorate, and stay there until further notice.” He glanced about, noticing the river and the town. “I would love to trade, to be honest. Parked in the middle of nowhere bears no appeal, but orders are orders.”

“I know,” Sabinus added ruefully. “I know it very well.”

Gellius laughed. “I am sure you do, nephew of the Imperator.”

“Well, no sense taking my frustrations out on you, Manius,” Sabinus said with a nod to his aide. “Stay the night and share the hospitality of the I Adiutrix while you are first here. Maybe we can run an exercise tomorrow- your legion against mine?”

“Acceptable,” Gellius agreed. “The middle of nowhere can wait a day or two.”

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

Cordinus cursed when he read the report from Amensius. Village fortified with wooden walls. Reinforced with internal towers. He threw the tablet onto his table with a satisfying thump. So much for the word of a Batavian.

He thought over this new development, and how it affected his plans. It did not, he realized at once. It slowed down his timetable, but the hindrance of decent walls had no other effect. A full legion was going to assault the village within those walls. The Germans had a preponderance of fighting men in the tiny village, but those men required food and the village was not large enough to support them for very long. A few weeks, at most, and they would come crawling out, starving and ready to trade their freedom for a crust of stale bread.

Unfortunately, he did not have a few weeks. Post had come with the supply caravan, and amid the post was a tablet with an imperial seal. Titus Flavius Vespasianus Junior, Prefect of the Praetorians and Imperial Heir, was quite explicit in his order.

Your mission is terminated immediately. Well done, Quintus Julius, your mission was successful. You are now hereby ordered to cease and desist all offensive operations and return your army by the quickest route back to your province. Acknowledge and comply.

Titus Flavius Vespasianus Junior


Mission successful? he wondered aloud. My mission was to recover the Eagles and punish the Bructeri. I have indeed punished them- sixteen thousand slaves, two thousand horses to include six hundred warhorses, and a pile of booty collected so far, but only one of the two lost Eagles. I was on his way to success, but still was far from it.

Yet the Prefect of the Praetorian Guard was not a man one disobeyed, doubly so since he was also the son of the Imperator. He was speaking for his father, who had given him this mission, which made his words law. Cordinus cursed, then looked again at his map. The XXI Rapax was in position, and the other legions were screening the east and north. With a few simple words he could re-orient his army westward, accomplish both missions within a day, and still be in compliance of his new orders. It may take a day or two extra, but the booty and satisfaction of avenging his dead friends and recovering the lost eagle would more than make up for that.

One more day or two will not matter, he thought. We are too close to actual success to turn back now. First the punishment, then the Eagle, then we leave.

He brought up a few fresh tablets. Now for the orders finishing this mission the correct way. He wrote rapidly, his thoughts coalescing as he stared at the map. The VI Victrix would attack and raze the grove, while the XXIInd would take the village. The XXI Rapax would cover them as it moves back toward the grove, with the X Gemina merely turning in its tracks to begin the exodus. It was simple, direct, and infallible.

Satisfied, he had couriers take the new orders to his legates.

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

“The Romans took Udo’s bait, Ricgard,” Ulfrich reported. “They are besieging him as we speak.”

“And the other Eagles?” Ricgard became the acting war king with the entrapment of Udo in his civitas. Ricgard felt it cosmic vengeance- the man who had slain his father and then held the severed head to his anus was now trapped in a tiny village with very little food and a lot of Romans around him. His life was in Ricgard’s hands- willingly placed. Udo had offended him, but this act of bravery and trust redeemed him.

“The Eagles that had trapped my brother moved off, allowing other Eagles to invest him. Another legion is in the north, while a fourth prepares to raze our Sacred Grove to the ground.”

“So our plan to lure the Romans away from your holy site failed,” Ricgard summarized. “These Romans- I do hate them so. They always seem to know exactly where to strike to hurt us the most. First the Marsi, whom we were pledged to defend. That forced us there. Then against your people, weakened by war- how many thousands of women have they carried off? The future of your tribe, sold as slaves. And now at our gods. This will end. Here.”

He looked to Ulfrich. “Send your fastest horseman to the waiting Chatti. Have them come at once, this very night if they must. Send a second runner to the Cherusci warhost shadowing the Eagles in the north. Tell them: Tomorrow we attack. If we are to have any chance to save the Sacred Grove of Wotan, it is by closing the jaws on them tomorrow, before they can do more harm.”

Ulfrich nodded. “It is as you say, Ricgard. Our only chance to save the grove is by attacking- whether we are ready or not.”

“We are ready,” Ricgard noted. “And we shall be victorious. Halla has seen this- Udo lost a battle, and now we shall win. The Romans are nicely compact for us now- her Vision comes true.”

“Aye,” Ulfrich agreed. “If the Chatti are not too far away, victory will indeed be ours.”

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

Cordinus was not entirely stupid. Not this time. He had small patrols out before his legionaries, deep eyes for the dark woods. These men noticed the brush moving closer, and saw the moonlight reflecting from steel as men marched toward the sleeping Raptors. They counted for a few seconds, then mounted up and stole away in the night to report the approach of a mixed warband of Marsi, Chauci, and Bructeri.

Other light horsemen, deployed before the X Gemina, noticed another, much larger warband approaching. This warband made no effort to conceal either themselves or their movement. Why should they, when they outnumbered the legion facing them by three to one, and that legion did not expect to face Germans in any number?

The sky was already lightening when the scouts poured in to the command area. Each of them from north and east had the same report- the Germans were coming. Thousands of them, from the north and the east.

Cordinus cursed. This was not the time or the place to be attacked. This was attacker country- heavy woods providing cover from missiles, negating his horsemen. Upwards of twenty thousand Germans were descending upon his legions, and he was caught in deep woods. He fought down the panic, brutally suppressing it, and reached for his map. He needed defensible terrain, and close at that. His fingers landed on the spot almost of their own volition. The Sacred Grove.

He studied it. It was a small forest really, with its own spring- an excellent base camp. The area around it was cleared and hard, excellent fields of fire of the archers and javelineers and no possibility for the enemy to launch a sneak attack. To both the north and south of it a marsh to bog down cavalry and swallow infantry. Defensible terrain, and literally in his back yard.

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

Dieter awoke with a start, literally jumping from the bed in a fluid, cat-like motion. One hand snaked his sword out of its scabbard while his other reached for his axe. A second later he slowed, then put down his weapons to rub his eyes.

“What is it, Ragus?” he asked of the decurion who so rudely woke him.

Ragus, the senior Galatian decurion, almost applauded the way his prefect awoke. Had he been closer, he was sure he would have been slain. He looked with new respect to his commander, and realized why the aide had instructed him to wake the commander with the pole instead of his hand.

“New orders, Dieter,” he said, stepping closer to hand over a tablet. “We are to escort the immunes of two legions to a new location and provide them with security while they build a base camp.”

Immunes don’t do heavy labor, that’s why they are immunes,” Dieter explained. “They direct. So who is performing this labor while we are nearby? Certainly not us!”

“There are several infantry auxilia as well,” Ragus said, pointing to that section of the order. “They will, and the legionaries when they show up.”

Dieter read the order in its entirety. Then he cursed. “Ready the cohort for movement, Ragus, but do not move out until the others do. I am going to see the general.”

Dieter found Cordinus in the midst of a moving legion an hour later.

“I hear we are to build a camp near the Sacred Grove,” he said bluntly. “May I ask why?”

“No, you may not,” Cordinus replied abruptly.

“Then I must figure this out on my own,” Dieter said just as bluntly. “I hear that the VI Victrix will be helping with this camp. I know they were to attack the grove after the XXII Primigenia attacks the village. You are moving west with the XXIInd, which means the XXII Primigenia is no longer going to attack the civitas. We are retreating to defensible ground, which the area around the grove is, and building a camp or two there big enough for several legions. All of which means the Germans have been spotted and in numbers far greater than expected. Am I right?”

Cordinus said nothing.

“And being a Roman with experience in the East,” he continued, “you feel it best to fort up in a spot where the enemy must come to you, so you can thrash him.”

Cordinus looked up sharply at that.

“Suetonius, fifteen years ago,” Dieter replied. “He was lucky. How many Germani are spotted and where?”

Cordinus said nothing, but an aide informed him that ten thousand or so were before the XXI Rapax and another fifteen thousand or so were near the X Gemina, closing in.

“So you retreat to better ground and await the onslaught,” Dieter reasoned. “Foolish. You will get us all killed.”

“How do you mean?” Cordinus replied angrily. He was incensed that this auxilia prefect- a German one at that- could read from a few clues his entire battle plan. And then mock it!

“You are choosing good ground,” Dieter admitted. “But it is ground that the enemy knows well- this being his home. He will find a way to pin you onto that ground then come at you from where you least expect it. Every day he delays your army is another day that more tribes can join in the slaughter. It was the same for Varus many years ago, Germanicus after him, and Suetonius fifteen years ago. As I recall, it ended badly for Varus, Germanicus cut his raid short, and Suetonius won because a foolish chieftain destroyed the British battle plan. He was extremely lucky, Gaius Suetonius was. Had the British followed their plan, I would not be here now. All of us on Britannia would have been slain. Think of Varus and Germanicus, Cordinus. Our fate will fall between those two.”

“Varus- slaughtered. Germanicus- victorious. Suetonius- exceptionally victorious,” Cordinus recounted. “I like the progression. I shall add to it Cordinus Rutilius Gallicus- crushing victory.”

“It is you who will be crushed,” Dieter predicted. “You assume the enemy shall line up opposite yours, and charge blindly forward. Your planned deployment tells me this. What if the monkeys here do something different- like come from the rear, or cross the marshy areas in the night to stand on your flank in the morning? Fighting the defensive battle shall get you killed.”

He pointed to the legion marching around them. “These men are hardened veterans, disciplined and armored warriors- aggressive in the attack, unstoppable in the assault. This is attacker’s terrain. Use your brain, little man. Send the VI Victrix to Cadorus and the X Gemina to have them hold those fifteen thousand in the north while Paullus and Amensius attack those monkeys to your east. Then sweep around to fall on the flank of the ones pinned by Cadorus and Messala. Attack and crush your foes! That is the way to victory, not sitting on your duff in the forest waiting to be attacked!”

Cordinus shook his head at the peregrinus prefect. “You leave us open to a counter-attack,” he said. “What if the Germans harrying Cadorus withdraw, and fall upon Paullus and Amensius instead? I lose two legions. No, let the Germans come to us where we can butcher them properly.”

“You are an ass,” Dieter replied with an uncomprehending shake of his head. “Or your head is so far up that orifice of yours that yours eyes have turned brown.”

“And you are relieved of duty!” Cordinus shouted. “Immediately! I shall not have prefects who cannot obey orders, nor who question my judgment. Vibulus, arrest this man!”

Dieter drew his sword. “I am not one of your officers sworn to uphold Roman ways,” he reminded the generalis. “I served voluntarily as you needed good advice which I just gave to you. You in turn just dismissed me, returning me to my former status as privatus. I am now a privatus outside your province- where you have no jurisdiction. Vibulus, you touch me and I will run this sword through your gullet.”

The Samnite backed off, and Dieter backed away from the generalis.

“I will be going home now,” Dieter announced. “I suggest you leave it at that. And keep eyes in all directions- including the south.”

“Get out,” Cordinus snarled.

Dieter rode back to his former cohort.

“Ragus, you are in command now,” he announced abruptly. “Keep the boys occupied, and let none of them give you any shit.”

“Where are you going? What happened?” the Galatian asked, stupefied.

“I have been relieved for telling the generalis that his plan is asinine,” Dieter cursed as he stuffed his belongings onto his horse. “I was a privatus before I took command; I am again a privatus now that he has relieved me. So I am going home.”

He grabbed the horns of his saddle and pulled himself up. Then he gave Ragus a few good pieces of advice. “Keep the men together, and in formation at all times. Damric has a tendency to drift right- keep an eye on him. And don’t get bogged down in melee with Germanics- your horses do not terrify them and they are better in close combat than you.”

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

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
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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 12-16-10 04:18 AM EDT (US)     74 / 87       
“You are an ass,” Dieter replied with an uncomprehending shake of his head. “Or your head is so far up that orifice of yours that yours eyes have turned brown.”
Epicness.

Terikel, you jist stole a good quarter hour of my last-minute chemistry revision. I hope you are satisfied.

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

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

(dis ma house)
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 12-16-10 11:05 AM EDT (US)     75 / 87       
Great chapter. We shall see if Cordinus will be punished for his choice of terrain to conduct a battle.

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.
Aftermath
HG Alumnus
posted 12-17-10 07:03 AM EDT (US)     76 / 87       
The conflict between Dieter and the Generalis was very well written (as if I should expect any less). Tense, gripping and humourous but not at the cost of the tension in the atmosphere.

The last paragraph or two in particular where Dieter departs creates an ominous feeling.

A f t y

A A R S

:: The Sun always rises in the East :: Flawless Crowns :: Dancing Days ::

"We kissed the Sun, and it smiled down upon us."
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 12-20-10 02:24 AM EDT (US)     77 / 87       
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The Remi cavalry shadowing the approaching Germani to the east were good- they ran in squads keeping tabs on the Germans and sent regular reports back to their tribune, who kept the general informed. Orders were passed to the ala the same way.

One turma cursed at its new orders. The thirty man unit was pulled off of its assigned sector and assigned a new one- far to the south, away from the Germans.

“Probably scouting a new home for the generalis,” muttered one cavalryman. “Methinks he wants to build a nice house down by the river when this is over.”

“More likely he wants us to find a path to the navy, to bring the supplies up quicker,” replied another.

“Yeah, the camp prefect of the XXIst does not have his head straight,” commented a third. “Milus of the X Gemina was much better. Never missed a trick, that Milus.”

By morning, they were singing a different tune. Twenty men rode north at the gallop, twelve of them would make it to the empty camp, but only five would find the general- and that too late to make a difference.

And three of them, having remembered the words of a Germanic seeress, would head southeast toward the late morning sun and so slip through the gap between the eastern warhost of led by Ricgard and the southern approach of forty thousand disciplined Chatti warriors.

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Cordinus had his men deployed in a large wedge, fifteen cohorts facing the northerly Germans, fifteen facing the eastern Chauci, and the VI Victrix in reserve. He felt confident. There were auxilia on either flank, hidden in the brush, to ambush and harry any flankers the Germans might send. The area before the ends of his lines were marshy bogs which negated the advantage of cavalry, and he had good open fields before his men- prepared with caltrops, hidden pits, and concealed spikes. Let the Germans come! He would whip them more soundly than Suetonius had the Britons!

That confidence was not shared by his legates. Each of them could read a map- and each had seen what the departed Batavian had said- move to the attack, pin the one force in place and throw everything at the other, then gang-bang the other with all four legions. This was mentioned, but Cordinus was firm- they shall bring the enemy together and bag the whole lot.

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“They stand in the field to the east of the grove,” a Bructeri scout reported to Ricgard and Udo. With the miraculous withdrawal of the Eagles preparing to assault his civitas, Udo and his warband were released to join the Chauci and Marsi. “They have built three or four earthwork burchten further west, surrounding the grove, on the spot where Ulfrich and the warhost were this spring. About two miles from where they now stand ready for battle.”

“Are the forts guarded?” Udo asked. If the Bructeri could swing north through the forest and fall upon unguarded forts, the Romans would have no burrow into which to crawl. He would have them.

“I have seen men moving around in them,” the scout replied. “Men in warshirts, with swords and spears.”

Scheisse,” he muttered lowly. “It was worth a thought. Where are the Cherusci now?”

“They are stopped before the Romans. Their chief is skilled- he has not let the Romans see the true size of his warhost. He is awaiting your word as war king before he makes a move.”

“And the Chatti?” Ricgard asked.

“Horobard and his men have crossed the river between us and the Marsi. He is heading north as we speak. He should be here before the suns dips below the tree-tops this day.”

“Shall we wait for the Chatti?” Ricgard asked of Udo.

The hoarse king shook his head. “No,” he decided. “Giving them time gives the Romans time to find our allies. Then they will run in the night. We are no Harii to fight in the night- they will escape.”

He paused, thinking. “We attack- when the sun is just past its zenith. Inform the Cherusci to attack when they hear our warhorns. We both fall upon the Romans and thus grab their attention. We hold it firmly, with attacks then retreats, then more rushes. They will put their eyes on us- and never see the Chatti coming up behind them. Then, my friend, we will have them all. And with their fall opens the Rhein and beyond to Germanic arms!”

Ricgard nodded. Udo’s plan smacked of brilliance- and he saw that it could indeed work. Of course it would- the Marsic vala had foreseen this very event. The Romans surrounded and defeated. And the aftermath... A dream indeed coming to fruition.

“I shall take the order to the Cherusci,” Calor said. “My Marsi are closest to them.”

“Done,” Udo agreed with a nod. “My horn, my signal. No mercy.”

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Dieter was heading home. To him, that meant heading in the most direct route, which in turn meant crossing rivers only once, which in turn meant he was heading to where the Lupia emptied into Father Rhein. There he would swim the river as Batavians were wont to do, dry off on the Roman side, then head down the River Road to where Milika should be about ready to deliver their firstborn. The stupidity of the generalis still weighed upon him, as did the sudden end of his command of the Galatians. Good lads, those Galatians, though misguided by their previous prefect.

Traveling with such weighty matters left him a bit distracted. Though his senses told him he was heading in the correct direction, they failed to alert him to danger, until a harsh voice shouted in atrocious Latin, “Halt, Roman! Throw down your spear. You are now our prisoner.”

“The hell I am!” he roared back in German. His sense and wits came alive. He lowered his spear toward where the voice came from the bushes and roared a battle cry. “Wotan!”

To the bushes, he added, “If you wish my spear and sword, bandit, come and take it.”

Five men came from the brush. Two carried cudgels, while three had spears. All had seaxes on their hips and a francisca in their belt. Their clothing was nondescript- war clothing, and wore no other metal than that scabbarded in their belts. The patterns in the clothes, hair, and the weaponry allowed him to recognize them. Usipi tribesmen. He raised his spear. They were twenty paces away- enough space for him to lower the spear if need be.

“You are far from your lands, Usipi warriors,” he said curtly. “And dressed for war. Bandits, I assume, come to raid we Bructeri now that Romans plunder our land?”

The words confused them. He wore a Roman warshirt, rode in a Roman saddle, yet spoke and looked Germanic.

“We are no bandits, Bructeri warrior,” the leader of the five said. He gestured to the spearmen to raise their spears slightly. “We are the eyes of our warhost, who see a rider in Roman armor, sitting in a Roman saddle, and riding with the straight spine of a Roman cavalryman, coming into our sight.”

“The Roman warshirt shed steel better than did my buckskin shirt or furs,” Dieter replied. “And this saddle works better than the one I had before. Spoils of war.” He shifted his spear to this left hand, and drew forth his war sword. “This, however, was made for me by my father. Look at it, Usipi. Do you know of any Roman who can use such a length of steel? And as to my posture... An old wound, made by a Roman pilum, locks my back straight in a continuous, painful spasm.”

“Show me this wound,” the leader replied. The rest of the tale did make sense- Roman warshirts were prized trophies. It was said the Cananefate harvested more steel than grain a few years back, more than enough to equip the entire tribe should they wish. The Bructeri had similar success. If this man had fought well enough to earn both a shirt and a saddle, he may indeed be a worthy warrior.

Dieter saw the belief in the man’s eyes and rode closer. He jabbed his spear into the earth, then dismounted, loosened his belt, and hiked the warshirt up and turned about. The ugly wound he had been bearing for fifteen years was prominent, as were the locked muscles through which the pilum had torn.

“There is another wound here, by my neck, where the priest pulled the shaft from my body.”

The leader of the Usipi bowed. “We believe you, Bructeri warrior. May I ask why you are here, alone, and heading away from the coming battle?”

Dieter pulled himself into his saddle. “I slept with the wrong man’s wife,” he said with a grin. “And was duly tasked to scout out the old Roman outpost rebuilt on the river last year, to see if the cockroaches have again taken it in use.”

“Outpost?” asked the Usipi.

“They built a little fort on our land last year. We drove them from it, but they might want to use it again. I am to see if they have. And why are you here, exactly?”

“A huge warhost of Chatti and Suevi warriors came through our lands heading north,” the Usipi replied. “Our king, Octa, had never seen so many warriors. There were more warriors than there were people in our entire tribe,. That many. We were impressed, so we joined. As have the Tencteri.”

“The Tencteri do have fine horsemen,” Dieter allowed.

“As good as the legendary Batavi, it is said,” the Usipi replied. “It is said that when the Batavi split out from the Chatti, they took the best horsemen with them, leaving the Chatti with naught but fine foot-bound warriors.”

“I have heard this, too,” Dieter admitted neutrally, without displaying either grin or pride. “Good luck, Usipi. I hope to return before the battle ends.”

“Good luck, Bructeri,” the Usipi replied.

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The sun was climbing when the Germans took the field. For an hour, the Cherusci and other tribesmen traded insults with the Romans, taunting them to leave their solid lines and fight man to man like true men. And for an hour, the centurions kept their men in formation and ready for the inevitable assault.

It felt more like three hours, to both the men taunting, and those being taunted. And to the kings, who decided the Chatti must be close enough. If they were not, then the Romans might escape. Thus Udo nodded to Ulfrich, who had the honor to start this final battle on Bructeri soil. He pursed his lips, placed the horn tight against them, and blew out a thunderous blast.

Other horns echoed the signal. The German lines let loose a mighty roar, then surged forward in a flood of men seeking to shed the blood of their enemies.

The surge was uneven. The Cherusci were closer to the X Gemina than the Chauci were to the Raptors, and had not had the recent experiences of being at swords’ points with Romans in generations. This made their attack quicker, less hesitant, and above all more enthusiastic to come to grips. They rushed forward in a wave, with their king Otho in the fore. The Romans did not move except to raise their pila into position. Then, thirty paces from the Roman lines, the Cherusci charge faltered.

Men stopped in their tracks, hopping on one foot and holding the other which had been pierced by a caltrop. The hopping men were knocked over by those behind, and the whole battle-wave was thrown into disarray.

“Throw!” shouted the centurions.

A desperate volley of pila smashed into the German line. Some men were alert and caught the little spears on their shield, where they bent and hung useless. Others were caught unaware and felled like pole-axed oxen.

“Ready shields and second volley!” shouted a hundred centurions. “Wait for it... Throw!”

The second volley was less devastating, as the Germani knew it was coming. They raised their axes to throw, then did so as a hundred men shouted “Shields!”

Many axes either stuck in the wooden planks or glanced off. A few found flesh, and here and there a formerly-curious Roman fell to the ground with a francisca between his eyes.

Then the Cherusci surged forward, a tide of angry men, hurt men, and men roaring to wash their steel in the blood of their foes. Many died when they came face to face with the might of Rome, their swords, axes, or spears falling uselessly from lifeless hands as the efficient Roman gladius stabbed into their exposed bellies and drained their life away. Yet the press was hard and the impact knocked many a Roman back- those who had not locked shields were knocked helpless to the ground where others finished him off. If he was lucky, a comrade from the second rank would step forward and cover him while he regained his feet, or simply pull him out of danger.

The cohorts buckled under the initial charge, but discipline and efficiency was far superior to anger and aggression. The Cherusci killed many, but they lost many, many more. The Roman horns sounded as the adrenaline of battle began to wear off. Those Romani on the front line fell back, and the second rank stepped forward. Fresher than the Germans facing them, they killed and killed far more than they lost.

Otho was hardly in condition to do anything about it. A legionary had stepped inside the swing of his mighty sword early on in the battle and gutted him like yesterday’s fish. He lay dead upon the field, his sole contribution to the battle was tangling the foot of a legionary so that he too could taste death.

The Cherusci had enough, for the moment. Tired and worn from battle, they ceased their press and withdrew from the Romans, even as a third wave of fresh Romans replaced those tiring men of the second rank. Beyond them was a fourth rank, and beyond them was the refreshed first rank. It was enough for now. The Cherusci fell back to reform and catch their breath.

Over in the other sectors, much of the same thing was happening. The Chauci and Marsi had pushed into the Raptors hard, but it was too little, too late, and with the same result. They too fell back to regroup.

Cordinus was beaming. The Germanic assault, that vaunted tactic of which he had heard tales and feared, lay broken before the solid stonework of disciplined troops. He was vindicated- the evidence lay dying before him. Let the Germani come, he had said, and we shall crush them as we just did. He ordered his legions to hold their positions, confident that victory was at hand.

“Why is that fool letting them rest?” Messala wondered. “Why does he not order the advance, that we may hammer them while they are weak?”

Cadorus was wondering the same thing. He also had less discipline than did his Roman comrades, and more archers. He signaled his Arvernii with a wave of his sword, and used the point to describe an arc leading toward the resting Cherusci. The centurion commanding the archers nodded and bellowed an order. Arrows pierced the sky in clouds, falling among the unarmored warriors whose ancestors had destroyed three legions not far from here.

The Cherusci wailed at the sudden barrage. A second and third volleys landed in their tight-packed warriors before they began moving. They could not retreat due to the press behind them, so they moved forward to close the gap.

Cadorus welcomed them with two fresh volleys of pila and a wall of swords and shields. Ten minutes the Cherusci fought angrily, wasting precious strength and energy while the Romans dealt them death by the dozens. They broke, again, and this time retreated out of range of the deadly shafts.

Paullus noted the premature attack of the Cherusci and deduced its reason. The XXII Primigenia had some archers itself- Syrians, the best- which he now used. He wished for some artillery, but wishes were useless when he knew his artillery was back in Vetera. Still, he managed to bring down a couple of handfuls of Chauci before they wisely moved out of range. Cagey, that one, he thought. Their king must still be alive, and smart enough to rest his men before coming again.

Cordinus noticed the withdrawal of the Chauci and cheered. He called his couriers to him quickly, and issued orders for a hasty attack. The XXII Primigenia was to pursue those retreating Germans, while the XXI Rapax joined them. The VI Victrix would replace the XXIInd on the flank of the X Gemina.

Messala received the order and cursed. Then he galloped toward where the generalis was celebrating his victory.

“Rescind this order!” Messala shouted, who moments ago had been wondering why the generalis let the Germans rest. This was different- the first was to drive the Germans further away then return to position; this order was the pursuit away from that strong position. “Are you deliberately trying to get us all killed? Stop and listen to reason, lord!”

Cordinus waved the anger away with a laugh and pointed to the retreating Germani. “We have absorbed their vaunted charge, and now they flee like rabbits. We should pursue and eliminate them once and for all!”

“One does not pursue an enemy capable of destroying you,” Messala reminded him by quoting the famous text. “The Germans are far from finished. They are merely resting- at your command!- before they come again. Cadorus teased them into an attack when they were not fresh and slaughtered many before they fell back out of range. Paullus and Amensius are doing the same- but those Germani are cagey- they are merely pulling back out of range. They’ll come again- and soon! And we will be out of position by this order or yours. Rescind it! Now!”

Far from finished? Cordinus cringed. “What do you mean, far from finished?”

“Germani assault in waves,” he informed the general. “The first wave rarely gets far- too many pila and caltrops cut down many. And the Germani tire easily. So they rush for ten to twenty minutes, pull back, recover, and try again. Each wave comes harder- we have less pila. Some actually make it through- causing us a lot of heartache.”

As Messala explained, the Germans lent credence to his words. Rest time was over. A mighty roar filled the sky and the German wolves came running at the Roman stags. The stags still had horns, and pila, and the wolves suffered for it, but some stags were still caught by the pack and pulled down. It was a very bloody quarter hour on both sides. Then, as a wave upon a rocky shore, the wolves broke and retreated again.

“They run!” Cordinus shouted with joy. “See Messala? They run! They are broken. The order stands- pursue!”

“They want that,” Messala said. “To pull our men out of this nice position and onto the ground broken by their bodies, where our formations are less tight and more open to their attacks. There was a time to attack, lord, but that time had passed when you let the Germani unite.”

The couriers reached the legates, who could be seen turning their helmeted heads to look with wonder upon the generalis. They saw Messala beside him, and thus made the only reasonable assumption to the stupid order- Messala saw something and had advised the general to attack. Both Paullus and Amensius were disciplined legates. Both echoed the same command to their cornicens, “Signal the legion. Attack!”

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Udo rejoiced when he heard the Romans horns blaring and the men begin marching toward his resting warriors.

“I love a fool!” he wheezed. “He leaves his protected position to bring his lambs to our slaughterhouse. Wonderful! Pass the word- we will hold them here. Skirmishers to the front.”

The Germans greeted the command with a shout of pure joy.

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

|||||||||||||||| 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 02-19-2011 @ 08:08 AM).]

Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 12-20-10 05:02 AM EDT (US)     78 / 87       
I thought the beginning was good; then I read the rest. Unspeakably brilliantly put together. You are a bloody genius Terikel.

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

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

(dis ma house)
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 12-20-10 07:22 AM EDT (US)     79 / 87       
Very good chapter!
pin the one force in place and throw everything at the other, then gang-bang the other with all four legions.
That made me laugh really hard.

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 12-23-10 10:48 AM EDT (US)     80 / 87       
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Cordinus saw the German reaction to the blaring horns. They heard the signal for attack, and roared with approval. They spread themselves out, swinging their weapons to ensure enough room, and waited patiently for the Romans to come. Among them darted several forward- skirmishers and archers, who peppered the Romans as they advanced. Their joy of battle was evident- even Cordinus could see it. And wonder about it. And finally, thickly, realize his legate was correct.

“Cancel the order!” he screamed.

At this critical moment, eight riders broke from the woodlines heading towards Cordinus. Two came from the north, one from the south, and then another five from the south. He tensed up and his gladiators assumed the ‘repel horse’ formation, until it became clear that all eight riders were Roman auxilia.

The northern riders reached him first.

“The Germans are attempting to flank the legion, lord,” they reported. “We ambushed them per orders, but are forced to fall back. The tribune requests aid, lord. Four cohorts if possible.”

The rider from the south echoed the report of the northern riders. Then came the five, the remnants of a turma sent to provide eyes to the south. Five out of thirty- his ire against the Batavian rose- until they reported.

“A Germanic warhost approaches from the south, generalis,” the decurion reported. “At least twenty thousand, most likely more. They have cavalry with them, which we learned the hard way. They are less than an hour away and coming fast.”

Twenty thousand?!? Most likely more!

“This battle is lost, general,” Messala informed him. “To stay is to die needlessly. Order the retreat, now, and maybe we can be saved.” He emphasized the word maybe.

Cordinus ran it through his head. Twenty thousand, most likely more. Where are these Germani coming from? The report- confirmed by his quaestor- said the Germani here had less than ten thousand. Now he had thirty across the field, and another twenty-or more- coming from the south, which the navy was to prevent. How?

“Order the retreat now, Cordinus, or there will be none left to obey the order!” Messala shouted.

Cordinus, his mind reeling, simply nodded.

“Play the tune, cornicen,” Messala ordered. “Return to camp. Play it loud, and keep playing it until you hear the legions repeating it.”

The lonely notes floated across the battlefield. Again and again. The legates, coordinating their attacks, did not hear it at first, but paused to listen when a bodyguard noted the music. Then the orders were given, and repeated, and the legions fell back to their original locations, then, as the calls continued, began retreating from the battlefield toward the forts.

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“They flee!” Udo shouted in dismay. “The Chatti are not yet here, and they flee! Cowards! Stand and fight! Die like men!”

“Shall we pursue?” a nobleman asked.

“Pursue? Hel’s Half White Face, we shall attack!” Udo cursed. His prize of four legions was trying to slip away. “Attack! Attack as if all the tribes hang in the balance!”

The rams’ horns blared, and the German tide surged forward again. It was going to be a footrace for the next two miles, between the semi-tired Germanics and the endurance of disciplined Romans.

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Dieter rode off, relieved at the gullibility of the Usipi, proud of what was said, but seething at what was not said. As many warriors as we have people. Thirty to forty thousand Germani were descending on Cordinus from the unexpected south. That many Germani were a threat, but not a serious one to four legions and associated auxilia in open battle. Usually. But now it meant the doom of those legions- already occupied with the Chauci and Cherusci.

Idiot! Had Cordinus listened to him, the Chauci would have been crushed and the Cherusci driven off, giving him the time and space he needed to wheel the about to face this new threat. Maybe the destruction of the other tribes would even send the Chatti and Suevi home. But no more. Cordinus is pinned upon a Cherusci and Chauci anvil, and forty thousand Chatti were about to hammer him. He was a dead man, and the border wide open. Idiot!

Seething and angry, he was in no good mood when he spotted three riders ahead. Nor was he particularly pleased to see them turn to face him, their lances lowering. He lowered his own spear and charged forward. The three kicked their mounts to the gallop.

Seconds before impact, the lances rose sharply upon command and the horses reared back.

“Wotan pluck your eyes out, Arturus,” Dieter swore. “I could have killed you!”

“I did not expect to see you either, Dieter,” the Remi replied. “Are your Galatians about?”

“I was relieved of duty, so am going back to Marcus,” Dieter replied. “I bear news he needs. There is a warhost of forty thousand coming from the south. Cordinus has effectively trapped himself and his legions.”

“Closer to fifty thousand,” Arturus agreed. “We hid when we saw them coming, and counted them as they passed. If Cordinus manages to get to the forts, he can hold out longer than the Germani. They had little or no food with them, and these woods will not support that many mouths for very long.”

“They will have food,” Dieter said simply. “The Bructeri have stockpiles- we burned several, but there are many more. And the Chauci and Cherusci came- all were prepared after last summer. They will have supplies.”

“You are right,” Arturus said solemnly. “Marcus needs to know this soonest. So you are going to the fleet? Will you join us?”

“I am going to swim the Rhein,” the Batavi replied. “You can try your hand with the fleet- if the Chatti have not captured them all. But for me, its Father Rhein and safety.”

The Remi looked at each other then at the former prefect. “Good point. We’ll chance the river with you.”

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

The legions burst into their camps steps ahead of the pursuing Germans. The first cohorts peeled off left and right to take up positions over the entrances, while the following cohorts took up positions to their sides. By the time the last cohorts entered, the Germani warhost was facing an entrenched, armored warhost ready and able to repel them.

The first ranks found this out the hard way. A thick rain of pila leapt from the wall to mow them down like a scythe through wheat. The following ranks swept onward, the Germanic circle pressing inward, condensing, while the legionaries fought in cold strength to keep them out. A battlement here or there was lost, but was quickly and bloodily recovered.

The Germanic pressure faded with a cacophony of ram’s horns blaring into the evening air. The warriors withdrew, but kept their ring around the trapped legions, and the Sacred Grove inside the tight circle of Roman forts.

“You call the retreat because night falls?” Ricgard asked of Udo. “It is not like the Bructeri to fear the night.”

“It is not fear,” Udo reminded him. “It is prudence. We kept up on the Romans and killed their stragglers, but we both knew that if our first rush does not carry their little forts, no amount of trying thereafter will. Well, our rush failed. Time to settle in for the siege.”

“A siege?” roared Ricgard. “It took the Batavians eight months to starve out Vetera. We do not have that long- our army will not last past four weeks!”

“Vetera was a fortress stocked for two legions, and garrisoned by the remains of two legions,” Udo pointed out. “Here we have four legions and many auxilia in our net. They have no stockpiles; they have but what they brought with them. In a fortnight or two they will be starving. And then they will be ours, to use their blood to purify and consecrate a new Sacred Grove to our Wotan. We Bructeri have food for two weeks, and the Chatti will be bringing more. Hell, my friend, everyone will be sending us food. We are successful, Ricgard! Everyone will want to share in that, even if their contribution was but bread.”

“Four legions!” the Chauci king recounted, astonished. “We are besieging four legions, leaving all to the west as open as a harlot’s legs.”

The Bructeri king smiled at the phrase, while his twin grinned wolfishly. Ulfrich had other thoughts on his mind- namely of one specific harlot in Colonia, whom he shall rape repeatedly before her husband’s eyes, before plucking an eye from that hated Roman and roasting him in a wicker cage within the walls of his own home. An eye for an eye, Rutilius.

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

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
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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 12-23-10 10:56 AM EDT (US)     81 / 87       
Four legions = 20,000 men plus a few thousand auxilia trapped. I remember what happened at Vetera and its bloody aftermath. I hope Cordinus gets captured and is roasted alive. But where is Rutillus and what is he doing?

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.

[This message has been edited by Legion Of Hell (edited 12-23-2010 @ 10:57 AM).]

Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 12-23-10 04:07 PM EDT (US)     82 / 87       
DIE ROMANS!!!

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

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

(dis ma house)
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 12-27-10 02:06 AM EDT (US)     83 / 87       
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

The German assaults ceased as the tribesmen melted away into the night, licking their wounds and their chops. Roman stag, bagged and awaiting the slaughter. It was a delicious thought to many who had lost friends and relatives to the Romans in recent years. Now the Romans would pay.

Messala and Cadorus led cohorts out between the camps to clear away any who would do them harm in the night. They also had cohorts link the forts together with breastworks, while Amensius and the Raptors improved the defenses with wood gathered from the forest the camps surrounded. Paullus oversaw defense and ensured the protection of the now-vital grain and food supplies. His camp prefect walked the fort to site the latrines away from the springs, and ensured wells were dug. It was a busy night for the Romans, but one the men did not mind working through. Each and every one of them knew their lives depended on the tasks they were doing.

The following day Horobard ignored Udo’s advice to leave the Romans penned and attacked. He did not get far before he realized the wisdom of leaving fortified Romans alone. It only cost him five thousand men in an hour of futile assaults to realize the desperate Romans would not break. Further, the Romans had begun cutting trees from the Sacred Grove to gain wood with which to build their fortifications. The men felt a twinge of sacrilege attacking the new fortifications built of sacred wood- as if they were attacking the gods themselves. Thus the order to encamp around the trapped legions was met with relief.

The Romans themselves patrolled the perimeter within the fortified circle aggressively and effectively. Amid their movements, the legates were shuttled from camp to camp. In the camp of the XXII Primigenia, Cordinus held a command council outside his tent.

“I lost about one thousand five hundred men, most on the retreat here when those horsemen trampled under an entire cohort,” Amensius reported. Cordinus remembered with pain the impact of those horsemen- the Marsic cavalry had hit the bracing cohort in a near-perfect wedge- trampling under some, breaking the rest apart where the supporting infantry could come in among the displaced legionaries and slaughter them. Not a man in that cohort survived, but their deaths bought the rest of the legion time to retreat further away.

The Raptor losses were the hardest- expected, as the XXI Rapax had the furthest to go. The others reported lower losses, with the exception of the auxilia on the southern flank- they were wiped out to a man. Only a single ala of cavalry- the Remi- and less than a century of infantry made it. The other two alae and three infantry cohorts were dead. The auxilia in the north fared better- but then again, Cadorus had taken them under his wing and employed them as part of the legion. That kept many alive.

“We have rations for three weeks,” Paullus reported. “The camp prefects report the wells are yielding enough water for the legion, though the latrines might be a problem and poison the water in a few weeks. So when we run out of food, we run out of drinkable water, too.”

“We are also completely surrounded,” Cadorus concluded. “I count at least fifty thousand Germanic out there. This country is fertile, but not very developed. With any luck they will run out of food before we do. Maybe we can break out in two weeks.”

“I could use the rest,” Amensius added. “A lot of my wounded will be recovered by then, I hope.”

“We should not even be here,” Messala groaned. His VI Victrix was in reserve- hardly any losses worth mentioning. “We should have pinned the Cherusci and smashed the Chauci, then crushed the pinned Cherusci with everything to be ready for these newcomers. But instead, we stood still in the open and let them pen us like cattle.”

Cordinus flushed and his ears burned bright red at the accusation. In his mind, he was still witnessing the fourth and fifth Germanic rushes- the ones which overran whole centuries. Never had he witnessed such aggressive power in a barbarian.

“I was told by a good source there were less than ten thousand warriors in all of this land,” he reminded them. “That source was your friend Rutilius. I believed him.”

“Rutilius is not such a fool,” Messala retorted. “He may have told you the Bructeri have less than ten thousand. That I would believe- I have seen hardly any Bructeri warriors in all this time. But Marcus knows well that there are other tribes here, tribes who might send aid to a beleaguered tribe. I am also quite sure he mentioned this. He even said something to that effect at your orders brief in the spring- get in, hit hard, and get out. Move like lightning. Well, Cordinus, we moved like molasses and all of Germania Magna came down upon us like a frikking anvil.”

The other legates nodded.

Cadorus put it into words. “We should have attacked, not let them attack us. But we are here now. Trapped.”

“Doomed,” added Amensius, morosely.

“There is still hope,” Cordinus said. “Before we left, I too had misgivings. Marcus brought them up, actually. So I wrote a letter to Rome, asking for a contingency order to be issued. When Marcus informs Rome of our situation, which he should learn about within a few days or I do not know him well at all, Rome will invoke that order. Two legions from Britannia will join the Gallic legion and march to Vetera. At the same time, two legions from Germania Superior will move to join them. Five legions, legates, will be at Vetera within two weeks, and here a week after that. We have supplies and water for three weeks. Salvation will come before they run out.”

“Are you sure that is possible?” asked Cadorus, the only legate who had not been in the Army of Cerealis which had gathered near Mogontiacum five years ago for that very same mission.

Messala and Amensius nodded, while Paullus replied, “Yes, Quintus Petillius, it is possible. Your namesake did that very thing five years ago, bringing eight legions and most of us to rescue the two legions under my command.”

“Then we continue to fortify and keep the men busy,” Cadorus said to their nods, “and conduct raids into their camps at night to keep them off-guard.”

“That is the plan,” Messala agreed. “Unless our esteemed generalis has something against standard tactical procedure for this situation?”

Cordinus shook his head. “Carry on,” he ordered, then retired to his tent to let his legates work out the details. The legates moved off to the legionary command post and poured themselves some of Paullus’s excellent wine.

Cadorus waited an appropriate amount of time for the wine to sink in, then spoke the words that was on all their minds. “How many of you believe that happy horseshit he was just shoveling?”

“I have my doubts, but it could be true,” Paullus allowed. “He did send off quite a bit of correspondence those past few days before we left. A contingency order could have been among it. Whether they get to Rome and back in time, or even if Rome approves it... That is another question entirely.”

“He seemed too confident,” Messala said. “This, being trapped deep in Germania with the entire army, doesn’t bother him at all. Or at least, very little. So yes, Cador, I think he did indeed send that request. But like Decius here, I doubt it did any good.”

“I am pretty damned sure it will do no good,” Amensius added. “I keep in contact with Titus Flavius Sabinus- a former tribunus of the II Adiutrix, Marcus’s old outfit. He commands the I Adiutrix now, took over from that arrogant ass Naevius. The boys of Germania Superior have been in a hard training cycle since Cordinus took over here. Last year they sat on their duffs while we had priority of supply. This past winter, though, we were lower in the priority list while they were getting what they needed, when they asked for it. That means Cornelius Clemens is gearing up for action. He won’t have a legion or two- half his strength!- to spare us. He will have a hard choice- forgo his own triumph to rescue us, or drive his planned attack and take the heat from the Imperator. Knowing him, he’ll attempt to do both and succeed in none.”

“Then we are doomed, with no hope of relief,” Cador said morosely.

“Cheer up,” Messala said suddenly. “We have food and water for three weeks, and a forest right here to fetch wood for the cooking fires and to heat our baths. The Germans out there will sit still for at least a week before they try to assault again. Maybe they will run out of food and go home before we run out and die.”

“I don’t like it,” Cador said bluntly. “Decius, you were besieged. Tell us how the Germans siege.”

“Gnaeus Messala just told you,” Decius Paullus replied. “They sit and fret, working up all sorts of crazy ideas, then when they get frustrated, they simply attack. We repulse them, then they sit and fret again. Rather boring, really. The hard part is keeping the men motivated and busy so they don’t think about the situation.”

“When in doubt, fortify,” Cadorus said, repeating the words of his former legate after last summer’s campaign.

The others nodded. It was old army wisdom, still applicable.

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

Cordinus, too, was restless with the situation. He had done everything by the book, with textbook precision. He had scouted the area, identified his targets, and moved aggressively on them with overwhelming force. His legions moved through the woods like Caesar’s men across open plains. He had the Germani off-guard and out of position, yet they still had him surrounded and trapped within his own camps.

He stalked through his tent with torch in hand. His fate, the fate of them all, was now firmly in the hand of his quaestor, a man Rome thinks an opportunist and a lower-class fungus risen to high level through smarmery and sheer luck. Rome has even tried to kill him by ordering him to scout the Bructeri- alone and unaccompanied. He laughed- Rutilius was probably laughing now. Ten thousand Bructeri? Maybe. But he sure missed the fifty thousand other tribesmen who came to their aid.

It did not matter. If Rome sends the five legions, they will send a generalis too. Probably Aulus Caecina- a slug and a snake, but the man did win Vitellius all of his victories. Plus he knew the Germani, their ways, and no doubt soon their numbers. And he would have Marcus Rutilius- the warhawk who knew this province and its enemies thoroughly.

Cordinus decided to keep a journal, just in case. He rummaged through his scroll bucket, but all were filled with writing- either military texts he studied in the evening hours, or histories of past campaigns, or that excellent book by Caesar commenting on his campaigns.

He brushed the bucket aside and searched deeper. Ah, he thought as he stuck his hand inside his rain poncho. The fingers closed around two scrolls.

He brought them out. They were both sealed- one with the prancing lion of Rutilius, he noticed with a start, and the other- he saw with horror- was his own seal.

He opened his own scroll first. It was there in his hands- the contingency order he had sent to Rome. How? Why? It should have been dispatched weeks ago!

Then he opened the scroll of Rutilius. It was addressed to Cerealis in Britannia.

Hail Quintus Petillius,

I hope this letter finds you well. I have heard much of your exploits from Cadorus, who hears much from his kin, who keep in touch far better than we Roman warriors. We tend only to put pen to papyrus when danger looms, as it does now.

Your brother-in-law has given the Word again. Four. Yes, four. You have served here, before you went off to become consul and then consular governor in Britannia. You know what four means, even for a little while. I would prevent that. Anything you can spare, anything at all, would be welcome.

On the other hand, my wife has a son from a previous relationship, as you may know. Little Quintus is doing just fine. He and my son from a previous relationship, Publius, get along smashingly. Now we have a son together- Decius Rutilius was born five days before the Nones of April...


He put the scroll down. Marcus really did know the emperor’s brother-in-law, and close too, judging by the familiar tone in the letter. He had heard rumors of the sort, but after the affair with Eprius, he had discounted them as rumors. Would the emperor’s brother-in-law let a wolfshead like Eprius ruin the life of his friend? Of course not. And the bit about the sons- Marcus was raising the bastard of Cerealis as if he were his own! Yet Cerealis made no attempt to interfere or persuade the Imperial Fact-Finder to desist.

Damn it! he thought madly. He cradled his head in his hands and felt the emotions rock his body. Marcus Rutilius had requested aid from the proconsul Cerealis, just as he had said. Moreover, he neither reproached nor condemned the actions of Cordinus as a fool for doing so. He merely stated facts as a loyal Roman, and requested reinforcements.

That aid is not forthcoming now, dear Marcus. Your letter is here in my hand, with the provincial army about me. You stand there alone, on the Roman side of the Rhenus, with a dozen auxilia cohorts and bugger-all else with which to defend hundreds of miles of border. You were right, my loyal warhawk- I should have left you a legion, or let you command this army while I remain with a legion.

The army was now lost- trapped, penned like sheep, with fifty thousand Germanic wolves prowling the fences and more on the way. The province was lost as well- when the army goes to Death or slavery, the Germans would be incredibly stupid to pass on the opportunity to break the Rhenus barrier. If there was one thing this episode had taught him, it was that Germans may be barbarians but they are not stupid. There would be nothing Rome could do to stop them either.

There was Marcus Rutilius and a dozen auxilia cohorts guarding a border hundreds of miles long. Not even a warhawk like him could hold back a determined Germanic flood with but a dozen or so auxilia.

Cordinus rose slowly, knowing this situation was his fault, his and his alone. There was a price to pay for leading his legions into this horrible situation from which only death or slavery could release them. That price needed to be paid to redeem the honor his pride and pigheadedness had cost him. He could not do anything else.

He drew his sword, then placed it upon his chest point first, and walked directly and forcefully into the tent wall.

One great flash of pain, then nothing.

Oblivion.....

....

...

..

.

Pain.

His eyes opened.

The aches in his body and head told him he was still alive. The sword was lying by his side, covered weakly in blood along the edge and point. There was a large lump on his head that was bleeding more profusely than the deep scratch across his chest.

He knew instinctively what had happened- he had botched it. He must have placed his sword wrong, or chosen a poor spot upon which to fall, or both. The hilt had glanced up from an obstruction on the other side of the tentwall and hit his head, causing him to fall backwards, away from the lethal point instead of on it. The remaining kinetic energy forced the sword to skid along his ribs instead of punching through to end his misery.

Cordinus cried now, an utter failure. He had doomed his army, his province, and was not even man enough to be able to kill himself properly. Tears flowing down his cheeks, he bandaged his light wounds as best he could.

All was truly lost!

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Here ends Part VI.

Part VII will commence in a month or so. I need time to work out some details, present the awards, work on some articles, and finish this tale without pressure.

|||||||||||||||| 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 12-27-10 05:04 AM EDT (US)     84 / 87       
A good ending to a great chapter. That ending shows just how stupid Cordinus is.

I was just wondering if all six volumes really did happen like the epic Germanic revolt or is this partially accurate?

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.
BastWorshiper
Sensei
posted 12-30-10 10:40 AM EDT (US)     85 / 87       
A month or so?!! But, I want more now! Now! Now! NOW!

"It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do.
Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." -- Jerome K. Jerome

"Some people become so expert at reading between the lines they don't read the lines." -- Margaret Millar

ERADICATE CONDESCENSION! (That means don't talk down to people.)
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 12-30-10 11:05 AM EDT (US)     86 / 87       
Well you can always read my vast volumes on the Peloponnesian War to satisfy your urge.

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 02-25-11 05:48 AM EDT (US)     87 / 87       
This story will resume on Monday with the posting of the opening scene of Part VII.

Due to the delay between Part VI and Monday's release, you might want to refresh your memory by catching up on the last few bits here.

Part VII will not have a review of this piece. It will simply carry on.

|||||||||||||||| 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
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