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Total War: Shogun 2 Heaven » Forums » Bardic Circle - War Stories & AAR forum » Julian The Apostate
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Topic Subject:Julian The Apostate
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Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 08-07-12 03:11 PM EDT (US)         
Hello, fellow forummers!

I am back from my long exile hiatus to which I enjoyed. But I am back and I hope you enjoy what I have to offer.

*****

Autumn, 355 AD

*****

Constantius sat inside his chamber in his palace at Constantinople, as the growing footsteps of sandals slapping onto the marble floor echoing ever louder, as the Roman officer stood before the emperor and saluted. Constantius looked up to the officer and acknowledged him.

“It is done, Augustus,” he said emotionlessly, addressing the emperor. “Silvanus is dead,” Constantius nodded in reply.

“Thank you, Ursicinus,” he replied, as he dismissed his obedient servant. As Ursicinus left the chamber Constantius sighed in relief. The emperor knew that a potential threat had been eradicated before it had gotten serious. He felt angry but also sad.

“Silvanus was a man whom I trusted and he did this to me!” he thought angrily to himself. Constantius now rued the decision to send his Master of Infantry magister peditum to Gaul, which had been wracked by deep incursions by barbarians, which some seems had decided to settle.

“With Silvanus dead it keeps my rule over the empire intact but I can’t solve all the empire’s problems,” he pondered to himself. “I need someone else to stamp out the trouble in Gaul while I maintain rule in the eastern provinces. But who do I choose?” Annoyingly for Constantius there were no main standouts that he could think of and that was largely to do with the civil war.

Constantius’ father, Constantine The Great, had spent thirteen years reuniting the western and eastern Roman Empire under the banner of Christianity. But when he died in 337 things changed. Imperial power was divided between his three sons: Constantius, Constantine II and Constans. However, it was not long before civil war broke out and thirteen years of hard fighting across the whole empire ensued before Constantius was the sole survivor out of the three sons by 350 AD. But there was only obstacle before he could be crowned Augustus: the usurper Magnentius who in 350 AD seized control of the western part of the Roman Empire.

“Of course!” Constantius exclaimed to himself, possibly coming up with a possible suitor to help his Gallic conundrum. “Julian could be the key!” He thought of when most of his extended family had been killed in the civil wars after Constantine’s death. Although he remembered all had died apart from the two sons of his half brother Julius Constantius: Gallus and Julian.

Constantius had decided to appoint Gallus Caesar so he could supervise the eastern provinces, while Constantius fought Magnentius in the west. However, the emperor's happiness soon soured after recollecting how after brutally suppressing Magnentius' revolt he had Gallus executed, as he suspected he held sinister motives with regards to the throne.

“Why on earth would Julian accept my offer to command the army in Gaul after what I did?” Constantius thought depressingly, as he thought back to why he had sent Silvanus in the first place. The emperor knew after being crowned Augustus he couldn’t attend every single flashpoint across the empire at once. So Constantius decided to send his trusted friend Silvanus to Gaul. He had no choice for it needed his best commander to solve an growing crisis.

The troubles in Gaul had gotten to breaking point after all of the belligerents in the civil wars had decided to strip the borders bare of all available manpower in their attempt to seize power. The only thing that did was prompt large scale barbarian raids, which penetrated deeper into Roman territory each time it wasn’t checked.

Constantius recollected telling Silvanus his objective: to go into Gaul and show them the might of Roman steel as Julius Caesar did. However, the emperor remembered getting the shock of his life when informed by couriers the army in Gaul had proclaimed his friend Augstutus to which Silvanus accepted.

"How could I have fallen into the trap of entrusting generals with so much power? It had been the downfall of many emperors in the past!" Constantius lamented to himself at being put into that position. However, he had Ursicinus to thank for he had bribed disgruntled soldiers within the rebelling army to have Silvanus killed and nip the problem in the bud. But the problem still arose: should he trust Julian with commanding his troops in Gaul?

“I have no choice,” he sighed to himself. “The troubles in Gaul still persist and if unchecked will merely undermine my power to the point of my downfall. Besides, a relative will be a bit more trustworthy than that snake Silvanus!”

So the emperor decided to entrust Julian the command of solving the troubles in Gaul. To make sure Julian would agree to head this dangerous expedition to Gaul, as well as strengthen the bond between him and Julian, the Augustus decided to give his sister Helena to Julian as a bride.

But there was just one problem: Julian had never held any public positions or even spent any time in the army.

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 08-09-2012 @ 09:42 AM).]

AuthorReplies:
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 04-25-13 03:37 AM EDT (US)     101 / 121       
The dialogue is getting more base and like a true warrior would talk. Very enjoyable! It brings a wave of nostalgia to these old eyes.

A few grammatical errors, though.:


Florentius informed me the lands captured on the west bank is ripe for harvest
Florentius informed me the lands captured on the west bank are ripe for harvest
(Lands is plural)

to rid the Romans claim the lands of the Alamanni once more
to rid the Romans and claim the lands of the Alamanni once more
(missing a word)

if the Romans are in hold of it
if the Romans are in possession of it
or
if the Romans hold it

Otherwise, excellent!

|||||||||||||||| 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
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 04-28-13 03:55 PM EDT (US)     102 / 121       
*****

“How many men are there?” Chnodomarius blurted out in shock at what his nephew just told him inside his tent.

“The army numbers at nearly thirty five thousand men,” Serapio informed his uncle. “Since the beacons were lit a week ago more men have joined us no doubt our ranks boosted seeing the high kings are eager to unite once more,” Chnodomarius did not doubt their keenness at all, as within the army stood six kings excluding Serapio’s uncle. As he and his nephew walked out of the tent both of them could see the sheer size of the gathering warhost. The fields and surrounding hills teemed with acitivty whether it was arriving warbands from the east seeking to take up arms or fires being lit so to prepare food for the men. Chnodomarius grinned knowing his army was coming together nicely.

“Have the high kings come into my tent,” he instructed Serapio. “I would have them know of my intentions and seek their council,” A short while later the Alamanni kings were sat upon wooden chairs within the tent. Chnodomarius knew each of the kings within the confederation, as he had either fought with them against the Romans or took up arms against them in the past.

“I praised the gods when hearing each one of you took up my call for aid,” Chnodomarius spoke gratuitously to each king. “However, I am sure you are eager to know of my plan to defeat the Romans in open battle,”

”Indeed we are,” spoke one of the kings named Westralp who displayed a nasty scar on the side of his left cheek. “My men do not mind fighting Romans but what I do mind is how are we to defeat them,”

“Ever eager to split open Roman skulls, eh?” chuckled Chnodomarius. “But I wholly understand in questioning how it is we are to defeat the Romans. In reply to your query I will tell you of what I know. There is but one Roman army left in the lands of Alsace and Gaul. Though I am not sure of their numbers it is considerably less than what our noble confederation has mustered,”

“Do you know of their location?” asked Wadomar who still smarted from being nearly overthrown and slain by his nobles.

“Saverne,” Chnodomarius replied, which was met by condescending looks from his fellow kings. “I know from the looks on your faces of the strategic value of Saverne and why I lit the beacons so to assemble the warhost. It is to draw them out from their fort and give battle where we can then crush them,”

“How soon is it before we cross the river and crush the Romans?” pressed the king of the Burgundians Suomarius.

“Within a few days,” replied the towering king. “Owing to the sheer size of the army it is likely any crossing of the Rhine will take a few days to complete. Ursicinus, you will lead your warriors first across the river, before Urius and Hortarius follow,” The three kings nodded happily at being given the honour to cross the Rhine at the head of such a fearsome army.

“What I want you to tell to your men is simple,” Chnodomarius explained with authority in his voice gazing at the kings sat before him and then to his nephew. “We are to cross the river so to bring the last remaining Roman army in Gaul and Alsace to fight and if possible on ground of our own choosing. No longer are we scared of fighting Romans in pitched battle for we have fought many Roman armies and on several occasions routed them from the field. I have every confidence we will crush these Romans by our sheer weight of numbers and give us victory on such a scale unimaginable. With their army destroyed it means Gaul shall lay open to us. The time of the Roman is over and the time of the Alamanni has just begun!” A loud shout of approval swept within the tent, as the kings endorsed Chnodomarius’ plan. Many were assured that Roman rule on both sides of the Rhine would be coming to a bloody end.

*****

The mood within Julian’s tent was sombre. After marching along the west bank of the Rhine installing garrisons into once derelict forts the young Caesar felt glad he could have a moment’s peace. Alone in his tent Julian smiled when reading old philosophical writings he had acquired during his time in Greece. It had been a long time since he had enough time to himself so to read such wonderful books and remembered the last time he had time was back in Asia Minor prior to being given the command of Caesar of the western provinces. However, the quiet atmosphere was interrupted by the arrival of Severus, Ammianus, Mahar and a cavalryman. Julian sighed at the interruption but could see from their faces that something was terribly wrong.

“Forgive us for interrupting you, Caesar,” bowed Severus. “But we have grave news,”

“What’s wrong?” Julian asked, as he closed the book, putting it on his desk.

“The cavalry scouts arrived just now and bring worrying news,” Mahar explained before motioning to the rider standing next to him.

“Caesar, we rode to the deserted town of Argentoratum so to scout the west bank, as ordered,” the horseman spoke with a slight quiver in his voice. “We found them,”

“Found them?” Julian raised his eyebrow. “Found who?”

“The entire Alamanni army,” the rider spoke in fear. “In numbers far larger than our own. They are crossing the river near the city of Argentoratum,” A cold shiver of dread raced through Julian.

“What was the disposition of their force?” Julain pressed further so to gain more information.

“Warriors adorn with many weapons ranging from sword, spear and axe,” the rider explained. “Cavarlymen by the thousands though their attire remain unknown, as they were on either side of the river. But from what my squadron saw the barbarians are beginning to cross the river,” Julian sighed despondently at what the scout had told him. So the Alamanni show their full hand and seek battle against me!



“Thank you,” Julian nodded at the rider before dismissing him and turning to his senior officers. “Call all senior officers here immediately!” Within a short while every officer ranging from those commanding the legions, auxiliaries and cavalry converged onto Julian’s tent. Each man knew why he had been called, as rumors spread within the castra like wildfire that the Alamanni were crossing the river in force.

“You know very well why you have been summoned here today,” Julian spoke with determination in his voice. “The rumors are true: the Alamanni have sent their largest army across the Rhine and seek battle against us! What I want to know from each of you is your opinion on what to do next. Our comitatus is small: merely fifteen thousand men while those barbarians have up to thirty five thousand eager to fight and spill blood!" Whispers of shock swept within the tent at this revelation. Many knew the Alamanni had displayed potent armies in the past but not as large as this!

"The Alamanni are not the barbarian tribes of the past that Rome have faced before," he then added. "These fearsome warriors have actually won many large scale battles with such ease that Julius Caesar or Scipio Africanus themselves would be impressed. I present to you two options that are available to us now the Alamanni have crossed the Rhine,” The officers within the tent waited patiently to hear what their young Caesar said next.

“We could take the safer road,” Julian explained. “That would be to ignore the invasion and disperse our army into small groups housing them in fortified castra while I send word to Augustus of our predicament and request reinforcements be sent so to aid us. If necessary we can stand behind the walls of the castra throughout the winter until next summer. However, though a competent plan, it sadly has many pitfalls. Remember the reinforcements sent under the command of Barbatio? The soldiers under his command were weak and easily dealt with the Alamanni. What happened to them may dissuage our Augustus from sending men to our aid. More likely he will send it to the East for he has far more pressing concerns with the Sassanids.

In addition, hiding behind our fortifications could endanger Gaul, as it would leave the land exposed to a massive invasion especially when the harvest is due. Instead of us recruiting Gauls and Germans to the auxiliary they will pledge oaths to the Alamanni thinking us weak!” Many officers within the tent balked at what was said, which did not go unnoticed by Julian. The Caesar’s face then turned to one foretelling doom to one giving hope as if he was God himself.

“However, there is another way to dealing with these barbarians,” he added with his steel within his voice. “Instead of hiding behind stone walls we fight! Though you may not see it we actually find ourselves given an opportunity by God himself to engage the barbarians and inflict a decisive victory against them. There is a reason why Rome rules the world! In most of the wars Rome has fought we have won most of our battles against barbarians. That came about not because of luck but of our superior equipment, organisation and training that helped forge Rome as the greatest military power the world has ever seen! So I say to you now let us stand our ground and not cower behind walls! What say you to that?"

“Let’s fight!” Ammianus shouted defiantly.

“Now is the time to finally get rid of them!” Mahar added.

“Better to fight a concentrated army than several disparate bands spread across the land,” Florentius chirped in showing his support.

“We are with you, Caesar!” Severus replied showing his support by saluting.. Julian nodded with heartfelt emotion at seeing his officers throw their support behind their Caesar and entrust their lives to him.

“Then we shall break camp and march to the Rhine!” Julian exclaimed. “Let us give battle to the barbarians where they will feel nothing but cold Roman steel!”

*****

As the Roman comitatus prepared to break camp the beautiful sunset crept onto the horizon with night desecending upon the Rhine. However, the area around Argentoratum was not shrouded in darkness but with a glimmering light, as several torches illuminated the surrounding landscape. As Chnodomarius sat on his horse atop a ridge on the west bank of the Rhine the towering warrior looked on in sastifaction at what lay ahead of him. Thousands upon thousands of warriors massed upon the east bank of the Rhine readying to be transported onto wooden boats so to cross the river.

“How many men have crossed?” Chnodomarius enquired.

“Ten thousand so far since we started this morning,” Serapio answered. “It is taking longer, as we have to transport the wooden carts laden with food, which is no easy task,” Chnodomarius nodded understandably knowing all too well from previous large scale raids into Gaul that transporting supplies to feed an army over a river was hazardous at best.

“How long will it take before everyone is on the west bank?” the king asked Urius.

“Three days,” he replied assuredly. “Possibly a day longer should it rain,”

“Then let us hope it does not,” Chnodomarius smirked that brought about chuckles among the officers. “Urius, have your men set up sentry posts along the perimeter of the camp on the west bank. Tell your warriors to keep alert and vigiliant at all times. I do not want the Romans to launch a night time attack and ruin our plans,”

“It will be done,” Urius nodded before turning his horse away and galloped to his men so to direct them where they needed to be.

“When will the army be ready to head west upon Alsace?” wondered Westralp. “Sending such a warhost across a river is energy sapping,”

“Within a few days,” Chnodomarius answered confidently. “Though the men may be tired, which they must be after trekking from their homes far east of the Rhine to here, I am sure they will find strength from within if it meant killing Romans,” Westralp looked at the men crossing the river and knew they had marched a long way from their homes. He could resonate with them, as he had left his home too so to take up arms against Rome.

“Then let us hope we defeat the Romans and honour those who have fallen upon their swords and spears!” Westralp spoke to Chnodomarius with such determination.

“We will!” Chnodomarius smiled. “And if not then I pray we die a warrior's death!”

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 04-28-2013 @ 03:57 PM).]

Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 04-29-13 12:30 PM EDT (US)     103 / 121       
And so more wood is added to the fire under the kettle, bringing the stewing plot to the boiling point where the kettle will once again be filled with blood and the wreckage of human battle.

Awesomely done so far.

Anticipating a thorough harvest of warriors to fill the halls of Valhalla with new souls wonder just what the hell happened to them...

|||||||||||||||| 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
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 04-30-13 10:29 AM EDT (US)     104 / 121       
Good to hear that Julian isn't afraid of taking the fight to the Alemanni. The Battle of Strasbourg looms over the horizon!

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 05-03-13 03:27 PM EDT (US)     105 / 121       
*****

Within the lands of Alsace the comitatus of Gaul marched under the hot sun in column formation. Julian with his retinue of officers inspected their army, as they trekked east along the main road, eager to give encouragement to those who were beginning to tire. When night beckoned the young general gave orders to make camp and for sentry posts to be on high alert, as the comitatus were merely ten leagues west of Argentoratum. The young imperator did not want to recreate the fate of Barbatio’s army that was brutally ambushed when encamped to the south of Argentoratum.

As the castra was built Julian could rest within his tent and prepare for tomorrow’s march. The Caesar was well aware they would reach the Rhine either tomorrow or the following day and could finally encounter the main Alamanni warhost in battle. However, Julian’s thoughts were interrupted by the sudden arrival of Mahar’s second in command of the cavalry Lupicinus, who took a short while to recover his breath.

“Caesar, five riders approach the castra from the east!” he spluttered. “They bear markings of the Alamanni,” Julian nodded and proceeded to walk with Lupicinus towards the east gate of the camp. As the general walked up the steps to reach the ramparts soldiers saluted him, as well as Mahar, Severus and Ammianus who had ordered Lupicinus to fetch for Julian. As Caesar looked to the area outside the castra he could barely see through the fading sun five horsemen just out of bowshot range.

“You stand before Flavius Claudius Julianus, Caesar of the western provinces!” his voice boomed so to inflict authority upon the barbarian horsemen despite his young age. “Why do you stand before us when within a click of my fingers you could be struck down by my men?”

“We are heralds sent by the high kings of the Alamanni confederation led by noble king Chnodomarius!” replied the lead speaker among the horsemen. “Our purpose here is to send you a message by our kings,”

“Then speak or be gone from my presence!” Julian sneered.

“Do not worry,” the herald replied politely though with an undercurrent of malice. “We come to you with this: leave the lands which your people have taken by the sword! Fail to heed our words and face our impending warhost where your fate shall be sealed in blood!” Before Julian could reply the five horsemen beckoned their horses to turn around and galloped east towards the Rhine.

“They are nearly finished crossing their entire army over the Rhine,” Julian summed up before sighing. “Which means we must meet them before they are in an position to head inland and wreak havoc. That is why upon first light we break camp and move east towards the Rhine,”

“A sound plan,” nodded Ammianus in agreement.

“Before I head back to my quarters to rest I mean to ask your advice,” Julian enquired to his senior officers, as soldiers took up sentry positions upon the ramparts.

“What is it?” Mahar asked, as Julian and his retinue made their way down the east rampart steps and towards the parade ground.

“What do you know of their leader?” Julian questioned them, eager to know of who he was to face in battle. “Those heralds said his name was Chnodomarius, I think?” Severus and Ammianus looked at one another sheepishly before turning to Julian.

“Mahar and Lupicinus will not know of him because they came with you and Ursicinus when riding from Italia to Gaul so to take up command of the comitatus,” Severus explained. “But we know of Chnodomarius well,”

“You speak as if he is a man of great ability and ferocity,” Julian scoffed.

“He is,” Ammianus replied. “The man has led the Alamanni tribes east of the Rhine for five years and has caused Rome endless bother in that time. During the civil wars, which the Augustus so bravely won, Chnodomarius saw his time to strike while Constantius fought against the usurper Magentius who at the time commanded the comitatus of Gaul. While Rome’s best armies of the western provinces were ripped apart in Pannonia at Mursa during the civil war the Franks and Alamanni ran riot.

They fell upon the Rhine forts before overrunning eastern Gaul, which prompted Constantius to enlist the help of Silvanus, causing the events that led to our Augustus entrusting you with command of the comitatus. But Chnodomarius is a man to be respected in battle. Such is his towering stature and intimidating armour that he wears that he is known as Gigas or the Giant. His own men call him Riesen, such is his presence enough to rally floundering warriors to battle,”

“Then at least I will fight a formidable opponent,” Julian smiled. “To which we will be given such honours that God himself would be envious!”

*****

As first light arrived the comitatus broke up their camp and marched eastwards underneath the morning sun. The Roman army looked magnificent while marching upon the road built by their forefathers that brought the might of Rome upon the barbarian lands of Gaul. The comitatus of Gaul marched in column formation with Julian at the vanguard under protection by his detachment of cavalry assigned to protect him.

Within the centre of the comitatus were the infantry that included both the regular comitatenses and auxiliaries. The infantry were palatini, which assured Julian immensely, knowing it made up for the miniscule size of his army. Being bestowed the title of palatini meant they were elite units, which meant unlike Barbatio’s army these regiments would stand their ground under substantial pressure.

On the flanks and rear were the cavalry that ranged to three categories. The first were the equites Dalmatae: light cavalry heralding from Dalmatia carrying javelins and able to ride down routing men with their short swords if needed. The second class were mounted archers known as the equites sagittarii, which were fast, manoeuvrable horsemen that loved to harass the enemy or pursue fleeing soldiers.

Finally, the last class of cavalry were the equites cataphractarii and a favourite of the Caesar. What made them so revered by Julian was that the cataphracts were so devastating to use and their appearance was one that installed fear into their enemies. Julian had remembered the dread installed into those barbarians that had tried to ambush his army in the forest two years ago.



Cataphracts or in Rome’s far eastern provinces known as clibanarii were truly a monstrous unit to wield in the field of battle. These horsemen were covered neck to toe in scale, some wearing lamellar armour, forged in some of the finest blacksmiths within the empire. Their primary weapon was the kontus, a long heavy lance, which was able to inflict sufficient damage upon those unfortunate to be in the path of a cataphract charge. Their secondary weapon was a sword though some did use maces, as many of the clibanarii had lived in the old lands of the Seleucid Empire, with the men eager to honour their ancestors though firmly loyal to Rome.

Supporting the cavalry upon the flanks were the mounted archers numbering five hundred men. Julian knew they had proven their worth, as they had provided excellent intelligence in previous years when on scouting patrols. However, within the marching column there were a thousand foot archers known as the sagittarii, whose mastery of the bow meant they were an useful addition. As morning wore on the Caesar felt the Rhine was within reach, which made him turn to Severus.

“Give the order to halt,” he instructed. “We are to make camp here for the day,”

“Are you sure that is wise?” Severus enquired. “The Rhine is merely a league or two away. Our men are refreshed and eager to fight,” Julian gave the Magister a lingering stare so to indicate that it was he and not him who led the army. Severus then nodded and proceeded to gallop away on his horse to carry out the order. However, as the word to halt and make camp was issued, soldiers among the comitatus howled with disapproval at the order given by Julian. Severus galloped towards him from the centre where the legions and auxiliaries were.

“Caesar, the soldiers are in a huff over your orders!” he replied anxiously. Julian growled and beckoned his horse to ride to the infantry in the centre. When he reached them the general could see they were disgruntled, as they banged their spear shafts against their spears, which was a sign of disapproval.

“Why do you refuse to follow my orders?” Julian spoke calmly so not to antagonize them. He had heard the stories of past generals and even emperors on campaign that had fallen foul of men serving under them because they treated their soldiers harshly. One of the soldiers in the Primani legion stepped forward.

“Caesar, it is not that we willingly refuse orders,” he explained, as he motioned to his fellow soldiers before turning to face Julian. “But we do not see why we should rest again when the enemy is but half a day’s march away. Let us fight against the enemy and drive them off the field of battle!” A resounding cheer came from the soldiers in reply, as Julian saw that even the officers agreed with what the soldier had said.

“I ordered the camp to be built merely to protect your well being,” Julian replied. “You men over the last few weeks have marched astounding distances and I wanted you to rest so to fight the following day in better spirits,” A standard bearer within a ranks then stepped forward with one hand clasping the standard and the other pointing to his Caesar in respect.

“We thank you for your concern,” he nodded respectfully. “But we ask not to rest but to fight on. Let the most fortunate of all Caesars lead us to victory!” Shouts of agreement boomed amongst the soldiers, as they screamed the name Caesar in honour of Julian. The young imperator looked on at his soldiers and officers realizing there was no other option at the face of such consensus among the comitatenses.

“Then let us march on to battle!”

*****

As afternoon approached Chnodomarius rode his horse among the west bank of the Rhine. The tall warrior smiled when seeing the full might of his army had crossed the river this morning. The warhost truly looked magnificent and nearly brought a tear to the eye of such a fearsome warrior. However, his good mood was punctuated by the arrival of three horsemen from the west who galloped towards the king. Chnodomarius saw these were scouts he had sent to patrol the area west of Argentoratum, as the Alamanni warhost was to the north of the ruined city.

“Report,” the king said briskly before realizing there was one extra man among the scouts that had rode west at the crack of dawn.

“We have found the Roman army,” the lead horseman explained. “They are west of Argentoratum just over half a day’s march when we spotted them this morning,”

“Do you know of their numbers?” he asked. The horsemen turned to the extra man sitting on the horse with his hands bound.

“He does,” the horseman replied. “He is a deserter from the lands of Gaul who fought their great warrior king at Alesia many years ago. I gave him my word he will not be harmed upon the important information he gave me,"

“Which was?” the king pressed, eying up the Roman suspiciously.

“That the Romans barely number fifteen thousand men. When we headed west to gaze a closer look at the Roman army to see if he told the truth I was astounded to see it was,” Chnodomarius’ eyes widened in shock at finding out the sole Roman army in Gaul numbered half of his own warhost. The warrior’s then cackled heartily.

“Then it is time for us to press the advantage!” he shouted determinedly before turning to the scout. “Have the Roman deserter placed somewhere safe and see he is rewarded should his words ring true. Meanwhile, find the kings along with nobles, so to spread the world we shall break camp at once so to head west to battle!” As the war horns were sounded indicating the march to battle everyone around Chnodomarius prepared to don their weapons and armour. The tall giant could merely smile, as everything was coming to place.

Let the Alamanni draw swords, sound horns and march to honoured victory!”

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.
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 05-04-13 00:45 AM EDT (US)     106 / 121       
Good to see that Julian's men are spoiling for a fight and made of sterner stuff than Barbatio's. Hopefully they don't get too rattled when they see the full size of the Alemanni that eagerly awaits them.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
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Terikel Grayhair
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(id: Terikel706)
posted 05-04-13 10:46 AM EDT (US)     107 / 121       
Very good!

Battle looms- and we Vikings anticipate the tale!

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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 05-25-13 09:11 AM EDT (US)     108 / 121       
For the last three weeks I have been writing in the dark depths of my bedroom, as you await my next chapter eagerly.

Well here it is, I present to you the battle of Argentoratum!

*****


The sun gazed down onto the fields west of Argentoratum, its rays basking onto the land below, as the Alamanni confederation stood in full view ready for battle. An intimidating Chnodomarius, decked in such fearsome armour, looked at the formidable army he commanded on horseback with pride. The tall giant was confident knowing it was the perfect time to face the Romans in battle and now had an army fit to challenge them on the field. He’d made sure to choose the field of battle well so to suit his men keeping in mind terrain was important.

The chosen battlefield was a gently sloping hill that was a few leagues west of the Rhine and the stronghold of Argentoratum. Part of the field was filled with wheat, which had still not been harvested much to Chnodomarius’ surprise. His army lay at the crest of the slope while to his right was woodland though the ground was wet because of a derelict Roman aqueduct nearby. Adjacent to the woods was the highway, which led towards Argentoratum placed directly on his right flank, where the king had entrusted command to his nephew Serapio. Chnodomarius had remembered the words he gave to him before the battle.

Keep your wits about you when there is chaos all around, my nephew. And when in doubt make sure you honour your people!

The king had prayed deeply to the gods before the battle to spare Serapio but knew his main focus was defeating the Romans. It was there that had inspired Chnodomarius’ deployment of his army. On the right flank was his nephew commanding six thousand men: four thousand were visible upon the field of battle but on the other side of the road the other two thousand warriors hid patiently within the dense forest under the command of Dunwix. The four thousand under Serapio’s command were mainly Burgundians led by the fierce noble Suomarius.

In the centre was the main bulk of the army where up to twenty thousand warriors were placed led by five Almanni kings: Urius, Ursicinus, Westralp, Hortarius and Wadomar. Urius was on the right wing of the army adjacent to Serapio and Suomarius while Wadomar was on the left wing. But on the left flank was Chnodomarius with his cavalry. It was upon both flanks that Gigas intended to spring his surprise upon the Romans. The other five thousand men, which made up his thirty five thousand strong warhost, were dispatched to the baggage train to the rear merely a stone’s throw away from the Rhine. This was done because these men were of poor fighting ability and would only serve as cannon fodder if they fought.

However, Chnodoamrius and his army could then hear the sound of marching feet, which got louder with each passing second. As the Alamanni army looked to see the source of this intimidating sound they soon got their answer when seeing the Roman comitatus come into view. Many of the younger warriors in the Alamanni centre looked on in awe at seeing the organization and discipline of the Roman army. They could hear orders being barked about by tribunes on horseback, as banners and standards stood proudly amongst the Roman ranks. Chnodomarius was unfazed at the menacing impression given by the Romans for he had fought bigger Roman armies in the past and defeated them soundly. Sadly, many of these young soldiers have not.


Roman infantry advancing forward with skirmishers preparing to release missiles

*****

Julian saw the barbarian warhost come into view and gasped. He had known the Alamanni army numbered twice as much as his own army but seeing it at face value merely hit home the enormity of what the young general faced. However, Julian soon steadied himself, knowing that displaying fear or uncertainty to his subordinate officers before battle meant it would soon trickle down to his soldiers. He certainly did not want the battle to be lost before it even began. So Julian merely turned to his officers and brandished a smile.

“So many men,” Julian replied dismissively of the barbarian warhost. “Of which their mothers and their mothers before them felt the warm thrusts of our power! I am sure they will fold to our superior discipline and military tactics,” The officers chuckled.

“All of Rome and her subjects will soon know of the name Julian and the glory you will bring to Rome and our great Augustus,” Mahar replied graciously. Julian nodded in reply before turning to his comitatus.

“Then let us achieve glory!” Julian cried out before turning to his officers. “Commence the deployment of our comitatus to battle formation and head to your respective positions. Once that is done then I will speak to the men so to add fire to their hearts and calmness to their sweaty palms!” Soon orders were shouted from within the column by tribunes and generals. The Roman army expertly formed from column into line formation and then into their battle formation, which they had been drilled upon several times in training. As the comitatus readied itself for battle Julian could see in full view how he had deployed his army.

The infantry were placed in the centre and had been drawn up into two lines. Each line was widely spaced apart and several ranks deep. In the first line was a mixture of auxilia and regular infantry in the shape of the comitanteses. The auxilia were on both wings of the first line with two regiments on either side of the line numbering five hundred men each. On the extreme end of the left wing were the Petulantes and Heruli regiments. Though not as experienced as the other auxilia units in his comitatus Julian knew they were a good bunch of men who were keen to fight and if need be die for their Caesar.

On the other end of the line in the right wing were the Cornuti and its sister unit the Bracchiati whom Julian trusted to keep order because they were the best units in the auxiliary regiments under his command. At the centre were four legions, placed right in the middle of the first line, so to keep order if attacked and when given the command be the focal point of a counter attack. Each of these four legions: the Moesiaci, Pannoniciani, Ioviani and Herculiani numbered a thousand men per legion. Julian knew they could do what was expected of them especially as Ammanius commanded the first line and was an able officer.

In the second line, which was a hundred and fifty paces away from the first line, is where Julian placed himself with his escort bodyguard of two hundred cavalrymen known as the equites scholars. Julian had placed a second line as a reserve for two main purposes. Firstly, to quickly intervene should the Alamanni threaten to break through the first line. Secondly, to exploit opportunities or weakness among the barbarians should they arise. Among the second line were the Celtae auxilia regiment on the left wing numbering a thousand men while on the right wing were two auxilia regiments numbering five hundred men each: the Batavi and Reges.

At the centre of his reserve was his most experienced legion; the thousand men of the Primani. Julian looked at them with glowing respect, as in many engagements had proven their worth time and time again. He likened them to the triarii – veteran soldiers of the Republic who were called into battle to save the day when the hastasti and principes were hard pressed or the army threatened to collapse at the hands of the enemy.

Caesar remembered an old saying when the triarii had to be thrown into battle highlighting how precarious the battle was for Rome: In the end it came down to the triarii. Caesar hoped the Primani would be used only to pursue a routing enemy but was assured they would be up to the task if called upon. Between the two lines Julian had placed his archers the sagittarii in a thin formation spanning the length of both lines so to offer missile protection if needed.

On the flanks Julian had carefully placed his cavalry knowing his specially trained horsemen were better trained than the Alamanni. On his left flank he had put Severus in command with two thousand men – four units of five hundred men each under the Magister’s tutelage. Three of those four units were auxilia that had been peeled from the rest of the auxiliary regiments. However, the fourth regiment were sagittarii, with Julian keen to give Severus as much missile protection as possible especially if Alamanni cavalry emerge from the woodland that had so keenly intrigued Julian when he first scanned the battlefield upon first view.

On the right flank was where the Caesar had placed all of his cavalry. Six regiments were formed up ready for battle and Julian had made sure to deploy them into two lines. In the middle of the second line were two vexillationes of cataphracts, which was led by Mahar, whose horsemen were keen to ready themselves to deliver one of their famous charges wherein they smash into the enemy’s ranks without any mercy given whatsoever.

On the far left and far right wing of the second line both adjacent to the cataphracts were two cavalry squadrons each numbering five hundred: the Gentiles on the far left and the Scutarii, where Lupinicus was positioned, on the far right. In the first line were two vexillationes of cavalry that were missile troops purely tasked to harass the enemy. One was the Dalmatae who carried javelins and the other the Sagittarii equipped with arrows.

Julian had told his officers prior to reaching the battlefield of his intentions: to use his horsemen to full advantage. He would order his cavalry to advance and break the enemy’s flank before wheeling around to set themselves upon the Alamanni in the rear. However, Julian knew if his initial plan did not work then it was in the centre where the battle would be decided, with the young general assured his legions and auxilia in the first line would hold firm. Roman armour, training and discipline will prevail against these barbarians he thought assuredly to himself. As Julian looked at his formidable army he then turned to the cornicerns and signalled the advance.

*****

Chnodoamrius turned his head to the Romans upon hearing the blaring of the cornicerns indicating the advance of the comitatus. In turn the Alamanni army shouted loudly in defiance before turning to their tall leader.

“Gigas, why do you stand up there?” asked one warrior.

“Fight amongst us and let spill Roman blood!” demanded another.

“Let us earn honour on foot instead of languishing upon a horse!” Chnodomarius smiled while the demands for him to dismount and fight among his warriors in the centre grew. He knew that leading the main body of German foot warriors from the front was the ethos of a warrior and king. However, Chnodomarius was aware that by doing so he would have no control of the battle, as he would be in the thick of the action in the centre instead of on horseback in the rear. Though he would not know what was happening in other sectors of the battlefield Chnodomarius felt it was a risk worth taking. The noble was keen not to lose face among his allies and turned to Lunved who was a trusted noble within his household.

“Stick to the plan, my friend,” he instructed Lunved who nodded in reply. “When the time comes you know what to do,” After Lunved shook his king’s hand Chnodomarius rode with his escort to the main body of warriors in the centre. He did so under a cacophony of wild cheering, as his warriors were ecstatic to see their king fight among them. Chnodomarius then dismounted before beckoning his horse away to the rear. As the gigantic king found himself deep within the ranks of the Alamanni centre he saw the imposing figure of a steadily advancing army. He then turned to his fellow warriors that stood by his side and nodded in reply. Chnodomarius knew no words were needed, as every man knew what to do: kill as many Romans as possible.

The rhythmic sound of marching feet reverberated across the fields of Argentoratum, as the Roman comitatus etched ever closer towards the Alamanni warhost. Julian rode his horse to the first line where he was quick to words of encouragement and instructions to the auxilia and legions at the head of his army. As he trotted back to the second line he then turned his horse around to face his advancing comitatus.

Julian’s eyes then gazed upon the disposition of his forces, as both armies were merely two hundred paces from each other. However, the young Caesar was alarmed to see his left flank abruptly stop walking in line with the rest of his army and cause the shape of his comitatus to be slightly skewed. Julian immediately called for a dispatch rider to which a young man on horseback quickly galloped towards him.

“Ride to the left flank and seek Severus at the utmost haste,” he commanded with annoyance in his voice at what his Magister just did. “Tell him why has he stopped and ride back to me with his answer!” The messenger nodded before beckoning his horse to turn around and ride towards the left flank. Julian then turned to his right flank with a pleased look on his face when seeing his cavalry begin its attack upon the Alamanni left while the Roman infantry in the centre trundled slowly forward. Though Julian was slightly bemused at seeing the barbarian centre stand their ground, instead of charging into his ranks of infantry, the general was not rattled because he knew should his cavalry break through on the right then the battle was good as over.

*****

Lunved watched carefully on his horse within the left flank, as he saw the oncoming arrival of the Roman cavalry. His position on the left was situated within large wheat fields and though his horsemen were outnumbered the wily noble knew his master had compensated with a trump card. Chnodomarius remembered his words clearly: when the time comes you know what to do. As Lunved saw the oncoming Roman horsemen the noble was determined to heed those words.

“Hold steady!” he barked to his fellow cavalrymen so to install confidence into them. As Lunved’s eyes turned to the Romans he soon saw their intentions. Within the six squadrons of Roman cavalry, which were easily spotted by their insignia, the two missile cavalry squadrons pushed forward and began their harassing tactics. Both the equites dalmatae and equites sagittarii rode within range of the Alamanni cavalry perched upon the wheat fields and unleashed their volley of missiles.

“Raise shields!” came the call from the Alamanni cavalry. Shields were raised quickly so to absorb the blow of several arrows and javelins. Though most were parried or deflected a few still fell to the deadly missiles. However, while the two Roman cavalry squadrons retreated, the Alamanni right flank stood firm heeding the orders of Lunved. He knew that pursuing after them was a fool’s errand and would leave his cavalry badly exposed to attack. Therefore, despite withstanding several showers of missiles, the Alamanni cavalry stood firm.

Among the second line of Roman cavalry was the imposing figure of Mahar who looked on disappointed that the barbarians failed to take the bait of the missile cavalry and lure the Alamanni away from their positions at the crest of the slightly sloping hill. He turned to his melee cavalry giving a nod to Lupinicus, commanding the Scutarii, before pointing his lance to the enemy.

“Forward!” he roared. Horns akin to the old Arascid dynasty of Parthia, kept by the cataphracts so to remember their ancestors, blared menacingly that signalled the beginning of the cavalry’s advance. The horses trotted slowly before beginning to canter towards the enemy so to pace themselves. However, as they were seventy-five paces away from the Alamanni cavalry, another sounding of the Arascid horns signalled the charge. The ground shuddered with the thundering spectacle of hundreds of cavalry charging across the pristine grass. With lances and spears lowered the Roman cavalrymen screamed at their Alamannic foe.

Lunved stuck to the plan and ordered his cavalry to move from the wheat fields and meet the oncoming Romans. As Mahar saw the barbarians move off from the wheat field at the crest of the hill towards his cavalry the officer noticed the Alamanni horsemen were cantering towards them instead of meeting them head on. However, Mahar’s thoughts were interrupted, as both sides slammed into one another.

Horses whinnied at the point of collision, as cavalrymen on both sides tried to best one another. The cataphracts managed to get a slight advantage by colliding with pace, as the impact of the lance smashed through unfortunate Alamanni horsemen unable to deflect the blow of the formidable kontus - the deadly lance feared by many. Mahar took great delight at seeing his lance tear through the face of one unlucky horseman whose blood sprayed upon Mahar’s once immaculate armour.

Fighting raged along the right flank, as slowly but surely, the Romans used their experienced cavalry regiments to good use. It seemed like Julian’s plan to break the Alamanni’s left flank before wheeling onto the enemy’s rear and flank was coming to fruition. However, little did the Romans know, that was exactly what Chnodomarius had expected. When Lunved used his shield to knock off a Roman cavalryman off his mount, before gutting him with a spear, the noble turned to one of his standard bearers.

“Give the order!” he roared. The young soldier trotted his horse to the rear of the right flank, which was forty paces near the wheat field, where the Alamanni cavalry initially had been deployed. The standard bearer stopped his horse before waving the banner he held furiously and then planting it onto the grass. For a few seconds nothing happened. But then a loud shout erupted from within the wheat fields. Suddenly, hundreds upon hundreds of heavily armoured warriors burst from the wheat fields, charging hysterically with weapons raised towards the Roman cavalry. When Mahar used his sword to slash the chest of an Alamanni horseman, who fell to the ground, his face drained underneath his armour at the sight of two thousand bloodthirsty barbarians head towards his vexillationes.

“How could this be?” he muttered in shock to himself. “Where did they come from?” Lunved smiled at seeing the looks of bewilderment upon the faces of the Romans. Chnodomarius had two good reasons to try and spring this sort of trap. Firstly, the wheat fields offered excellent cover for his warriors to hide in. Those killed or wounded in the missile storm, so brutally unleashed by the Roman horse archers, could be hidden within the dense field. Secondly, Chnodomarius knew by concealing some of his best warriors within the wheat field, it would make his left flank appear weakened and be targeted by the Romans. Now the Romans had taken the bait and Lunved would make sure they would pay the price.

“Forward!” Lunved screamed, as the arriving warriors crashed into the surprised Roman cavalry. Mahar was dismayed to see many of these barbarians were carrying spears and using them to good use. Chaos wreaked along the right flank, as while cataphracts and regular Roman cavalry battled against Alamanni horsemen, the ambushing barbarians hit them on their flank with devastating results. Romans were dragged off their mounts and gutted where they lay with little mercy given. Meanwhile, those cataphracts trying to push back the Alamanni, were soon swamped by several spear-wielding barbarians. Because those barbarians on foot saw the cataphracts had such powerful armour they savagely stabbed these clibanarii numerous times.

Mahar had great difficulty keeping focus, as while he was trying to kill enemy horsemen, he had to comprehend with Alamanni spearmen trying to throw him off his horse. The officer then sword loudly when his sword became so deeply lodged on the side of a Alamanni cavalryman face that he couldn’t prize it out. Mahar could then see two barbarians on foot notice the Arabian born officer seemed weaponless. Seeing their chance the two men lowered spears and prepared to attack.

However, Mahar smiled menacingly, as he calmly untangled his large black mace. The two barbarians were stopped in their tracks when they saw just how menacing the mace truly was. It was bigger than normal maces and had several protruding spikes. But what made it truly frightful was it still displayed blood and gore: horrific reminders of its victims who once brimmed with life before meeting their end at the hands of the mace. Mahar’s horse whinnied, as its front legs threw itself off the ground, with Mahar holding the reins in the hope of not being thrust off his saddle. When it reached the bloodied ground did Mahar gallop towards the two barbarians who in turn charged towards the cataphract.


The mace of Mahar.

With his left hand Mahar swung his mace so to gain speed in the hope his mace would have such force it would kill his foe. On his right hand he gripped his shield so to make sure his flank was not exposed. Mahar then made his move as with his mace swung downwards towards the first barbarian on his left. His blow was so powerful that the mace crushed his skull with blood imploding from his crushed head before falling to the ground in a heap.

However, Mahar was quick to recover, as the second soldier tried to thrust his spear towards his horse. But the cataphract had anticipated that move and countered it by using his reins to move his horse away so to avoid the dangerous spear point. Mahar counterattacked by pushing his shield forcefully onto the man’s spear, which was now exposed after his failed attack, causing it to be flung away and was far away from the spearman’s grasp. Mahar then delivered the death knell by swinging his mace onto the barbarian’s face. The spikes etched deep into the face with blood seeping upon the dying man’s cheeks and neck. As Mahar pulled his mace out of the man’s face the cavalryman could hear a sickening crunching sound. The cavalry officer saw the mace had pulled out most of the man’s face and had stuck to the weapon. Now all that remained of the man’s face was a bloodied shadow of what once remained. As he fell to the ground Mahar smiled at how he wielded his fearsome mace.

However, Mahar’s cockiness at dispatching those two barbarians, meant he was unaware to the presence of an cavalryman who came upon his flank. Mahar heard the sound of thundering hooves before turning around to see the oncoming horseman. In desperation he raised his shield and also swung his mace rashly in the direction of the axe wielding Alamanni warrior. Mahar soon felt blinding pain arrive within him, as the axe managed to pierce his armour. He looked down and saw to his horror blood quickly seeping from the hole within his armour in his chest.

Life soon ebbed away, as Mahar felt woozy, before he lost control of his mount and the horse buckled to the ground. The cavalry officer turned around to see what was happening and could see the barbarian who had killed him lie on the ground nearby dead with the officer’s mace lodged in the man’s head. As Mahar’s breathing became haggard the officer found solace in managing to kill the man who had mortally wounded him. With his final breaths before passing into the afterlife he uttered these last words: May the gods bless past deeds and honour future efforts that will be committed by my brothers.

The death of Mahar installed panic among the Roman cavalry who were struggling to deal with the combined threat of Alamanni horsemen and spearmen that hid within the wheat fields. However, the breaking point came when the mount of one of the cavalry tribunes fell due to fatigue, before being swamped upon by bloodthirsty barbarians. Upon seeing these events play out the cataphracts panicked and fled. The Alamanni on their left flank shouted joyfully at seeing these fearsome horsemen flee.

“Reges, the Roman cavalry are fleeing!” one of the horsemen shouted triumphantly. “Should we pursue and turn their flank?” Lunved thought deeply at this suggestion before giving his answer.

“Let us reform the line first,” he replied. “Then we shall push forward and try to eradicate what remains of their flank before wheeling to their rear,” The rider nodded before galloping away. Lunved then looked at the fleeing Roman cavalry and smiled at the devastation his fellow men wrought.

“Now the tide has turned!” he said confidently to himself.

*****

Julian looked on in disbelief at seeing his right flank butchered and his prized cavalry flee. To make matters worse the large dense block of Alamanni warriors in the centre were emboldened at the efforts of Lunved and charged towards the Roman infantry at the behest of Chnodomarius’ rallying war cry. Before Julian could do anything his eyes gazed to the left, as he saw the dispatch rider gallop towards him and salute.

“What news do you bring?” Julian asked hastily.

“Severus says he stopped his flank advancing because he thinks adjacent and behind the Alamanni left flank are barbarians in the woods waiting to ambush his division once locked in combat,” the messenger explained. “He says that by refusing battle he is saving the left flank and will not endanger it by walking into a likely ambush. Though if you order him to advance he will comply at once,” Julian at first was irritated at Severus’ refusal to advance. But when analyzing it further the general realized there was merit to Severus’ explanation.

“Head back to Severus and tell him to stand fast,” Julian instructed the rider. “Should what you think is true then by refusing to advance then you will force their hand. If they attack then hold at all costs. I mean it: hold at all costs!” The rider understood the importance of his orders and galloped towards Severus’ division at once. Meanwhile, Julian beckoned another rider to him, as the Alamanni centre threw themselves onto the Roman first line with great ferocity.

“Gallop to Ammianus along the first line,” the Caesar ordered. “Give him instructions to hold and convey my belief in him that he will not fail me,” The messenger nodded before trotting towards the first Roman line. With his messengers to the left flank along with the centre delivered Julian then turned his horse around and escorted by his bodyguard rode towards the area behind the second line. It took him a few minutes to reach the rear wherein he saw the bedraggled figures of his cavalry regiments whom had been unceremoniously driven off the field by the Alamanni horse and spearmen.

“Are you or are you not my best cavalry within the western provinces?” Julian spoke angrily at seeing his cavalry look miserable and sorry for themselves. “Then why is it you flee and end up here in a position of weakness like an abused hand maiden!”

“Caesar, the Alamanni came upon us like demons in the night!” cried out one tribune. “We engaged their cavalry while men carrying spears came out of nowhere and struck us down. Mahar lies dead out there and once we fell our spirits were crushed hence why we withdrew!” Julian looked at the man who had just spoken with surprise.

“Mahar has fallen?” he whispered in shock. The cavalrymen nodded. Julian felt sad at his friend’s passing knowing he was a brave warrior. The general then composed himself before addressing his sullen warriors. “Then all the more reason to get back out there and honour Mahar’s memory. Standing here sulking will only leave our right flank open and be exploited by the barbarians. So raise your standards and fight!” A small pause lingered between the two factions while fighting raged on behind Julian. But Lupinicus mounting his horse soon broke that silence.

“Caesar is right!” he exclaimed. “Though the barbarians have given us a bloody nose we in revenge shall decapitate them. So let us mount our horses and fight!” Lupinicus’ rallying cry brought renewed vigor to the cavalrymen who mounted their horses or put on their helmets. Lupincius turned to Julian who gave the cavalryman a nod of gratitude in acknowledgement.

“Where do you want us, Caesar?” he asked.

“Along the right flank,” Julian commanded. “The barbarians near the wheat fields are reforming for an advance to press home their gains. I want you to counter their attack and fix them where they are. Use the Dalmatae and Sagittarii to harass them so they will not get a moment’s rest. I have no doubt you can atone your previous mistakes and avenge the death of Mahar,” Lupinicus acknowledged the orders given to him and with the cavalry galloped to the right flank. Julian soon turned his horse around galloped towards the centre where he knew he was needed there.

*****

Serapio could hear the sounds of battle to his left knowing his fellow brothers were locked in combat with Rome. Though that pleased him what didn’t was the fact the Romans opposite him were refusing to advance. Serapio knew very well his foes did not shy away from a fight hence realizing something was wrong. The young warrior felt there was one reason why the Roman left flank was standing there idle.

“They know what lies within the forest,” he muttered ruefully to himself referring to Dunwix’s two thousand warriors lying within the woods. Serapio was faced with a dilemma now his plan had been thrown into disarray with the Romans realizing he had prepared an ambush in the forest. He could either stand there doing nothing or go on the attack. However, both options carried risks.

If he were passive by doing nothing then the battle would rage in the center and other flank where it could be won or lost. However, if he decided to attack then he would risk his left flank, thereby giving the Romans a chance to stabilize their flank or rout Serapio’s division off the field and seriously endanger Chnodomarius’ army. Moreover, attacking the Romans would mean putting Dunwix’s warriors into the fray because the forest only came up to the rear flank of Serapio’s men, thus losing the element of surprise. Despite this there was only one option Serapio was going to take.

“Prepare for battle!” he screamed at the top of his voice, as he drew his sword and pointed at enemy, to the loud cheers of his men amidst the blaring of horns. Amid the third sounding of the horns Serapio led the advance towards the Roman ranks. Opposite them near the Roman highway, which bisected the flank, Severus smiled at seeing Serapio’s men charge towards him. He then turned to his sagittarii whom stood infront of the auxilia that made up the left flank.

“Nock bows!” he bellowed loudly, as the archers followed his command.

“Aim!” he shouted at the top of his voice, as the shouting from the barbarians reached a sound so high, it was not lunacy to think glass would break under such sounds.

“Loose!” The archers released their storm of arrows into the bright blue sky before descending sharply onto the Alamanni. Some were able to raise shields in time but others weren’t and fell to the piercing arrows.


Sagittarii releasing arrows onto the barbarians.

“Loose!” Severus exclaimed who was eager to get a second volley. Again the arrows found their target with hundreds dead or dying as a result. Though the arrow storm hindered the rampaging advance of the Alamanni left flank it did not stop it and resumed its advance.

“Archers to the rear!” Severus shouted. “Auxilia, ready spears and prepare to hold formation!” Within moments the archers marched back towards the rear, as they went past the three auxilia regiments tasks to hold the line. Each man lowered their spear and grasped their shield tightly while patiently awaiting the oncoming barbarian storm. It came with a shuddering crash, as both sides screamed with one another, with men thrown off their feet at the sickening collision.

Those Romans unable to get into position after the original impact were cut down where they stood. However, despite the initial push made by the barbarian charge, the left flank quickly stabilized as a result of the superior training and discipline of the crack palatini regiments. Severus rode on horseback behind the lines inspecting his men hold their ground.

“Keep it steady!” he cried out. “Hold the line for the glory of Rome and your own regiments!” Under these stirring words the line held with Severus adamant to follow Julian’s command, which he had received before the Alamanni attacked from the dispatch rider, to hold the flank by whatever means necessary. Minute by minute the Romans along the left flank resisted the strong attacks made by Serapio’s men. The uncle of Chnodomarius looked on in anguish at seeing the auxilia units cut down any Alamanni that tried to get inbetween the regiments. Serapio could see how highly trained they were. Serapio headed back to his rear and saw the weary figure of Suomarius who was caked in blood.

“My men have attacked the Romans three times and have been repelled on each occasion!” he shouted in exasperation. “If we keep this up we will have no men left!”

“Then we bring in our reserves!” Serapio shouted back irritably at how the casualties were piling up. “We bring Dunwix’s men from within the forest and attack again!”

“Very well,” Suomarius nodded. “I’ll ride to the woods and tell him of your plans!” Suomarius disengaged from the fighting and made his way from the woods. As he did this Serapio turned around and once again headed into the thick of the fighting. On the other side Severus felt content at seeing his men hold out. However, his confident demeanor was soon shaken, as he saw two thousand barbarians arrive from within the forest to link up with those engaged in fierce fighting against the auxilia.

“I knew they were hiding men in the forest!” shouted Severus angrily to his retinue before composing himself when realizing what this meant. “If the barbarians have committed men from the woods, which were originally to be used in ambushing us, then the Alamanni on this flank are losing far more men in an attempt to break the line. Then let them fall upon us and taste death at the hands of Roman grit!” With the influx of Dunwix’s soldiers the Alamanni on the flank carried out yet another attack. But yet again their assaults were not coordinated and reckless meaning they were easily dealt with after the initial ferocious burst from the barbarians. Severus smiled at seeing his auxilia stand fast thereby bleeding the barbarian numbers' dry.

“Runner!” the Magister summoned a messenger who beckoned to Severus. “Head to Julian in the centre and tell him this: the Alamanni have shown their hand and have attacked my flank. They have committed all reserves, which includes the suspected warbands hiding in the forest, into the fight. My soldiers are holding them back and soaking up their pressure. Their chance to break through our lines have failed,” The runner nodded and proceeded to head to the centre in search of Julian. As he did so Severus beckoned his horse forward and try to install renewed vigor to his hard pressed regiments who were bravely battling the barbarian onslaught.

*****

Chnodomarius raised his shield effortlessly, as he once again parried a clumsy thrust of a spear from a legionary, before the king thrust his sword into the man’s chest and pulled it out while the Roman fell to the ground. Chnodomarius was covered in blood after being in the thick of the fighting. However, his growing years meant he was feeling the strain, as he moved back from the fierce fighting so to regain his breath and composure. As he rested with others who were licking their wounds in the middle of the Alamanni centre the king saw the figure of Westralp come towards him.

“How fares the battle so far?” shouted Chnodomarius, eager to know of events elsewhere.

“On our left flank things are going well, as the Roman cavalry have been pushed back,” Westralp replied. “From what the runners have told me Lunved is pushing forward so to finish them and outflank the Romans. On the right flank Serapio’s men are at a stalemate and that is all I know,” Chnodomarius nodded at the news given to him and was pleased his plan had worked so brilliantly against the Roman cavalry.

“How is it like along the rest of the centre?” he asked his fellow ally.

“I am sure you know all too well it is sheer carnage here,” Westralp explained, as his eyes lingered towards Chnodomarius’s bloodied armour and face. “The Romans are certainly holding on grimly but we are not exactly helping. Ursicinus and Urius’ warriors along my flank are simply attacking recklessely charging headlong into Roman spears. None of us can make any headway and I’m sure it is the same situation down where you are fighting,”

Chnodomarius sighed heavily knowing all too well Westralp was correct: charging carelessly like Urius and Ursicinus into massed spears only brought about heavy losses. The tall king knew he had to find a way to break the Roman line before their centre was bled to the extent the Romans could counterattack and break the Alamanni. Chnodomarius then turned to Westralp.

“I know how to break this irritable stalemate,” he assured his friend. “Bring all the kings behind the ranks along with their best warriors. Have the rest hold the center,”

“What are you planning, Gigas?” Westralp looked on puzzled.

“You’ll see!” Chnodomarius cried out, as he moved to the rear. “ Trust me!”

On the Roman side of the centre Ammianus rode on horseback while the archers released several showers of arrows upon the enemy so to harass them. The young officer had felt so far he had controlled the centre well. The first line held on against repeated Alamanni attacks and inflicted far more casualties onto the barbarians than the other way around. However, the barbarians stopped their clamoring war cries, as if time was suspended itself. Ammianus thought the barbarians were wavering and their resolve was finally broken. He even thought they were about to flee to the Rhine.

But Ammianus’ thoughts were severally mistaken for behind the front ranks of the Alamanni centre a murmuring began to simmer before gradually raising to a loud and almost ear splitting shout. The deafening sound caught the gaze of Julian who stood perched on his horse behind the second Roman line in the centre wondered where and what this new noise was occurring from. Even the auxilia and men of the legions were intrigued, as this was a sound they had never heard before. It was as if the gods descended from the earth and shrieked its fiery wrath upon their foe. Then, the Romans found out what this terrible sound was.

Heben schwert, axt und speer, mein bruder: weiterfahrt nach Walhalla! “Raise sword, axe and spear, my brothers: onwards to Valhalla!” Chnodomarius screamed in German to a cacophony of blood curdling screams of delight. At the sounding of several horns the front ranks parted ways to reveal a sight that caused Ammianus, Julian and the comitatenses in the centre to gasp in horror. What their eyes saw was two thousand men, led by Chnodomarius who was at the vanguard, leading the tribal kings and their best warriors into a headlong charge against the Roman line.


Chnodomarius at the head of the wedge against the Roman centre.

But what was different was the formation they took: the globus. Their ranks were massed and shaped into a wedge formation: exactly like a vexillation of cataphracts used when smashing into an enemy formation. Upon first viewing Julian knew exactly of their intentions and sweated profusely in fear at what was happening.

“They mean to specifically target the exact middle of the line!” he spoke despondently. Julian’s words spoke true, as the globus slammed into the small gap separating the Pannoniciani and Ioviani legions, the exact centre of the first Roman line. The wedge careered through the small gap before exploited by the wings and then flanks who were the best warriors in the army and heavily clad. Chnodomarius was at the forefront, as he took out his small yet lethal battleaxe, and decapitated the head of a tribune who desperately tried to rally the shocked Ioviani legion.

Ammianus looked on in dismay at seeing a breach begin to open, as the globus moved ever deeper into the first Roman line. Chndomarius hacked his axe wildly at any man wearing red. Those that tried to stop him were fighting a losing battle, as his axe found Roman flesh, with the result being entrails cast out while men lie on the ground screaming for their mothers before death took them. With every passing second the gap in the Roman centre grew wider, as Chnodomarius’ fellow kings supported the wedge by throwing themselves onto the enemy. Not even the sagittarii mass volley of arrows could stop their charge. Soon the Alamanni grew in confidence, as the Romans desperately tried to plug the gap.

“Caesar, the first line is close to collapse!” Ammianus shrieked, as he galloped towards him. “The archers have ran out of arrows and such is the seriousness of the breach I have thrown them into the fray in an attempt to push them back!” Julian chewed his lip when assessing the situation. He had been surprised the barbarians had managed to open a gap in the first line, but knew though the auxilia and legions were his elite, the Alamanni had been fighting Rome for many years and knew a few tricks.

The Caesar’s eyes then lingered twenty paces infront of him to the second line, primarily the tough Primani legion and then sighed heavily. Seems three hundred years after the Republic was dissolved the saying still rings true: even now it still came down to the triarii! With these thoughts in his head Julian headed to address the Primani legion, as well as the Celtae, Batavi and Reges auxilia regiments on the legion’s flanks. Each man saluted their Caesar and listened attentively.

“Men, I will not hide the cold facts from you, as you deserve better than that!” he cried out hiding no emotion or passion in his voice before pointing to the first line. “Out there are your fellow brothers! They are doing all they can to stem the breach made by the barbarians upon their line. But I fear the Alamanni will break through and come upon us. But know this: I will stand with you and fight by your side. These past few years I have learned the customs, values and ideals of the Roman comitatus. I have bled with you as you in turn bled with me. Should we die today then I am blessed to have fought beside you. However, promise me this: show these devils what it means to be men of the Primani, Batavi, Celtae and Reges!”

The second line erupted into lusty cheering, as they responded to Julian’s speech with looks of inspiration. As they show their gladness the Alamanni broke through the first line. At the forefront of the breach was the statuesque figure of a bloodied man whose stature was magnified by the sun’s rays that silhoutetted him. However, every man that included even Julian himself, knew who he was.

“Chnodomarius!” whispered the men of the auxilia in shock at seeing the notorious king in the flesh for the first time.

“Gigas!” muttered the soldiers of the Primani whose nerves jangled at the sight of Alamanni king leading his mass of warriors from the gap they had punched through the Roman line. The blood splattered giant’s eyes soon lingered towards Julian, as he smiled at locating the Roman war-king lying among his escort behind the Primani, the Roman’s banner noticeable among others for it was a draco standard: purple with a bronze animal head with its mouth hanging open and a windsock behind it. Upon sighting Julian, Chnodomarius bellowed loudly before sprinting towards the Primani with his axe lowered, followed closely by his loyal warriors and allied kings. Julian then turned to the second line.

“Defensive formations!” he shouted, as if they were in training. Across the line did auxilia and comitatenses lower their spears and push their shield forward in anticipation of the barbarian charge. Missiles were thrown from what arrows and javelins remained left to try and stifle the barbarian advance.


Roman missiles desperately try to stop the Alamanni hordes.

Within seconds screams erupted, as the two sides were locked in grueling combat. Chnodomarius was once again at the thick of the fighting trying to scythe a path through so he could reach Julian and kill the troublesome Caesar. He’d hoped the same trick that had cut through the two Roman legions in the first line would be repeated in the second line. However, Chnodomarius did not realize the Primani had much stouter hearts. Instead of melting away the legionaries stood their ground, as they held on with great determination, along with the three auxiliary regiments on both their flanks. The Alamanni too fought on with great tenacity in their quest to break their resistance and destroy the Roman comitatus.

On both sides men grappled with each other when their weapons broke while heads were decapitated, organ parts fell to the ground when a sword or axe found the unguarded gut of an unfortunate warrior. The terrifying sounds of war reverberated along the line, as both sides battled for supremacy. In the meantime Julian looked on, while trying to rally his distressed soldiers, realizing he was no longer the young man who read books of philosophy, but a person of authority who craved war and relished in fighting a pitched battle. As he spurred his horse towards the ranks of the Primani he exhorted the legion’s efforts.

“Not one step back, my fighting comitantenses!” he roared in encouragement. “Send them back to the Rhine and have them quench their thirst under the hot sun by tossing these barbarians to the river!” Slowly but surely the second Roman line began to check the initial Alamanni advance. Now it was the case of who could outlast the killing. Though Chnodomarius fought on, like a man possessed by the gods, his allied kings were not so lucky. Ursicinus, Westralp along with Hortarius had accompanied Chnodomarius to break the first line and followed him to engage the second line.

Of those three kings Ursicinus had fallen to a spear to the chest while Hortarius was slain after being cordoned by a group of Romans and hacked to death where he stood. As sunset neared the Roman second line were killing more of Chnodomarius’ warriors. Julian could see it, as he looked on with growing confidence, figuring the battle was slowly swinging his way by means of attrition and superior Roman discipline along with training.

To make things worse the Roman first line did not collapse after Chnodomarius’ warriors broke through between the Pannoniciani and Ioviani legions. In fact, the first line simply contained the breach, not allowing it to expand. The experienced frontline legions in the centre managed to hold their separated wings in formation supported by the four auxiliary regiments on the extreme far left and far right wings in the centre. Those barbarians fighting the Roman legions in the centre, deciding not to or were unable to exploit the breach, were being cut down and their ranks depleted with the growing dead piling the bloodied fields.

Chndomarius did not know any of this, as he was focused on cutting a path through the Roman second line. But the tall king soon heard several repeated notes from a cornicern, which made him look up, but it was the location of the notes that made his heart sink. Julian, as well as other soldiers in the second line, looked at where the cornicern was coming from. What they saw soon raised their spirits.

“It’s Severus!” roared Julian in elation slapping the shoulder of one of his scholares adjacent to him. Seven hundred of Severus’ soldiers arrived from the Roman left to crash into the unguarded flank of Chnodomarius’ contingent. The result was carnage, as Alamanniac soldiers were swept off their feet at this sudden onslaught. Those thrown to the ground were hacked to death or gutted where they stood. Inch by inch, with the arrival of Severus' division, the Romans began pushing the Alamanni back at a much quicker pace than before.

Chnodomarius could see his men were being hemmed from the front and the Roman left flank. Gigas could see the tide was now turning against his men, as his warriors across the line were exhausted not to mention demoralized, by their lack of progress and severe losses. The mass of the Alamanni army was trapped in a tightening Roman crescent. Those barbarians on the edge of the noose were systemically cut down while the warriors in the middle were being packed together causing them to be unable to move freely.

Julian looked on with great pleasure at seeing the Alamanni contingent that broke through the first line slowly being immobilized. As the pressure increased the barbarians couldn’t take it and began to flee towards the centre. The panic spread like fire across the line, from the centre to the right flank where the cavalry duel had come to a bloody stalemate before the retreat. It soon became infectious, as soon as a group of warriors saw their friends running for their lives they followed suit and fled.


The disintegration of the Alamanni advance and subsequent retreat.

“Head to the Rhine!” screamed those warriors that had before cheered wildly at Chnodomarius’ warriors breaching the first line. Meanwhile, Julian was keen to press home the advantage.

“Hunt them down!” he commanded, as infantry, auxilia and cavalry ran after the fleeing barbarians. As they did so the young general laughed heartily when seeing the beaming figure of Severus come towards him on horseback.

“By my sword, how your arrival was sorely needed!” he cried out joyfully, as he shook Severus’ hand. “How were you able to come to my aid?”

“By breaking the barbarians attacking me on my flank!” Severus replied boastfully. “They sent all their reserves to try and break my line but my brave soldiers held the line before they crumbled. I sent most of my warriors to pursue them while I thought it would be wise to send a regiment to your aid when seeing the carnage wrought along your sector. I am glad I was of such help to you, Caesar!”

“You shall be rewarded for your outstanding efforts!” Julian bowed in appreciation. “But first we must end this battle!” And with it did they head north towards the river.

*****

On the other side of the sloped hill where the battle was fought, not far from the Rhine, Serapio looked on in horror at seeing a scene of utter chaos play out before him. Thousands of Alamanni warriors were running for their lives; eager to outrun the pursuing Roman soldiers. However, those that were wounded were soon left behind, as they collapsed to the ground in agony of the wounds they received not long ago. In desperation, some warriors formed a rearguard so to allow those hurt the opportunity to make a dash to the river.

As Serapio ran pass the torched baggage train, set on fire so to deny the Romans capturing the carefully stocked supplies, the young reges turned around to get a bearing of his location. However, he was terrified to see the arrival of Roman cavalry and infantry at the top of the hill, licking their lips at the amount of retreating Alamanni they were.

“By the gods,” he muttered in shock at seeing the vulnerability of the withdrawing barbarians. Serapio knew flight was the only way to live and sprinted towards the Rhine merely a league away. Meanwhile, the chasing Roman cavalry mercilessely ploughed through the rearguard, before the arriving infantry took no prisoners whatsoever. After running for what seemed like an eternity Serapio sighed in relief at seeing the Rhine come into view.

However, the river was filled with hundreds upon hundreds of men swimming the river, while hundreds more were approaching the river and hundreds more had managed to swim it before fleeing eastwards. Thankfully, Serapio was a good swimmer, managing to traverse the Rhine in a short space of time despite his armour slowing him down. But, when Serapio reached a safe distance on the east bank, he could not help but turn his face towards the Rhine.

The Romans arrived in force cutting down those who had not reached the river in time. Soon, the archers arrived along the west bank preparing to nock their bows, before releasing several arrows into the river. The missiles hit scores of people, with many drowning because of their wounds, or their armour pulled them down compounded by their inability to swim. At the end several hundred dead littered both sides of the Rhine and within the river itself. Serapio could look on with tears streaming down his face, as he walked eastwards.

*****

The Romans trawled the battlefield at the arrival of sunset going through their dead and wounded. It had been a bloody afternoon, as Julian looked on wearingly at the battlefield, littered with the dead of both Romans and Alamanni. The comitatus had hastingly erected a camp using several rows of shields stacked upon one another as ramparts. Julian took stock of the battle, which had so exhausted him; utterly relieved the battle had been won. To the general’s surprise, the casualty figures had been low, despite the barbarians nearly breaking through and routing his comitatus off the field.

“Three hundred killed and up to two thousand wounded with injuries ranging from light to mortal,” the Caesar remembered reading the tablet given to him by the physicians whom counted the dead and wounded that piled up their aid stations. Though Julian was disheartened to hear that among the dead were four tribunes, including his senior cavalry tribune Mahar, while the other three killed tribunes served in the Ioviani and Pannoniciani. However, despite losing such experienced officers in battle, the losses suffered by the Alamanni made up the blow.

The toll of those lying dead on the battlefield was given at six thousand men while thousands more drowned or were killed when trying to cross the Rhine. All in all Julian estimated the barbarians had lost a third of their warhost – twelve thousand men. As the general walked across the camp soldiers stood up in recognition of their Caesar who won them this great victory against the Alamanni. As the comitatus formed on the parade ground Julian addressed his soldiers.

“Soldiers!” he roared under complete silence, as his comitatus listened to his every word. “Today we have won a great victory: one the sons of Rome will be talking about for many years even after we perish from this life. However, the victory gained here today is upon the backs of you, without the aid of this comitatus then I will be nothing. It is I who bow down to you, men!” In reply one of the tribunes from the battered Primani legion stepped from within the ranks.

“Hail, Julian!” he shouted. “Hail to our Augustus!” Soon the chant widely reverbated across the parade ground, as the comitatus of Gaul hailed their hero. Inside Julian had turned cold, as his soldiers proclaimed him emperor, exactly like Silvanus. The general knew he had to act quickly before his enemies in the court of Constantius exploited this. Even Julian’s senior officers wondered what he was going to do.

“Do not address me under that name!” Julian cried out vehemently so to silence any talk of the title bestowed upon him by his men. “Only the Augustus can legally bestow a title to someone. Let it be known I take an oath declaring I have no ambition beyond the title. Moreover, I dedicate this victory to our Augustus!”

“Augustus!” the men cheered wildly, as they exlated the name of Constantius. After a few minutes of cheering Julian beckoned them to be quiet so to address them again.

“Your efforts were instrumental to my success and what I will show you now sums up the glory achieved by this comitatus!” he added. The Caesar then nodded to his escort guards behind him who then walked to a shack, which was used to imprison soldiers that broke military regulations before awaiting their punishment. As the door opened the Roman soldiers gasped in shock, as bound in chains before being pushed onto the stand where Julian stood, was the bloodied and ragged figure of Chnodomarius.

“This is the man that once ravaged Gaul!” Julian pointed at him contemptesouly. “Whose name once brought fear upon innocent Roman citizens residing along the Rhine before brutally set upon by his accursed minions!” The Roman soldiers shouted insults and other crude names at him before Julian quietened them.

“He may have been a warrior of great repute!” the Roman general further continued. “But I know you are thinking this: how was he captured?” Well, my brave soldiers, I will tell you how. As his army disintengrated this so called king split off from the thousands of soldiers fleeing from our wrath to a secret place further upstream like a thief in the night. He, along with his retinue, hoped to escape by reaching a boat to ferry him across the river; no doubt prepared for a time such as this.

However, he did not think he would be set upon by Roman cavalry, houded into a wood and captured like a wild boar. Julian then motioned to his standard bearer to come to him and gave Caesar the draco standard. Julian then walked to Chnodomarius and lowered the standard. Next to the shackled Alamanni king was Bainobaudes ready to translate.

“Kiss the standard and beg for mercy,” Julian offered the defeated king. “Comply and live under imprisonment upon the Augustus’ magnanimous clemency as a gift from me to our great emperor,” Chnodomarius was a broken man whose army had been ripped to pieces, unaware of what happened to his nephew and now captured by the Romans. As Bainobaudes translated Julian’s offer in German the bound king looked at the striding figure of the Roman Caesar. After a short pause Chnodomarius gave his answer: by kissing the standard with the greatest of reluctance but left with no choice.

“Hail Caesar!” chanted the Roman soldiers repeatedly at seeing the capitulation of Chnodomarius. All now knew this: the Alamanni confedration was now broken and a pitiful shell of its once former might.

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 05-26-13 04:57 AM EDT (US)     109 / 121       
An epic tale of blood and battle, well worth the wait. Plenty of action, detailed scenes, and an overall strategic view that was impressively done.

I enjoyed this chapter tremendously!

There were a few nits, but I will not ruin the wondrous thrill of reading this battle with them here and now. Proofread yourself to find and fix. IN the meantime, I am going to re-read this again.

Simply out-frikking-standing.

|||||||||||||||| 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
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 05-26-13 10:50 AM EDT (US)     110 / 121       
Excellent work, LoH, I've read it three times so far and I have hugely enjoyed it. Probably the best chapter of the story so far...

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 05-26-13 11:37 AM EDT (US)     111 / 121       
A superb chapter LoH. Very happy to see that you've started to follow my lead by adding multiple pictures to this update. They really help to bring to life scenes and situation involving the characters we've grown to love or despise. I particularly loved the picture of Mahar's mace. Reminded be of the one I have in my personal collection (my size 13 shoe for reference).



There a few misplaced and misspelled words (Arascid instead of Arsacid dynasty), but none of them were glaring or detracted from the excitement and epic pace of the chapter

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 06-19-13 12:31 PM EDT (US)     112 / 121       
Thank you for the kind messages regarding my chapter showing the battle of Argentoratum.

Sorry for the long delay but here is the new chapter!

*****

Thirty months later

Lutetia, Gaul

January 360 AD

*****

Julian sat in his headquarters furiously reading reports from his Magisters regarding the situation in the western provinces under his command. As he finished reading the pieces of parchment the general sighed heavily and looked at the mirror perched on the far side of the room. He saw his face and saw just how four years of campaigning had changed his once boyish innocent face to a one that had seen many battles.

“Four years of fighting barbarians will do that to you,” he chuckled to himself. The Magister at least was content at the situation along the Rhine. When he recollected what had happened since his great victory at Argentoratum the general felt he had manage to capitalize on it.

In the following days after the disintegration of the Alamanni confederation’s army at Argentoratum, along with the capture of Chnodomarius, Julian had been quick to seize upon his first ever major battlefield victory. The Caesar immediately launched an order to round up all remaining Alamanni who had settled in Alsace to be rounded up and expelled from imperial territory. Hundreds upon hundreds of families were forcibly moved across the Rhine to their old habitats.

Julian knew very well the victory at Argentoratum gave him the chance to go on the offensive against a now weakened Alamanni and finally restore the Rhine frontier. No more would he play cat and mouse with his army trying to locate roving Alamanni warbands raiding Gaul and causing vast economic damage to a vital region of the empire.

At the turn of the next year in 358 Julian took the intiative and crossed the Rhine. Julian chuckled when remembering his adulating army, who were devoted to their now experienced Caesar, crossed the Rhine knowing they were entering the heart of darkness. The more he pushed eastwards the more terrorized the divided Alamanni tribes sued for peace and accepted tributary status granting them a ten month truce.

Throughout 358 the Franks were subdued wherein the tribes of the Salii and Chamavi tribes surrendered and forced to pay vast sums of tribute – known as tributarii - to Rome. By the close of the year Julian sealed his knockout blow by again crossing the Rhine at Mainz and ravaged the land – such to the extent the remaining Alamanni kings still fighting Hortarius and Surmarius sued for peace.

As Julian looked at the map adjacent to the reports his Magisters had sent him the general could see the scale of his achievements since his victory against Chnodomarius at Argentoratum. Along the Rhine he had restored seven forts and town including Bonna, Bingium, as well as imposing a sense of calm along both sides of the Rhine. The Alamanni kings of Hortarius, Surmarius and even Westralp had been defeated without a need of a large scale battle because of their lands being so devastated and ravaged by the comitatus of Gaul.

“And how I imposed my wrath upon the barbarians when they were forced to submit to Roman power!” he thought maliciously to himself. Julian had entrusted these clauses on these peace treaties imposed onto the Alamanni:

– All tribes of the Alamanni are to provide supplies to the armies of Rome when called upon.

- All tribes of the Alamanni are to provide labour whether it be laborers or soldiers to fight in the auxiliary within Rome’s armies.

- Tribes within the Alamanni confederation are to return the thousands of Roman civilians abducted and enslaved during the years since the tyrant Chnodomarius crossed the Rhine with his hordes.


The only blots within his scale of achievements was he hadn’t been able to capture the nephew of Chnodomarius: Serapio. Despite offering lucrative awards upon his capture or death the young noble had managed to evade the clutches of Rome. Rumors were rife upon his whereabouts. Some said he was in Raetia while others speculated that he had travelled with the Burgundian king Suomarius after the defeat at Argentoratum. However, Julian hoped he would manage to capture the upstart sooner rather than later. But Julian was content at the death of Chnodomarius who was broken at the destruction of his army.

The young general knew his Augustus took great pleasure when presented with the shackled giant. Constantius was impressed at Julian’s victory and pleased he had given all the plaudits to the emperor. The imprisoned giant was soon taken ill upon his arrival in Italia and soon died in the land he swore to destroy. Though Julian respected the ferocity of the barbarian king he knew his death would be rejoiced in Gaul.

Another blemish was that one of Julian’s trusted officers Severus had been taken ill while campaigning a few months ago. What had so saddened him was his physicians had found out the Magister’s ailment was terminal. Severus fell to his sickness a few weeks ago and Julian would greatly mourn his passing.

However, Julian knew his other officers would make up for Severus’ death, as Lupinicus and Ammianus had proven excellent commanders when accompanying the Caesar when crossing the Rhine. His non Roman born tribunes Bainobaudes and Hariobaudes supported him well when badly needed causing Julian to respect his non Roman units.

It was this respect that caused Julian’s rule in Gaul to be absolute. His word was law and the Caesar’s power grew for his army worshipped him. But with great power brought about his tendency to practise his pagan beliefs in secret and with it the rumors began to surface yet again. His religious values were the talk of many within the court of Constantius. Julian knew he had to keep his religious practices secret but was angered at how both those who worshipped the old gods and Christianty could co-exist peacefully. It had to be one or the other.

Moreover, what also annoyed him were those within the court of Constantius. The enemies of Julian, which included many among the court, launched whispering campaigns against the Caesar of the West. However, the Augustus did not listen, mainly due to Julian’s success in the field. But the young general knew his enemies at home would soon strike at any time when the Caesar appeared weak.

“My enemies are plentiful and cunning,” he thought to himself. “Especially that snake Arbitio that Ursicinus told me about all those years ago. Look what he did to Barbatio!” The general shook his head ruefully when remembering hearing of what happened to Barbatio a few months ago. The pompous ass tried to get closer to Barbatio and paid for it by being incriminated to try and assassinate the Augustus.

Letters forged by a slave of Barbatio, no doubt given incentive by Arbitio, were discovered “supposedly” written by her wife that detailed Barbatio’s imperial ambitions. Julian remembered hearing from his allies within Italia how Arbitio jumped upon the discovery of his letter to Constantius. Barbatio and his wife were summarily arrested before brutally executed.

“Poor Barbatio,” he sighed. “The man wanted to be within the inner centre of the Augustus but tread on many toes. Incur the displeasure of certain people like Arbitio and the only option left for that person is death,” Thankfully, Julian’s successes in Gaul had saved him from Arbitio’s games, but knew his luck might run out should the victories dry up. After finishing recollecting his numerous victories the young general prepared himself to eat. But his plans were soon interrupted by a knock on his door.

“Enter,” he said briskly. A guard walked into the lavish quarters: despite Julian going through many changes he still wanted to project his Greek background.

“Caesar, there is a dispatch rider outside that requests an auidence with you,”

“Is it one of the scout patrols that has found something?” Julian wondered. “Or new from one of the frontier forts across the Rhine?”

“Neither, Caesar,” replied the guard before pausing causing Julian to become curious. “The rider says he has come from Britannia,”

Julian’s eyes twitched at the guard’s revelation.

“Britannia?” he replied confusingly. “Very well. Bring him in,” As the guard exited the room, Julian thought intently at what he had just heard. He was aware Britannia was part of his remit, as commander of the western provinces, but ever since he assumed command of the post four and a half years ago the lands of Britannia had not troubled him. He was aware that Constantius had made sure of that. He remembered what Ursicinus had taught him about the western provinces of Gaul and Britannia.

Britannia used to be a troublesome post but not on the scale of the Alamanni and Franks. In fact the main reason behind the instability was internal rebellion within the ranks of the Roman Empire than the natives since the fortification of Hadrian’s Wall. When Magentius decided to rebel against the Augustus, at the behest of his soldiers, his main support came from Britannia. After his defeat Constantius II was angered by the support of those in Britannia and sought to punish them. He inflicted harsh punishments and suppressed paganism where it had grown to troubling levels.

“Be that as it may,” Julian thought to himself. “Since the revolt of Magentius Britannia has been quiet apart from one or two minor raids north of Hadrian’s Wall by those barbarians,” However, Julian’s train of thought was interrupted, by the arrival of the dispatch rider. The man saluted before revealing a scroll from within his pouch and handing it to Julian. The Caesar looked at the seal binding the scroll and saw it had the inscribing words Dux Britanniarum on the seal. Julian realized the contents of the scroll must be of the highest importance, as the Dux Britanniarum commanded the northern lands of Britannia below Hadrian’s Wall with its headquarters at Eboracum. As he broke the seal Julian read the scroll with much trepidation:

*****

To Caesar of the western provinces,

I write to you with great urgency. The lands of Britannia are under threat for in recent weeks the lands of Britannia have come under heavy attack. To the north where I am stationed the Picts have crossed Hadrian’s Wall and raided our lands with impunity. Their raids have come within ten leagues of Eboracum itself. To make things worse the Scoti have crossed east from the old province of Hibernia to launch raids.

My resources are stretched to breaking point barely able to fend off these raids. Going after them so to cease any future attacks is nigh impossible. Caesar, I need reinforcements urgently. Your comitatus is full of multiple palatini units – the crack formations of the Roman armies in the west. I ask merely for two auxiliary regiments: a thousand men should be enough to stop them raiding Britannia and quell the troublesome attacks. Nectaridus who commands the south and eastern lands of Britannia agrees with my assessment. I await your reply.

Fullofaudes,

Dux Britanniarum


Julian dismissed the dispatch rider and as he left the room did the Caesar ponder what he had just read. The general knew the barbarian raids had the potential to become serious if left unchecked. But he was fully he couldn’t go to Britannia by himself.

“Roman emperors when on campaign are dangerous and I do not intend to leave the safety of Gaul unless ordered to by the Augustus himself!” he thought to himself. However, he knew very well Britannia was important, as a few months ago he had made the province his main supply depot that would house his granaries..

“If Fullofaudes need help then I will give it to him!” he proclaimed to himself. “The Aeruli and Batavi will be sent to Britannia within a few months: good regiments that have served me well. Lupinicus shall lead him as reward for his good service since taking over from Severus after dying. I am sure he will serve me well!”

As Julian issued their deployment orders to Britannia Julian hoped the peace in Gaul would hold steady.

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 06-20-13 06:27 AM EDT (US)     113 / 121       
I like the way you did a fast-forward and updated us on the event sin between. well done.

Looks like Julian is starting to cook his own goose with the paganism- but we all know his history from his name. It will be itneresting to see how this plays out.

Good installemnt!

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Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
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Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 06-22-13 11:24 AM EDT (US)     114 / 121       
A nice installment preparing the events that will follow...

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 06-28-13 02:11 PM EDT (US)     115 / 121       
A fine update LoH. A time skip is a good way to get past the mundane tasks of reorganizing and consolidating conquered, or in this case reconquered, territory and skip to the action and bloodshed. I'm hoping Julian doesn't fall victim to the machinations of the courtiers and sycophants in Rome like the unfortunate Barbatio did.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
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Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 06-29-13 10:59 AM EDT (US)     116 / 121       
Thanks for the kind replies. You shall see things take a intriguing turn.

*****

A few weeks had passed since Julian had received the letter asking reinforcements to be sent to Britannia to combat the growing barbarian raids. Since then the young general had been busy making sure the orders issuing the Batavi and Aeruli to be sent to Britannia were implemented. Requisition orders were sent out to commandeer supplies and rations for the two auxiliary regiments. As Julian read the parchment from his quartermasters at the comfort of his winter quarters at Lutetia he was assured that by next month in March the reinforcements could be sent to Britainnia. When the general put down the parchment on the table he smiled.

“Life in Gaul and the Rhine frontier is quiet since I have arrived,” he remarked to himself. “Puts into perspective what I have achieved in four years,” Julian knew he had followed his Augustus’ instructions to the letter. He had defeated the Alamanni, forced them as well as the Franks to peace treaties and brought order to the western provinces. That ought to be enough to silence my enemies. Let us hope the peace between the Alamanni and Franks holds! But as Julian boosted his ego by reminiscing about past triumphs a knock came upon his door.

“Enter!” he barked. The door opened to reveal a guard who walked into the room.

“Caesar, there is a man who wishes to see you,” he replied. “Says it is urgent,”

“Is it from one of my officers along the frontier?” Julian enquired. “Or news from Britannia? Has things taken a turn for the worse?”

“Neither,” the guard shook his head. “It is a tribune directly sent from the imperial court. He requests an audience with you,” Julian was surprised but chose not to show it. He soon composed himself and beckoned the guard to let the tribune in. After a few moments the door opened to reveal a tribune decked in such magnificent attire. Julian stared at the man whose red robe glistened in the confines of his quarters. This tribune is certainly from the court of Augustus. From head to toe his armour and battle fatigues are spotless. You can see he never spent much time campaigning!

“Julian, Caesar of the western provinces!” the tribune cried out, as he saluted the general. In turn Julian saluted.

“You know so much about me,” the general replied as the tribune sat down on a chair. “But I do not know you apart that you are a tribune,”

“Of course,” the tribune nodded. “It is rude of me not to give my name. I am Decentius, tribunus et notarius. I have been sent at the behest of Constantius,”

“Why?” Julian asked defensively. “I sent him my report! He knows how most of the Alamanni kings east of the Rhine have submitted to Roman rule and signed peace treaties. Gaul is no longer under threat as well as the Rhine frontier,”

“And Britannia?” Decentius pointed out. “Constantius knows what is happening there. He received a letter from Fullofaudes telling of raids in the north of the province,”

“I sent a dispatch rider to Britannia informing him of my plans to deal with the Picts and Scoti,” Julian explained, as he was keen not to look weak infront of Decentius and feed his enemies back home. “Two auxiliary regiments are being equipped and rationed for as we speak. By next month they will cross into Britannia under the command of one of my Magisters,”

“That is good to hear,” Decentius nodded happily. “It will keep Fullofaudes quiet and stop his whining. You certainly never whined here in Gaul when faced with tough odds. In fact you managed to pacify those barbarians with a comitatus of fifteen thousand men! Despite Barbatio’s best efforts to try and wreck it,”

“I thank you for your kind words,” Julian nodded gratuitously. “But you still haven’t told me the purpose of your visit here. There must be a reason why you have braved the cold and snow to ride all the way here, Decentius?” The tribune looked at Julian before his cheerful face turned to an apologetic one. Before the general could wonder why that was Decentius put his hand in his pouch and took a sealed scroll from it. The tribune put it on the table, as Julian picked it up and analysed it. Julian could see the emperor had indeed written to him, as he saw the purple imperial seal that fastened the scroll together. Julian unfastened the white parchment before reading out aloud.

Ave, Caesar!

I hope the cold and wet in Gaul has not dampened your spirits. It is certainly different than Greece and Asia Minor!

I have read your reports these past few years of your campaigns in Gaul and the Rhine against the barbarians. Your efforts in subjugating the Franks, destroying the Alamanni confederation at Argentoratum, capturing their war king Chnodomarius and crossing the Rhine to force the Alamanni kings to submit to Roman rule is impressive. Your achievements in the western provinces have brought honour and valor to Rome. But more importantly you have forged peace, security and a sense of calm: something that has not been the case for many years.

However, your efforts in the western provinces are now needed in the East. Last year the Sassanid king Shapur II decided to renew war against the empire. No doubt his wars against the nomadic tribes of Scythia have emboldened him. His armies invaded in force and marched into southern Armenia fanning into the far east of Anatolia. They somehow managed to pounce on the fortress of Amida, but were able to capture it after over two months of vicious fighting, leading the Persians to suffer great losses.

Recently this winter Shapur switched his attention to Mesopotamia and sent his hordes to seize the vital supply fortresses of Singara and then moving to southeastern Anatolia to capture Bezabde. I immediately sent reinforcements eastwards from Constantinople but failed to take Bezabde in the face of stout Persian defences.

Losses on both sides have been heavy this past year and the recent setbacks against the Sassanids are why I am writing to you. Because of your great successes against the Alamanni, which caused the subjugation of the barbarians in the western provinces, I write to give you an imperial order. For you to send reinforcements to the East so to aid my efforts against the Sassanids. I intend to counterattack in Mesopotamia and stop the Sassanid advance. Though parts of Armenia and Mesopotamia are in Persian hands that will not be the case for much longer. I will drive them out from those lands and push into their heartland!

The reinforcements I request are the four auxiliary regiments: the Aeruli, Batavi, Celtae and Petulantes. Moreover, I want you to send me three hundred men from each auxiliary and imperial legions to the East, so to form part of my comitatus. I expect that within a few months these units I request for will be on warships headed for the East.

I am sure that you will not fail me.


Julian put down the scroll onto the table in shock. Decentius looked on with trepidation knowing the ramifications of Constantius’ order.

“He can’t do this!” Julian stammered. “Just when calm is descending upon the west my cousin pulls this on me!” Julian’s hands were shaking with fury.

“I am sorry but he can,” Decentius replied. “It is an imperial order and bounded by your oath to your Augustus the order must be implemented,” Julian paused, as he tried to wonder his cousin’s intentions. It did not take him long to find a theory.

“My enemies have done this!” he exclaimed in disgust to Decentius. “They have grown scared of my triumphs where I have managed to do what their friends have failed to do: pacify the barbarians of the west! Those lackeys who merely follow my cousin in the hope of acquiring a post of power supplanted doubt in his mind of my loyalty to him. This piece of parchment here shows that they have succeeded. No wonder Barbatio was executed at the hands of their scheming if the court of Constantius holds such manipulative and devious people!”

“I do hold sympathy to your predicament, Caesar,” Decentius spoke candidly. “I have too fallen foul at the hands of those in Augustus’ court. But the letter does speak logically despite you thinking otherwise,”

“How is that so?” Julian raised his eyebrow sceptically. “This letter is an attempt to clip my wings before in his eyes I become too successful. I harbour no higher ambition apart from the command I now hold. I did not even wish to become Caesar when asked to do so by Ursicinus!” The name of Julian’s old advisor caused Decentius to wince, which was soon noticed by Julian.

“Why do you wince, tribune?” he asked suspiciously. Decentius paused before speaking.

“In the scroll you just read out the Augustus explained of the war against the Sassanids,” he explained. “You know that Ursicinus had been sent to the east over three years ago so to prepare our forces. Sadly, our Augustus had doubted the loyalty of the old man, thus deciding not to give him command of Roman forces in the East but award it to Sabinianus. This was a disaster, as the Sassanid king Shapur II invaded and moved into south-eastern Anatolia towards the great fortress of Amida.

At least four legions were trapped within the city including the commander of the fortress Count Aelianus. The fighting was fierce and despite heavy resistance the fortress soon fell after two months. Aelianus was dealt with brutally by the Sassanids: when I say brutally I mean he was gibbeted! Sadly, Constantius blamed the debacle on Ursicinus instead of Sabinianus. He was sacked and sent home in disgrace. Some even advocated his execution. He’s now a broken man and didn’t deserve it,”



The gibbeting of Count Aelianus and his second in command.

Julian’s heart broke at hearing Decentius’ story. The old man had taught him many things while in Gaul and if not for him then Julian was sure the Alamanni would have killed him within a few months of arriving in Gaul. The general’s respect for Constantius had plummeted since Decentius’ arrival.

“How bad is the war going for the Augustus?” Julian asked the tribune.

“As bad as Julius Caesar must have felt in the Senate when surrounded by his soon to be murderers!” Decentius exclaimed. “It is precarious. The Sassanids under their king Shapur II have gone on the attack. As the scroll says many fortresses in the south east of Anatolia and in Mesopotamia have been captured. The losses in men and equipment have been horrific. Four legions lost at Amida and two at Singara.

The loss of Amida is far more damaging though and explains why Ursicinus was a scapegoat. Whoever controls that fortress is able to control the headwaters of the Tigris river and the entrance to Asia Minor from the eastern approaches,” Julian rubbed his chin with his hands and sighed. It did indeed sound as if the Romans had been hit with several blows within the declaration of war. He could begin to understand the request of his men but Julian still felt it was meant to clip his wings.

“Even if I wanted to follow the order implementing it would be nigh impossible to do!” Julian lamented. “The comitatus quartered throughout Gaul and the Rhine frontier are mostly made up of native Gauls and of Germanic birth. They would be furious at having to move so far let alone be under the command of someone else,”

“They have fought under different commanders before,” Decentius retorted.

“And those commanders have failed miserably; either killed by the barbarians or tried to overthrow their Augustus rightly or wrongly,” Julian added. “Moreover, these reinforcements Constantius has requested would strip Gaul and the Rhine frontier dry. My comitatus would be nearly halved and unable to defend the western provinces. The Alamanni and allies will no doubt pounce upon our weakness like before!”

“Be that as it may,” Decentius replied. “The order must be followed. Constantius needs those men to save the East from the Sassanids,” Julian looked on in resignation. He was aware that if he followed orders his soldiers would be less than impressed, as well as leaving the western provinces open to attack. But if he refused to send his soldiers east then it would leave him vulnerable to being put under arrest by Constantius for insubordination. However, he knew he had no choice.

“Very well,” he nodded. “I will issue the order to transfer them to the East,”

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 06-29-2013 @ 11:01 AM).]

Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 07-01-13 03:35 AM EDT (US)     117 / 121       
Nice write-up! More to do and less to do it with- the bane of being a late-era Roman warlord. You described the anguish well.

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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
Hannibal the Conqueror
Ashigaru
(id: HannibalBarcaXXI)
posted 07-01-13 06:07 PM EDT (US)     118 / 121       
Excellent! I have been monitoring the thread for quite a while but didn't comment on it, nevertheless, great work!

I would love to see how things go for Julian, being stranded in Gaul with half the men.

"I long for Darkness."
- Cormac McCarthy, The Sunset Limited.

"We are a species that ravages, plunders, kills, destroys, rapes and enslaves in the name of progress."
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 07-04-13 04:22 PM EDT (US)     119 / 121       
He won't have to stand still... I'm expecting lots of interesting staff from now on...

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 07-31-13 12:05 PM EDT (US)     120 / 121       
Sorry for the long delay but at long last here is the following chapter!

*****

A few days after receiving Decentius’ letter Julian begin to write the order that would send half of his comitatus to the east. The icy wind had marked the month of February, as the snow and cold winds had battered the town of Lutetia where Julian had quarted himself for the winter. That very same weather resembled the Caesar’s mood: icy towards the Augustus who had forced him to carry out the orders given to him. As he wrote the command onto parchment he did so with a heavy heart.

“Doing this would mean I would have to recall Lupinicus and the two auxilia regiments earmarked for Britannia,” he lamented angrily to himself. Julian was aware Fullofaudes would not be pleased by this but the general did not care. It was his own fault for moaning to Constantius about his own province. Fullofaudes’ actions has merely served the very men sent to Britannia so to aid him to be sent to the East just so to weaken my own positon here in the western provinces!

As he fastened the seal onto the parchment Julian hoped his soon to be halved comitatus would be able to hold onto the western provinces. But more so he was worried about the reaction of his own comitatenses and auxiliaries when they heard the news. Thankfully, Decentius granted me a week before I have to tell them!

*****

But Julian did not have a week.

Since Decentius arrived at Lutetia rumors had been growing of the reason of his arrival. The soldiers within the comitatus knew who he was: a tribune within the court of Constantius especially from his fine attire. Many were amused at how he was able to keep it so immaculate even in the heavy snow. But after Decentius left Julian’s quarters to reside in a small tent to the north of the city the rumors grew. However, if there was one thing that Lutetia had in abudance, it was the loose lips of the guards patrolling Julian’s quarters.

A day after Julian had received the Emperor’s orders a soldier walked along the quiet backalleys of Lutetia. To the ordinary eye it looked as if the legionary was on patrol. But he wasn’t. His face intently tried to locate the house that had been described in a written piece of parchment given to him while in his tent. After a few minutes of scurrying up alleyways through the snow he found the house that had been described to him. It was a plain house that was small and perched between two bigger houses. The soldier looked around to see that he hadn’t been followed before knocking on the door. After a short pause the door opened to reveal another legionary soldier.

“Ave, friend,” he smiled as he let the man in. “We have been waiting for you, Marcus,”

“I apologise for being late, Scipius,” Marcus replied. I had to make sure I was not being followed,” Scipius nodded understandably while leading Marcus to the kitchen. The soldier wondered where everyone else was, as the room was empty. Scipius smiled before opening a trap door that led below the kitchen.

“That explains where everyone else is,” Marcus quipped. Scipius led the legionary down the steps. As they headed underground Marcus saw four other men sitting around a square table. On closer inspection Marcus could see from the insigna sewn onto their tunics on their arms that they represented the different units within the comitatus but saw at least three of them were from the Petulantes regiment. When Marcus sat down did Scipius head to his seat and address those in attendance.

“Fellow soldiers of the comitatus of Gaul,” he began. “Some of you will know why you have been summoned here while some don’t. But I am sure everyone here has heard the rumours of a messenger arriving here in Lutetia heading to the Caesar’s quarters. Many within the comitatus wondered what were his intentions but now, thanks to those guards within the Caesar’s compound, it is become clear what the Augustus’ messenger wanted from our Caesar.

“What is it?” spoke one of the men who bore the insignina of the Primani legion.

“The messenger indeed was a tribune sent by the imperial court bearing orders from the emperor. These orders to Caesar are this: to send more than half of the comitatus of Gaul to the East so to fight the Sassanids who seem to have gained the upper hand against Constantius,” Cries of surprise, gasps and bewildered looks were the reply to Scipius’ revelation. Marcus was shell-shocked at what he just heard.

“Surely our Augustus cannot be serious!” shouted one of the officers from the Petulantes. “Just when the frontier is secure, the barbarians cowered, we risk what our brothers died for to be sent to the East?”

“If we leave then it is simply a matter of time before the Alamanni and their allies gather their strength and cross the Rhine. Only this time there won’t be an army to stop them!” added the second officer from the Petulantes. “Most of the comitatus live in Gaul with some heralding from the Rhine frontier. They will rather rebel than be sent to the East,” All this time Marcus had been looking at Scipius and it was when the word rebel had been uttered did Scipius’ eyes show any sign of emotion.

“What did Julian say when he received the imperial order?” asked the Primani officer.

“What could he do?” Scipius shrugged his shoulders. “From what the guards told me Julian feels he has no choice but to comply or face being put under arrest for insubordination and be put to death,”

“When the comitatus finds out they will not follow the decree,” Marcus shook his head. “They will probably think our Augustus is seeking to halt Caesar’s popularity among the comitatus. I am sure Constantius knows how much he is revered,”

“Then what should we do?” asked the third officer from the Petulantes regiment. There was a long pause as the seven men thought of a credible plan. Scipius then sighed and looked at each man.

“There is only one viable course of action that could possibly stop Augustus’ plan to handicap the comitatus of Gaul,” he spoke in a resigned tone. “To mutiny,” A deathly silence hallowed upon the heads of those contemplating whether to insurrect against an emperor they swore an oath to when they enlisted.

“Mutiny?” Marcus replied disdainfully. “That is a word I never thought I hear come from your mouth, Scipius. Never.”

“I don’t like it more than you do,” the officer sot back. “But I see no choice. Follow our Emperor’s orders and we will be sent to the East where only death awaits us while Gaul lays open to invasion and our families endangered. I’d rather die than go and fight on the other side of the empire. If refusing to be sent to fight the Sassanids means our deaths then it is far better than dying for a fruitless cause. Marcus, you know very well there are many in the comitatus that think little of our Augustus,”

“Though many in the Petulantes regiment would happily mutiny against our Augustus once they hear of this order,” spoke one of the Petulantes officers. “There is one underlying problem: what of our Caesar? Should he not agree with our mutiny and follow the Augustus’ orders then your plan is ruined, Scipius,”

“Do you think I would have sent you and two of your fellow officers from your regiment if I thought there was little chance of success, Pisus?” retorted an irritated Scipius. Pisus looked ruffled at being rebuked.

“Then what makes you think this plan is foolproof?” asked the Primani officer.

“There is good reason to think that Julian would agree with our grievances, Metellus,” explained Scipius. “Constantius’ imperial order is the straw that has broken the patience of the comitatus. The same guards who patrol Caesar’s compound told me though Julian followed the order he did so reluctantly and with a heavy heart. He knows very well it leads Gaul open to invasion if he sends half the comitatus to the East. If we can get most of the army to mutiny against this decision then I am sure Caesar will think twice before implementing the order,”

“Will it be enough to persuade Julian?” asked the second Petulantes officer who still wasn’t fully convinced.

“It will, Sextus,” nodded Scipius. “Because there is one way to persuade him to support our cause. By having the comitatus of Gaul declaring him Augustus,” What followed was nothing but a nervous pause.

“You tread on dangerous ground, friend,” Marcus replied with his voice quivering in disbelief at what had just been proposed. “Though we have fought in the same legion in the Ioviani for many years and respect you as a brother I hope what you say next are not the words of a madman!”

“Hear him out!” Pisus replied. “Don’t you even think there is a chance Caesar will accept being proclaimed Augustus by the very men he commands and is revered by?”

“Do you not remember what happened after we destroyed the Alamanni confederation at Argentoratum?” Marcus shot back. “The comitatus proclaimed him Augustus and he rebuked for us for even uttering him that title. I agree that something needs to be done to counter Constantius’ ludicrious imperial order but do you really this is the right thing to do? Remember the fate of the last person to be proclaimed Augustus,” Everyone in the room bar Marcus winced when remembering the fate of Silvanus.

“Silvanus was a selfish man. Julian is not,” countered the third Petulantes officer named Glaubus. “Better to stay here and put our trust in Scipius’ plan than do nothing and be marched off to the East,”

“Enough bickering!” Scipius exclaimed. “Let us put it to a vote whether to refuse our Augustus’ orders and proclaim Julian as our Augustus. Those against?” Marcus was the only person to put up their hand.

“Those in favour?” Scipius, Pisus, Metellus, Sextus and Glaubus all raised their hands. Marcus sighed.

“Then so be it,” he nodded ruefully. “Though I do not wholeheartedly believe this is the right course of action I will not go against it,” The other five officers nodded in gratitude.

“That is why we brought you here so to hear of our plan,” Scipius nodded. “Because you are an honourable man,” Marcus gave an apprectiave nod of thanks.

“Now we have decided what to do,” said Glaubus. “How will we implement it?”

“Every man in this room are from different regiments,” Scipius explained. “Like Glaubus said there are many soldiers that do not think much of the Augustus. It only needs us to spread the word of what our Constantius is planning and they will happily agree to our plan proclaiming Julian as our Augustus,”

“If we can whip up enough support amongst the legions, auxiliary and within the cavalry then Julian could be persuaded to go against what Constantius is planning and save himself by allowing us to proclaim him Augustus,” Pisus added. “I am sure he would sympathize with our grievances,”

“If we go through with this,” Marcus warned his fellow soldiers. “Then it has to be implemented as quickly as possible,”

“Agreed,” nodded Sextus along with everyone else in the room.

“Then if there is nothing else to discuss then I believe it is time to end this meeting,” Scipius nodded, as everyone stood up so to prepare to leave. “Thank you for coming on such short notice,” As the officers made their way up the steps and left the house one by one Marcus looked at Scipius before leaving the house.

“Do you truly believe this will work?” he asked Scipius.

“It has to, Marcus,” he replied. “Or we will die by the end of the month,”

“Then let us make sure that death is not our fate!”

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 08-04-13 05:18 AM EDT (US)     121 / 121       
Nice set up for a cliffhanger- waht will befall the lads now: mutiny and death, or revolt, usurpation, and victory?

Sorry for the delay- I have been a bit here and there without much time to actually write anything for the last two weeks.

Nice story- I like the way you brought the men together without Julian's knowledge. The cloak-and-dagger stuff had a lifelike appeal. Well done, but I wonder if men intending to commit a capital offense would be so trusting of newcomers... Especially one known to be an honorable man... Still it seems to work well, given the context. Well done!

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