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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:
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 01-12-13 03:41 PM EDT (US)     51 / 121       
An excellent update, LoH. Looks like Julian is in for trouble...

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.
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 01-14-13 07:05 AM EDT (US)     52 / 121       
Very interesting!

I liked the way the deserters turned to traitors and get a decent reward for their stupidity.

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Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
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DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 01-15-13 11:14 AM EDT (US)     53 / 121       
Ah Julian went ahead with his plan to spread out his forces for the winter. The biggest problem with that is if any of the separate garrisons are attacked in strength they're pretty much done for, and if Julian sets out to relieve them then he runs the chance of meeting a superior force that will most likely overwhelm him with numbers alone.

He's also gambling a lot on the belief that the Alemmani won't know how spread out his forces are or where they're billeted. Even if the deserters/traitors hadn't run afoul of Chnodomarius' men there was always a chance there were Alemmani agents or sympathizers in at least one of the towns who would've reported the activities of the Romans back to their kinsmen. Alas, this is one of the times when you see the disparity of a general's understanding of tactics and his application of strategy.

My rant of strategic decisions aside, it was a wonderful update Legion and I'm glad the traitors got their just comeuppance.

"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 02-10-13 08:40 AM EDT (US)     54 / 121       
Remember this, DU. Julian is a young general and has no experience of war. Hence why Ursicinus is with him. But I love your rants.

*****

When Julian’s detachment of twelve hundred men arrived at the deserted town of Senonae the young general and Ursicinus looked at each other with abject resignation. The town was a derelict mess with its walls abandoned, its gate ripped off and houses within the town left abandoned. Senonae had not been spared the wrath of the raiding barbarian hordes. The soldiers among the column behind Julian and Ursicinus looked despondent at what they saw.

“It is November,” the Caesar shook his head in despair. “By the time the last month of the year arrives the snow will plummet upon us and we will freeze. How are we able to live in such a ramshackle place?” Ursicinus looked on calmly before giving his advice.

“Simple,” he smiled before turning to the soldiers behind him. “By using the men to help bring Senonae to shape with an incentive,” Julian knew exactly what sort of incentive would get these men to toil in the snow. The general then turned around to address his men who were beginning to shiver in the cold.

“I know that our billets are not ready made and in disrepair,” he shouted so his soldiers could hear what he said. “But I am sure you will work hard in rebuilding Senonae, as there is a prize for the labour detachment that is able to build their very own sector the quickest: an ale ration,” As soon as the words ale ration was mentioned as the prize the spirits of the men picked up considerably. Throughout the last week of November the soldiers downed their weapons so to use their tools and worked hard on renovating Senonae as a proper Roman town.

Julian and Ursicinus inspected the labourers get to work: with each labour group hoping to get their work recognised by their Caesar. When Julian did give praise at the progress made by a certain labour detachment - whether it be shown by a nod or look of appreciation - it brought renewed vigour into the soldiers and boosted morale. By mid December the town of Senonae had been transformed with the run down walls being repaired and the gate fixed to an acceptable standard.

While the interior buildings were not the best it was deemed acceptable for a Roman garrison to be billeted in. Once the rebuilding of Senonae had finished did Julian award the ale ration to the best group. But while the other groups looked on in envy, Ursicinus smiled, as Julian had another trick up his sleeve: awarding extra rations to the soldiers as a token of his appreciation.

“Hail Caesar!” the soldiers roared in jubilation. As Ursicinus looked on he smiled at seeing a young man he took to the wild depths of Gaul be turned to a competent and worthy general. Constantius would be proud of you, my boy. Proud indeed.

*****

As night descended upon Senonae the garrison settled down to their newly made quarters. The guards who were on watch went about their duties half hardheartedly, as they were eager to find some warmth instead of shivering while patrolling the gates and towers of Senonae. But, as the sentries focused on keeping themselves warm, they neglected to see someone sneak out of the eastern gate and head out into the forests: a mere three hundred paces from the gate’s entrance. This hooded man took extra pains to see he was not followed, as he checked the footprints made into the snow behind him at selected intervals. As the stranger headed deep into the forest he was stopped in his tracks at the shrill sound of what he thought was a bird. However, he was rudely mistaken, as three heavily clad men stepped from within the trees came into view ahead of the hooded man.

“Do not worry, Sednar,” the lead figure spoke. “We won’t slit your throat here in the forest. Your efforts in infiltrating the city posing as a labourer supervising the Roman baggage train that hold their supplies has saved you from succumbing to my blade. Though that could change depending on what information you have for me,”

“You can rest easy, reges!” Sednar stammered, eager to appease his lord. “What I know will please you and your masters!” The Alamanni noble raised an eyebrow wondering what it could be.

“Then enlighten us with your report!” Raga barked. “I do not like to be kept waiting: especially in the cold,”

“The rumours are true, reges,” Sednar confirmed to Raga’s joy though he did not show it to Sednar. “The chief of the main Roman war host in Gaul is at Senonae. The garrison there barely numbers twelve hundred men and are a mix of regular soldiers and soldiers of our own kind who have either been volunteered or “cajoled” into signing up for their Roman masters,”

“Do they patrol the surrounding areas by day?” Hrotha, Raga’s close associate, asked.

“They rarely venture outside the town!” Sednar remarked bitterly in contempt of the Romans. “They seek to rest throughout the winter: not to fight,”

“Then they shall have a rude awakening,” Hrotha chuckled darkly to which Sednar responded in kind. Raga looked at the grinning face of his informer.

“And so shall you!” Sednar did not see the blade come at him. By the time he did all he could do was try to hold his crimson stained neck before gurgling and falling to the snow. The white snow began to turn red where he lay, as Raga cleaned his sword before sheathing it into his scabbard.

“If there is one thing I dislike most,” he said to his men while looking distastefully at Sednar’s body. “It is those who are willing to be a informer and denounce his friends for a bit of coin. Though I hope Sednar’s body rots he did give us valuable information,” Raga then turned to his two senior officers who were in charge of the soldiers within the warband Raga commanded.

“Hrotha, ride back to Serapio, which I think is only five leagues away with the rest of his force. Inform him of what our now deceased friend Sednar told us,” Raga instructed. “I will head with Dram to our own warband and prepare ourselves for battle. Once we link up with Serapio then we march on Senonae,”

“It shall be done, reges!” Hrotha nodded. As the three men went to their tasks all that remained of what happened was the lifeless body of Sednar.

*****

A few days had passed, as the sentries along the repaired walls of Senonae went about their daily chores, with Julian and Ursicinus only slightly working a few hours a time per day. When they did work their focus was on next year’s campaigning season and how they would take the fight to the Alamanni should the emperor accept his request for reinforcements. However, they were completely unaware, as was the rest of the garrison, of what was occurring to the hidden forested eastern approaches to the town where it consisted mainly of dense woodland and forests. Upon the edge of these forests lay Serapio, as his eyes lurked upon the open landscape and town of Senonae that was nearly five hundred paces away.

“By Wotan’s beard, Hrotha and Raga were right!” he cackled with glee, as he looked to the hidden army behind him hiding within the forest. The young co-king had been dispatched by his uncle Chndomarius with a force tasked to kill the chief of the Roman warhost residing in Senonae before enemy reinforcements come. Serapio had about three times the number of Romans at Senonae: thirty five hundred men. It was all that could be spared but knew each man would fight till they were slain. As Serapio looked at the town he then turned around and smiled as Hrotha and Raga walk towards him. They were careful not to step on the toes of their fellow soldiers who were hiding with them but also readying their weapons.

“You were right,” Serapio smiled while pointing in the direction of the town. “Their sentries along the walls are placed thinly and too far apart. Though their gate is shut we do have ladders thanks to these tall trees,” Serapio slapped the large oak trees and smiled knowing if there was one thing they did not lack it was ladders.

“So what is the plan, reges?” Hrotha asked.

“They have no idea we are here,” Serapio explained. “If so then those sandal wearers would have sent out cavalry patrols or a large patrol to sweep the forests. So we charge and make for the walls. Spread their small force around as we attack along every wall. If we can storm them and open the gate then Senonae is captured. Those Romans will then know we are not to be messed with: the head of their war host will be ample proof!”

“And if we can’t storm the walls?” wondered Raga. “What then?”

“We prepare for a siege,” Serapio replied to the looks of scepticism of his two senior officers. “I know we have not the tools for a long siege but to starve them while we ravage the surrounding land is a statement of intent: that we will not sit idle by while they pillage our lands. It will be us that do the ravaging and no them. Besides, I fear when the summer arrives the Romans will push towards our lands along the west bank of the river, so instead of waiting for the enemy onslaught let us come onto them!” Raga and Hrotha nodded with agreement along with the other men who heard what Serapio had said. Serapio saw how his speech had managed to strike a chord with his men and hoped he could use it to his advantage in the upcoming battle.

“We will make sure the Romans never forget this day!” Raga replied determinedly, which Hrotha nodded in reply. Serapio smiled and put his hands on both men’s shoulders.

“I am sure I will see it in battle,” he replied in an assuring tone. “Now get to your positions and advance when the signal is given!” Both men nodded as they headed to their respective positions. As they did so Serapio looked up to the heavens and prayed to the gods that victory would be granted today.

*****

Within the town of Senonae Julian and Ursicinus walked along the newly constructed battlements, as the cold wind rushed into their faces that brought about a chill, which made Julian long for the warm climate of Greece. Ursicinus could see the uncomfortable look on his general’s face and laughed heartily.

“I see that you still dislike the elements despite being here for over a year!” Julian was not amused.

“You may laugh. But I assure you it is no laughing matter when your face is assaulted by a horrific icy cold wind,” he replied irritably before turning to the soldiers that patrolled the battlements. “I am sure the men standing here on watch would agree,” But before Ursicinus could reply a piercing shriek could be heard from the east. From Julian to the ordinary soldier along the walls their eyes turned to the east within the forests, as the horns could be heard again but sounded louder and terrible.

“What in the name of Rome was that?” Julian wondered with great worry etched on his face. He and Ursicinus made their way to the eastern wall, as the terrible horns were sounded ever louder. Ursicinus closed his eyes, as he knew what it was while the soldiers looked at each other and their Caesar wondering what it was.

“They have come,” Ursicinus said solemnly. Before Julian could ask what he meant the general soon got his answer. Out of the forests came a black wave of men and banners: bearing the emblem of the Alamanni. They soon enveloped the white snow and the once blanketed snowy fields of Senonae were now of Alamanni black. Their drums and horns grew ever more terrible upon Roman ears, as chants and cries of bloodlust from the barbarians rose with every step they took. Julian’s face turned to one of horror, as he tried to compose himself from the shock he just had.

“Sound the alarm,” he said breathlessly before coming around to his senses and his face hardened. “Sound the alarm! All men to their posts!” The cornicerns were blared throughout the town, as soldiers mustered themselves to the walls, their faces too of shock when seeing the Alamanni horde. Among the horde that lay before Senonae stood Serapio and Raga on horseback: their armour as splendid as it was terrifying. Serapio could hear the faint sounds of the Roman horns being played and knew they had surprised the garrison.

“Raga, order Hrotha to take the first wave forward to the eastern gate,” he commanded. “Then after a short while take your warband to probe the southern gate. I will then take my warriors to finish them off when I storm the northern gate,” Raga nodded and galloped to his warband. Serapio then raised his sword and ordered the signal to advance. Once the horns were blown in unison Serapio smiled.

Let this be the day the chroniclers write the Alamanni rose from the ashes!

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 02-10-2013 @ 08:42 AM).]

Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 02-10-13 08:57 AM EDT (US)     55 / 121       
Finally another update! Excellent and intriguing as always, LoH...

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.
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 02-11-13 01:46 AM EDT (US)     56 / 121       
Nit:
It will be us that do the ravaging and no them.
It will be we who do the ravaging, and not them.
A touch of grammaqr.

Otherwise superb!

I am drooling alredy at all the blood that shall soon be spilt, and biting my shield that I am not there to take part. (All of this happened before my time, even with my age).

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|||||||||||||||| 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 02-16-13 12:12 PM EDT (US)     57 / 121       
Great chapter Legion Can't wait to see Julian and his boys fight their way out of this one.

"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 02-16-13 05:40 PM EDT (US)     58 / 121       
Time to stop biting your shield, Terikel and wait no longer DU, as here is the next chapter.

*****

Julian looked anxiously, as the Alamanni horns sounded once again, but brought about the advance of several hundred barbarians screaming at the top of their voice.

“Archers to the front!” Ursicinus screamed, as both men quickly put on their helmets. The garrison only had a hundred archers available but these men quickly scampered to the walls, as the rest of the garrison harried to get into their positions, no doubt caught flat footed at the sudden appearance of the Alamanni force. As the first wave of Alamanni warriors neared the walls Ursicinus could see multiple ladders within the onrushing barbarians.

“Aim for the ladder bearers as well as those at the front!” the old general barked. As the first wave of charging Alamanni neared into range Julian made sure to walk upon the battlements of the east gate and reassure his soldiers.

“Steady, men!” he spoke with assurance making sure to give them a calming presence amid the anxiety. “You are soldiers of Rome and Rome demands you fight. Think of your families and they will give you strength!” As the Alamanni came into range Ursicinus looked to his archers.

“Loose!” Several arrows were released to devastating effect, as crimson blood split onto the pristine snow. Despite the repeated flurry of arrows taking its toil on the ladder crews the Alamanni were able to reach the eastern gate. Soon the first of the ladders were raised up onto the wall. As one of the comitatenses went to throw it back down Julian beckoned him to stop.

“Wait until I give the order!” he barked to which the soldier nodded and headed back to his post. As more ladders were raised onto the battlement Hrotha marched upon his fellow soldiers, as he sidestepped the dead and wounded. He then bellowed a shrieking war cry and beckoned his men with his axe to push forward. Julian needed no instruction from Ursicinus to know what he needed to do.

“Archers retire!” he shouted before turning to the comitatenses and raised his hand forward. “Soldiers to the front!” Within a few seconds the order was carried out, as now the regular soldiers waited behind the battlements, hearing the crump of ladders hitting the walls and men climbing the ladders. Julian could hear it too and took a sharp intake of breath.

“Wait on my command,” he spoke in a calm tone so not to indulge panic or nerves within the men despite the frenzied war cries of the Alamanni. One by one the Alamanni soldiers climbed the wooden ladders with each man eager to crack a Roman skull or be the first to storm the battlements. But, as the barbarians got closer and their dreams of glory grew ever more wilder, it was then that Julian decided to give the signal with the drop of his arm.

At once the Romans began pushing the ladders from the wall, as some began to tilt backwards. Panicked screams soon came about from the Alamanni, as many descended onto their own army and fell to their deaths. Despite that setback Hrotha spurred his men to use the ladders that hadn't been pushed by the Romans. Within a few moments they were at the top of the wall but this had been anticipated by Julian.

“To arms!” he roared, as he drew his sword, in doing so inspiring his fellow soldiers to meet this new threat. Julian was the first to draw blood, as he kicked the first Alamanni soldier that had reach the top and fell to the bottom screaming before being silenced when smashing into the ground with a resounding thud. The comitatenses charged at their arriving foes and clashed violently with both sides hacking at each other. Julian made sure to set an example to his men by giving them encouragement and extolling their efforts. Though the comitatenses were holding their ground the fighting was fierce, as blood spilled freely along the battlements. However, Julian could see the merciless Alamanni fix more ladders onto the walls with soldiers scampering up the steps. Ursicinus had clearly seen this, as he dashed towards Julian.

“They are putting more ladders upon the wall!” he shouted under the din of battle. “Shall we commit our reserves, as well as those keeping guard on the north, south and west walls?” Julian pondered for a while to assess the situation before quickly shaking his head.

“Its too early to commit our reserves!” he replied. “Let us wait till we deploy our last resort,” Ursicinus nodded and headed back to his post. The young general was satisfied at how his men had held their own despite the fierce onslaught. As Julian looked around to inspect how things were going along the east wall he saw Ursicinus order the archers to release a volley of arrows. As they flew into the air Julian smiled. That will cause more of them to die among the cold white snow. I pray to the gods that more fall by the sword!

*****

On the other side of the field Serapio and Raga grimaced at the results of the flurry of arrows launched from within Senonae towards his men. Several screamed in agony while others fell from the ladders they were trying to climb and met a grim death. Serapio could see Hrotha’s soldiers were floundering along the eastern gate so he decided to change matters.

“Raga, take your warband along with twelve ladders and storm the southern gate,” he turned to his fellow noble. “Send a runner to Hrotha with orders to keep the pressure on the Romans,” Raga nodded and headed back to form his soldiers to march south. Serapio then trotted his horse to give support to his men and with his sword motioned towards the east gate as if to spur them on.

This brought about wild cheers among the Alamanni soldiers, as they launched another attack upon the east wall to support their friend fighting along the battlements. Serapio hoped Hrotha could pin most of the Roman garrison on the eastern wall while Raga’s second wave stormed the southern wall. If I can breach the walls then we shall be feasting within the quarters of their dead general by day’s end!

*****

As Julian stood back from the fighting on the east wall - directing the badly wounded to a makeshift aid station near the centre of the city – he was alerted to a runner below the battlement heading towards him.

“Caesar, there are waves of Alamanni preparing to fix ladders near the southern gate!” he shouted. “We only have one hundred and fifty men on that wall and there is at least seven hundred barbarians – maybe more – heading to my post. You must send men, sir!” Julian swore, as he knew the barbarians would split their forces, so to stretch his garrison to breaking point.

“Head back to your post,” he instructed the runner. “Help will be on the way. I give you my word,” The messenger saluted and then scampered back to his post. Julian then turned around and summoned Ursicinus urgently.

“The Alamanni have sent considerable amounts of men and ladders to the southern gate. Looks like they mean to pin us here and flank to the south,” he explained much to the dismay of Ursicinus. “How many men do we have available?”

“Minus the hundred casualties suffered so far and the hundred archers we have at our command,” Ursicinus grimly answered. “We have three hundred regular soldiers holding the Alamanni on the east wall while we have one hundred and fifty men to the south but they are auxilia. The four hundred men standing guard on the north wall are regular comitatenses but the remaining one hundred and fifty on the western wall are auxilia as well,” Julian digested the information given and soon turned to his old advisor.

“Send a runner at once with orders to transfer two hundred men from the northern gate to reinforce the southern wall at the double,” he ordered. “I will accompany the fifty archers personally to take command of the south. You are in charge of the eastern wall, Ursicinus. I pray you can hold them off,” Ursicinus embraced Julian.

“Likewise, my friend,” he whispered to Julian. The young general nodded before turning around to head down the steps and gather the archers who had been releasing arrows over the walls towards the Alamanni encamping on the fields. As Julian dashed with his archers to the south Ursicinus turned around and called for a runner with orders to head to the northern gate.

*****

Bainobaudes thrust his spear into the face of the unsuspecting Alamanni that had crept over the wall. For the barbarian’s efforts of being the first over the imposing wall his reward was a spear shaft lodged in his face, as he fell to the ground and inadvertently took out other men climbing the ladder in the process. The Roman tribune in his thirties looked around and grimaced in disdain at what he saw. The Alamanni were swarming the southern gate in force and fixing more ladders onto the walls. Though Bainobaudes had been assured by the messenger reinforcements were on the way he was worried that it could be too late. But Bainobaudes knew his men: the auxilia of the Cornuti that he commanded had to hold firm or be cut down where they stood.

“Come on men!” he roared, as he waved his sword to rally his men. “Let us hold these walls till reinforcements arrive and show these jackals how a soldier of the Cornuti fights!” Bainobaudes charged towards those Alamanni arriving over the ladders, with his men behind him, smashing into their ranks with great ferocity. The tribune inspired from the front, as he ducked a wild swing of an axe and slashed the barbarian’s chest that brought about a howling cry. Bainobaudes then picked up a shield from an deceased Roman and was quick to deflect a forceful blow from an bloodied axe: wielded by a gargantuan Alamanni brute who had more scars on his face than he had birthdays.

“Raga!” the Alamanni soldiers screamed with great bloodlust, as the reges and their strongest warrior decided to join the attack and try to succeed here where Hrotha failed on the eastern gate. Raga flexed his muscles and looked at the Roman realizing quickly that from what the Roman was wearing that he had to be in charge of the Roman soldiers on the southern gate. The tall barbarian growled and swung his axe towards the tribune’s head, which he narrowly avoided before Bainobaudes went on the attack. Feinting left he easily confused the tall noble and turned right before swinging his sword downwards with all the power he could muster before Raga could lift his shield.

The sound of metal slashing into flesh and bone brought a smile to Bainobaudes’ face, as he saw the arm of Raga fall and the din of battle pierced by the shrieking cry of pain. Raga held his bloodied stump of an arm and fell to his knees cursing and screaming in his own tongue. The tribune soon ended Raga’s misery by chopping off his head in one fell swoop. The steeled Alamanni barbarians, sheltered from the cold with their wolfskin fur, that had been fighting fiercely across the southern gate were shocked to see their chieftain slain but were despondent to sight Roman reinforcements head towards them from the north, as the sound of cornicerns signalled their arrival.

“Caesar is here!” came the cry from the Cornuti, as their morale soared greatly. Meanwhile, the Alamanni’s sunk to new depths, as Julian arrived on foot with his archers and was supported by two hundred fresh regular soldiers eager for a fight. The young Caesar turned to the archers and pointed to the block of Alamanni that had followed their now slain leader up the ladder onto the battlements.

“Loose!” Julian roared. Fifty archers let fly towards the exposed barbarians and each of the arrows found their target. Several fell over the wall while several more slumped to the ground with their lives ebbing away. Another flurry of arrows took out several more Alamanni before the barbarians decided enough was enough. A few men started to go down the ladders and soon descended into a rout. The Romans cheered at this sudden success while Serapio looked on in rage.

“Why flee?” he roared angrily gesticulating at his men. “We outnumber these dogs!”

“My king, Hrotha is badly wounded and Raga slain under the swords of the Romans!” a bloodied soldier shouted in reply: annoyed at the charge of cowardice covertly put across by Serapio. The young co-king looked surprised that his tall rock Raga had fallen and was not surprised the attack faltered after his death. Maybe taking Senonae will not be so easy after all.

“Pull back!” Serapio roared to his men. “Let us bury our dead and then Wotan’s fury will consume these Romans!” As the Alamanni retreated from the chaos within the battlements Julian looked at Bainobaudes and put a hand on his shoulder before giving him a impressive nod. A sense of pride beamed upon the Roman garrison as they had fended off the mass Alamanni surprise assault.

However, their happiness soon turned to worry, as they knew this was merely only the beginning of a possible long siege.

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

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

Two high ranking British generals discussing the fortunes of two regiments after the disastrous attack at Aubers Ridge on the 9th May 1915.
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 02-17-13 05:05 AM EDT (US)     59 / 121       
Only one tooth was broken, and that easily mended. The wait was worth it: an exciting episode! Tangible in its intensity.

Great stuff.

More requested.

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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
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 02-17-13 11:07 AM EDT (US)     60 / 121       
I echo Terikel's praise! An excellent chapter LoH and well worth the wait!

"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
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 02-17-13 03:41 PM EDT (US)     61 / 121       
Another excellent battle scene, LoH. Keep it up...

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 03-01-13 05:53 AM EDT (US)     62 / 121       
Sorry for taking so long with the next chapter but work does pay the bills!

*****

Night descended upon the blood stained snowy fields of Senonae, as the howls of the dead along with the wounded reverberated in and outside the town. Both sides were licking their wounds after the day’s events with the Roman garrison and the Alamanni bloodied but unbounded. Inside Senonae Julian walked past the small houses now being used to house the wounded and gave assuring nods to the men that all was well.

But the general knew that it wasn’t especially when hearing of the casualty reports given to him by Ursicinus. Seven hundred and fifty men fit for duty, a further one hundred wounded with their wounds ranging from light to mortal and four hundred killed in battle. As he walked up the steps to reach the battlements along the eastern gate Julian could see his soldiers take up watch. He knew the men were eager to stand their ground and fight to the last man. The eyes of each man surveyed the fields for any movement or possible probes by the Alamanni. As Julian made his way to the steps he saw the figures of Bainobaudes and Ursicinus. Both men saluted one another.

“Ave, Caesar,” the tribune said promptly. “I am glad you survived the attack,”

“As am I,” Julian replied. “Though what I am more worried about is how the Alamanni were able to find us and more importantly how we can hold them off. How are we doing for supplies, Ursicinus?”

“We have enough supplies to last us for six weeks,” he replied. “With the losses sustained today it ironically eases our supply worries,”

“But no doubt heightens our worries in maintaining the defence,” Julian quipped darkly. “Seven hundred men I fear won’t be enough to repel their next assault. We need reinforcements and I think I know how,” Bainobaudes and Ursicinus leaned in so to hear their leader’s plan.

“The Alamanni came from the east within the woods,” the general pointed to the tall forests. “That means they would have left the approaches to the western and northern gate unguarded or lightly defended. We can send a messenger to Marcellus: he is merely ten to fifteen leagues southwest of us in a fort to the north of Augustonemetum with fifteen hundred soldiers and a turmae detached from Mahar’s cataphracts. Within a week or two they can come to our relief if word reaches him: three weeks or a month at the very worst if the weather is truly bad,”

“We’d have to send more than one messenger though,” Bainobaudes suggested. “Gives us a better chance of reaching Marcellus,”

“I agree,” Ursicinus nodded.

“Very well,” Julian said happily, as his plan was agreed. “Now we just need volunteers to bring the message to Marcellus,” The young Caesar needn’t had worried, as several men volunteered when asked, with many eager to help end the Alamanni siege. In the end three men were chosen and after being briefed left Senonae at the dead of night. They went down the sewers below the town and after being covered with the smelly entrails of the sewers emerged above ground a league west of Senonae. The three messengers then split up and made their way towards Marcellus using different routes.

*****

Meanwhile, the mood within Serapio’s tent camp was one of great tension. The young co-king was not happy at the failed surprise assault and as a result summoned Hrotha, as well as the other nobles within the army to his tent.

“We outnumbered the Romans at least three men to one!” he shouted angrily. “Yet somehow you were not able to breach their defences and swarm past the battlements into the town? I thought we were battle hardened in the years of constant war with Rome but now I seem to be questioning that,”

“The Romans had archers and were able to use them to devastating force,” Hrotha retorted. “Their warriors hacked at us the moment we were over the walls. Though they were few in number their men fought hard. That was clearly shown when Raga was slain!” That brought a wince to Serapio, as did many of the nobles within the tent. Serapio could remember the shock he felt when hearing the news that his battle scarred friend had been killed.

“Though that is a blow,” Serapio continued. “Let us make sure that does not imperil our efforts to take Senonae. My uncle entrusted me in seizing this town and that is exactly what we will do!”

“My king, our supplies are dangerously low,” a noble said worryingly. “Moreover, we lost nearly a thousand men today. I cannot see how we can sustain this siege,” Serapio bit his lip.

“I find your lack of confidence most disturbing, Glama,” he spoke with a hint of malice in his voice. “Sieges are rarely bloodless if there is fighting involved,”

“I am merely saying we need to think from a different tack,” Glama replied. “Attack at night or-”

“Do you wish to lead the first line, Glama?” Serapio interrupted with a dark glare to which unnerved the other nobles.

“What? No, my king. I meant that there are other methods-”

“Are you questioning my methods?” Serapio shot back.

“No, my king!” Glama stuttered.

“Good!” Serapio smiled. “Then I entrust you to lead the first line in our next assault to be launched at night,” All was silent within the tent, as Glama’s face was one of incredulity at what Serapio just did. Though many in the tent knew Serapio’s veiled anger at Glama had a purpose: Do not test me for if you do I will make sure you invoke my wrath upon you. And that wrath was directed at Glama, as being deployed to lead the first line of the first wave was suicide. It was a position that few survived for they were the ones that felt the first volley of missiles.

“Before I dismiss you there is also one thing I have to say,” Serapio added. “Glama did have one valid point: our supplies are running low. So Verus, send a detachment to scourge the surrounding lands around the town to forage what food is available. Take any livestock and ravage the land to show the banners of the Alamanni still stand tall in Gaul!” Verus nodded to Serapio’s order before the young co-king ended the meeting and dismissed the nobles from his tent. As he was left on his own Serapio mused deeply in thought.

“I hope Verus is able to scavenge enough to supplies to keep the siege going,” Serapio talked to himself. “For the Romans will no doubt come back with great vengeance for what we have done. As the night lingered on Serapio’s worries grew that his uncle’s great plan to storm the town of Senonae and bring the head of Julian was not looking like such a foolproof idea after all.

*****

Cassius Malvus gasped for air, as he ran along the snowy fields and forests. For two days and two nights the young soldier had travelled southwestwards from Senonae to find the fort Marcellus was residing in. Cassius had dodged a few Alamanni patrols and had taken great pains to make sure he wasn’t followed. But the young man smiled, as he realized his efforts weren’t in vain when he saw within the distance the fort placed atop a small hill. For Cassius it seemed like salvation and took great pleasure in walking along the road leading up to the hill.

“Halt!” barked a voice from the battlement. “Who goes there?”

“Cassius Malvus!” he exclaimed while trying to get his breath back. The guard who had asked Cassius the question popped up within view and his face turn to one of puzzlement.

“I know none by that name,” he replied.

“What do you mean?” Cassius shouted back confusingly. “Didn’t the other messengers come here? Horobus and Maximus?”

“No messengers have come here!” the guard shot back before he was interrupted by the arrival of a senior officer who looked at the bedraggled snow drenched figure of Cassius.

“Who sent you here?”

“I come from Senonae!” replied Cassius, as he opened his pouch and thrust the scroll towards the guards upon the battlements. “I have been sent by Caesar himself!” The officer’s eyes widened at what Cassius had just told him and immediately acted.

“Open the gate!” he barked to the guard that had questioned Cassius earlier on. “And head to Marcellus telling him we have a visitor,” The gate soon creaked open as Cassius entered the fort eager to tell Marcellus of recent events.

*****

“Senonae is under attack?” Marcellus shouted in shock, as he read Julian’s scroll, to which Cassius nodded in reply.

“Aye,” he explained. “They came from the east using the forests to hide their approach. They sprung at us with ladders and attempted to scale the walls but were repulsed. Julian ordered me along with two other runners to take different routes and head for your fort so to speak of what has happened. But the guard upon the battlement told me none so far have arrived. Most likely they are dead,” Marcellus read the scroll intently and sighed when reading the part where Julian asked for reinforcements.

“Magister, when should I head back to Senonae to send word of your arrival with reinforcements?” asked Cassius. Marcellus sighed.

“You’re not,” Cassius looked at his superior with bewilderment.

“By God, why not?” he exclaimed. Marcellus glared at Cassius angrily showing his contempt that a mere soldier was speaking to him like that.

“Because we have too few men and can’t spare any to head north,” the Magister explained.

“But Caesar told me you have fifteen hundred men here along with a detachment of cavalry!” Cassius pointed out, exasperated at Marcellus’ unwillingness to help.

“When we arrived at the fort a few weeks ago that was the case,” Marcellus retorted. “But we split our forces sending half to Augustodunum including the cavalry to ease the burden on our supplies. We only have seven hundred and fifty men here and if Senonae is under siege then it is likely I have to prepare myself for an likely attempt to attack this fort. Most likely, I will have to send riders to Augustodunum along with the other towns nearby to warn them to be on alert.

You are welcome to stay here if you wish but do not try to go back to Senonae. You managed to get out on the first day of the siege because they were slow to seal the town off and you found a chink in their armour. But it has been nearly three days and they will no doubt be ravaging the surroundings lands for food. Try to go back and you will be killed by those barbarians or worse captured,”

“But you must help them!” Cassius pleaded. “They are surrounded!” Marcellus slammed his fist onto the wooden table in his quarters that came between him and Cassius

“I can’t!” he snarled, as he lost patience with this messenger, who talked to him as if he was an equal or his superior. “I haven’t enough men to defend the fort and send an adequate force to Senonae and neither does Flavius Barbatus at Augustodunum. Now, I suggest you go and get some rest, before you do or say something that you regret,” Cassius angrily stared at Marcellus before saluting and then storming out. Though incensed at Marcellus he knew the Magister was preoccupied with protecting the fort and the road south to Augustodunum.

“But if Marcellus can’t send help then how long can Caesar hold at Senonae?”

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 03-01-2013 @ 05:54 AM).]

Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 03-01-13 12:04 PM EDT (US)     63 / 121       
Looks like Julian just lost a paddle on Shit's Creek. One more and he's in some serious poo-poo. Still, he managed to hold off against odds, and cut the bloody Alemanni a new one doing it.

Good chapter.

One question: the howls of the dead? Are you bringing zombies into the story?

|||||||||||||||| 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 03-01-13 03:39 PM EDT (US)     64 / 121       
A good chapter LoH. It was a good description of the aftereffects of a siege assault as well as the difficulties in acquiring relief when the rest of your own forces are under the threat of attack as well. I just have a question about this line below:
Alamanni bloodied but unbounded.
Did you perhaps mean, "bloodied but unbroken"? I don't understand why the Alamanni would be unbounded since they weren't bound (to Julian? Rome?) in the first place.

"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
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 03-01-13 04:17 PM EDT (US)     65 / 121       
Well, an excellent chapter LoH. I hope that the next chapter is going to be even more interesting...

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 03-02-13 04:28 PM EDT (US)     66 / 121       
I actually meant bloodied but unbound. But I can understand the confusion. Terikel, zombie armies are quite tough to fight against as well as a zombie herd: DU will know what I mean as he has watched the The Walking Dead.

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 03-02-2013 @ 04:30 PM).]

Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 03-10-13 06:32 PM EDT (US)     67 / 121       
*****

“Watch out!” Ursicinus screamed to one of his soldiers. The soldier was too late to heed his commander’s words, as an axe slammed upon his helmet, gorging deep into the brain that caused blood to spout everywhere. Ursicinus swore and looked around to assess the situation. For at least two weeks they had been hit by three assaults along different sections of the town walls up. That had been until a few days ago when all had been quiet apart from a few probes along the west gate. But, suddenly at the dead of night, the flaming torches of the Alamanni flickered brightly towards the walls of Senonae meaning one thing: a night attack.

The Alamanni had come from all directions causing the alarm to be sounded from the sentries on each gate within Senonae. Bainobaudes was on the southern gate with Julian on the eastern gate while Ursicinus was on the north gate. Gaius Claudius who was the second in command of the Cornuti, which Bainobaudes commanded, was defending the western gate that was the weakest Alamanni point of attack. Ursicinus could see things were critical upon the northern wall, as hundreds of barbarians flocked to climb upon the ladders with the Alamanni switching their focus to the north gate. Ursicinus drew his sword and turned to men showing grim determination.

“We stand our ground here!” he roared. “Do not let these barbarians take this wall and honour those who have fallen by slamming your weapon deep into these foul beasts’ hearts!” A huge roar from the Romans echoed Ursicinus’ rallying cry, as they welcomed those Alamanni coming up the wall from the ladders by mercilessly hacking at them. Barbarian arms clinging onto the top of the wall were merely hacked off causing them to scream in pain and fall to their deaths while in turn the Alamanni jumped at their accursed foes: eager to mutilate them after years of Roman oppression. However, Ursicinus’ careful management of his soldiers bore fruit, as he turned right and unleashed his reserve.

The Alamanni noble Glama who led his warriors to storm the northern gate had so far defied the grim fate befallen on those who in past battles had led the first wave. Despite sporting several minor wounds from previous assaults he was still fighting bravely among his men. Glama had been proud what he had done so far and defied that ignorant ass Serapio. Glama’s men had been able to seize a small foothold on the northern gate after heavy losses. Glama had been quick to order a white flag to be waved to indicate more reinforcements were needed to exploit the potential breakthrough.

Glama tried to push his men out of the foothold to put more pressure on the Romans but the noble could see one of the decorated Roman soldiers look to the right and bark out orders. Glama turned right to see what was happening and was horrified to see a decurion of archers form up and begin to raise their bows directly below the battlement where Glama’s men had seized the foothold.

“Loose!” Ursicinus screamed. Several arrows were unleashed towards the exposed Alamanni who had no idea the archers had deftly manoeuvred to their flank. The result was disaster for the Alamanni, as several men fell to their deaths with arrows protruding from their bodies. Glama opened his mouth in shock when seeing the archers come out of nowhere, duly paying for it, as an arrow whistled into his mouth and the tip of the arrow exited at the back of his neck before falling dead among his comrades.

The gory spectacle of how Glama died shook his men and caused them to waver. The men under Glama’s command were part of the first wave and were the first to die not because they were brave but they were weak and Serapio wanted to cull those that could not handle the warrior ethos of the Alamanni. However, unbeknownst to Serapio, the first wave began to buckle at seeing their leader killed and after another devastating burst of Roman arrows began to flee. Ursicinus smiled at this new development and began to exploit this breakthrough.

“Let us push these barbarians over the wall!” he screamed. “Roma victor!”

“Roma victor!” the soldiers replied in kind echoing the glory days of the Principate. The comitatenses threw themselves onto the Alamanni and the sheer ferocity of their attack caused an instant rout among the barbarians. Upon the fields outside of the town at the rear of the army Serapio could see waves of Alamanni rushing down the ladders with the Romans at the top of the battlement throwing spears and missiles.

“May their families be struck by a thousand curses!” Serapio angrily shouted when seeing the failure of the attack on the northern gate. The young king was ready to explode but his eye turned to a runner on horseback heading towards him.

“My king, our men are falling back upon all walls and have broken off their attacks,” he announced fearing Serapio would decapitate him for what he just uttered. The young king slowly cocked his head towards the quivering horseman.

“How?” he growled.

“Upon the east gate they used boiling oil to burn our men,” the runner explained with his face one of horror when retelling the story. “The sights I saw, my king. The sights my eyes saw were one I cannot speak of. Along the southern gate Verus was killed when he was met with several spears piercing his body atop the battlement and stopped the attack in its midst. While on the north gate Glama is dead and the attack along the western gate must have been broken off when seeing our own men flee,” Serapio’s face was one of resignation realizing the walls were too strong for his men to overcome. The Roman who leads these men at Senonae is far stronger than I give him credit for. Far stronger. Serapio then turned to the dispatch rider.

“Order the withdrawal,” he commanded. As the horseman galloped to relay the orders given Serapio’s eyes lay fixed upon the wounded men who had been repulsed at the western gate. All of Serapio’s retinue gasped in horror and shock when seeing how badly wounded some of the soldiers were. Many of them were burned and some were being towed along ladders used as makeshift stretchers. Others despondently trudged along looking bereft at being brutally. Serapio shook his head and then turned to one of his subordinate nobles.

“Gurbad, call a meeting of all available officers including those that are wounded,”

*****

Over an hour later and Serapio was met with the remaining nobles within the small force sent by Chnodomarius. Of the five nobles that had accompanied the young co-king to Senonae only two remained. Verus, Glama and Raga were dead and the survivors Gurbad and Hrotha had suffered wounds from battle. Serapio sighed heavily, as he saw the dearth of nobles remaining.

“I will not berate you as I did last time for failing to storm the walls of Senonae,” he spoke, which brought about looks of surprise. “From what I saw of the men it is clear that we have suffered enough bloodshed. We merely have a thousand men alive and five hundred wounded: a poor return from the thirty five hundred warriors that came here. My friends, I have to admit with a heavy heart, that I seriously doubt we can take this accused town,” A hushed silence hung within the midst signalling that Gurbad and Hrotha agreed with him.

“What is the situation regarding our supplies, Hrotha?” Serapio asked.

“Enough to feed us on the way back to Argentoratum,” the noble replied gloomily. The young king nodded, as he knew supplies were becoming a growing problem.

“Then we break camp and head for home at the dead of night. Make sure to relay the order,” Serapio proclaimed. “Though my uncle will not be pleased with our failure here I shall deal with his displeasure. I am sure he will give us some leeway when learning of the large casualties sustained among our men and more painfully our nobles at the hands of these sandal wearers. But I assure you those dogs will pay!”

*****

Julian was sleeping in his bed when he was awakened by the burly figure of Ursicinus at the early hours of the morning. The young Roman moaned seemingly not impressed at being interrupted amidst his deep sleep.

“Caesar, you must see this!” Ursicinus exclaimed. “It’s urgent,” Julian’s eyes immediately opened.

“Are we under attack?” he asked rapidly. “Has the alarm been sounded?”

“No, the Alamanni haven’t launched an assault,” Ursicinus chuckled. “Something even better!” Julian raised his eyebrow and immediately got off the bed. He stood up and changed himself into his battle dress, as they walked from his quarters towards the east gate. When walking up to the blood stained battlement, dodging soldiers who were quick to salute their Caesar, Ursicinus looked to the snowy field and pointed.

“There,” he said triumphantly thrusting his finger towards the landscape. “Look at it!”

“I see nothing,” Julian replied quickly to which Ursicinus looked at him and smiled before the Caesar cottoned onto what had made his friend so intrigued.

“The Alamanni,” Julian said in surprise. “They are gone. No fires made to warm their hands in this cold weather and no sound whatsoever in the field ahead of us to indicate their presence.

“The same thing has occurred on the fields and approaches within the west, south and north wall,” Ursicinus explained. “It is as if they have vanished,”

“Or retreated,” Julian retorted. “Have two squadrons of cataphracts sent out to patrol eastwards and northwards. They are not to go further than an hour’s ride from here and are to turn back once reaching the distance travelled within that time. Have them relay their report to me the moment they arrive back,” Ursicinus nodded and proceeded to carry out the order given. Within a short while thirty heavily clad horsemen galloped from Senonae and split into two groups of fifteen to their intended destination. By early afternoon did the cataphracts return and their squadron commander Berius make his way to Julian and Ursicinus.

“Caesar, the group scouring the north and east found dust trails about ten leagues to the northeast of here,” he reported. “Both groups rode further to inspect and we are sure it is the retreating Alamanni army. Regrettably, we couldn’t get in closer, as there were enemy cavalry milling about to the rear and flanks, no doubt acting as a screening force to cover the withdrawing columns,” Julian nodded, as he thanked the officer, before dismissing him. As the Caesar turned around to Ursicinus he smiled.

“As we reach the first days of the new year it seems we are blessed that those barbarians suddenly lost their resolve, Ursicinus,” he quipped.

“It is fortunate that they did despite our losses,” replied the old advisor. However, Julian’s demeanour soon changed, when remembering the gruelling three-week siege.

“Ursicinus, I want you to summon a cavalryman and have him ride out south,” he ordered. His orders are to find Marcellus and inform him of the siege being lifted and he is to be summoned to come here to Senonae at once. Tell him it is of the highest importance and I expect his arrival in a few days. I will write the orders down on parchment and have it embroidered on the seal before giving it to the messenger,”

“Yes, Caesar, I shall do it at once,” Ursicinus acknowledged. “However, may I ask why Marcellus is to be summoned?” Julian beckoned his old friend to walk with him, as they went down the steps towards the courtyard near the east gate.

“I am sure you remember repelling the surprise assault upon our walls after the barbarians appeared out of nowhere from the woods on the eastern gate,” Julian remembered to which Ursicinus nodded. “After repulsing the Alamanni we sent those three messengers to Marcellus asking him to send aid. And after a week when no news came we sent out another man yet there was still no reply,”

“So where does Marcellus comes into this?” asked Ursicinus.

“I want to question him on whether he received my repeated calls for aid,” Julian answered. “If he knew of what happened at Senonae I want to know why he didn’t send help? Should his explanation be sufficient then I will lay the matter to rest but if not then there will be grave repercussions for him,” As Ursicinus nodded and proceeded to carry out Julian’s order the general was mused in deep thought.

Marcellus would find himself in graver trouble if Senonae’s garrison knew the Magister was aware of our plight and still did not come to our aid,” For Marcellus' sake Julian hoped that was not the case.

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
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(id: Terikel706)
posted 03-11-13 01:09 PM EDT (US)     68 / 121       
Awesome installment!

Marcellus is going to have some 'splainin to do!

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posted 03-12-13 01:00 AM EDT (US)     69 / 121       
A good chapter LoH

I hope Marcellus is at least honorable enough to admit his failure and willing to take responsibility by falling on his sword as Poenius Postumus did after Paulinus' victory at Watling Street.

"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
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posted 03-22-13 01:01 PM EDT (US)     70 / 121       
*****

Marcellus and his escort galloped into Senonae a nervous man. It had been a week since the Alamanni broke off the siege and four days since the Magister had received Julian’s scroll summoning him to the town. As he neared the gates Marcellus could see the aftermath of the battles along the walls and battlements of the town. The Magister was shaken at the blood splatter and churned up grass within the snow. When the gates opened Marcellus could see the impending figure of Ursicinus. As he dismounted from his horse and walked towards the wily general the Magister could see the numerous unhealed scars on his face, as a result of his duels with the Alamanni.

“Ursicinus, am I glad to see you alive!” he embraced his fellow soldier. “When I heard from the dispatch rider telling me of the siege four days ago my heart sunk. But I was relieved when told the Alamanni were repulsed, which is a sign that God clearly favours Rome!” Ursicinus gave a nod in reply to which Marcellus then looked about curiously when seeing the garrison start work on damaged sections of the wall.

“Where is Caesar?” asked Marcellus.

“He is in his quarters,” Ursicinus answered quickly before grinning. “Waiting for you,” Marcellus’ cheery demeanour sunk when hearing the old man’s ominous tone. However, Marcellus was keen to not show it, lest it be known he was rattled.

“Then show me the way, friend,” Marcellus deftly replied. Ursicinus soon turned around and led him through the town. The Magister could see the atmosphere was dark yet it was no wonder when it was nearly sacked by barbarians. As Ursicinus led him inside a large compound he opened the door, as both men went up the stairs, passing countless guards who were quick to salute their superior officers.

They soon reached the doors, which Marcellus could clearly see were the quarters of Caesar. Ursicinus knocked on the door and entered before coming out of the room to summon Marcellus. The Magister entered the quarters and saw the young Caesar sit in a chair near a table. Marcellus looked surprised at the figure of Julian, as prior to the winter he was skinny, yet now his muscles had grown. Marcellus had no doubt his physical appearance had improved as a result of the winter siege at Senonae.

“Caesar,” bowed the Magister respectfully, to which Julian acknowledged.

“How are you, Marcellus?” Julian spoke curtly.

“I am well,” he smiled. “I hope the new year brings better fortunes than last year though it has proven so seeing the siege here has been lifted!” Ursicinus and Julian looked at each other before the Caesar looked at Marcellus.

“I am guessing you are wondering why you were summoned here,” Julian said, to which Marcellus nodded. “It regards the siege,” As soon as those words were uttered the Magister knew what Julian was talking about. If I don’t handle this correctly I will be ruined!

“Did you receive any letters from me?” Ursicinus asked. Marcellus paused.

“Yes, I did!” he blurted. “But there is good reason why I could not come to your aid, Caesar!” Julian’s eyes narrowed, as he now saw the truth begin to come out.

“Then speak and let me be the judge!” he said darkly.

“When I received the letter from the dispatch rider informing me of what had happened I was taken aback!” Marcellus explained. “The dispatch rider told of how the barbarians came from the east and how you called for aid to be urgently sent. However, I had split my forces sending seven hundred and fifty men to Augustodunum while keeping the rest here so to ease the burden on our supplies,"

“Why didn’t you send word to Flavius Barbatus at Augustodunum informing him of what happened?” Julian enquired quickly questioning Marcellus’ account. “I am sure he would have sent help, as well as stockpile supplies for reinforcements to be sent to Senonae,”

“The weather was bad and it meant-”

“The weather was bad?????”” exploded Julian angrily thumping his clenched fist onto the table. He stood up and leaned over the table towards a now scared Marcellus who had never seen him this angry before. “You made no attempt to send a relief force whatsoever and do not try to contradict me, as I have testimony from the dispatch rider that informed you of what was happening. You even forbade him from trying to head back to inform us of what you said!” Sweat dripped down Marcellus’ neck, as he knew things were collapsing all around him. The testimony of that fool Cassius was the mortal blow. He thought about mounting a defence but knew Julian had all possible excuses Marcellus could say covered.

“What are you going to do?” the Magister asked witheringly. Julian stared at what he felt was a pathetic excuse of a man.

“After earlier deliberating with Ursicinus here I have decided that you will not be executed for high insubordination in light of your service to Rome,” Julian replied to which Marcellus’s face brightened. Julian was quick to extinguish any hope put into the now deposed Magister. “However! You will be transferred back to Italia where you shall hold an administrative post. Though some, as well as the garrison and those that died here defending Senonae, will no doubt rather have you be sent to a hellish border post in the East where the Sassanids are the least of your problems!” Marcellus’s head was slumped knowing he had been verbally ripped apart. He dare not look at Ursicinus for he knew he would be exactly like Julian.

“Get out of my sight and head back to the fort,” the Caesar sneered. “I will write up the orders so those in Italia know of your presence and can deal with you there summarily. Most likely you will be summoned over there to take up your post at the ides of spring. Dismissed!” Marcellus looked up and saluted before marching out of the room. Julian’s eyes lingered at the ex-Magister before turning away in disgust after Marcellus closed the door. As Julian sat down in his chair Ursicinus decided it was prudent to break the silence.

“A matter expertly dealt with,” he quipped.

“Marcellus was a decent officer but he kept on making mistakes,” Julian recollected. “Leading us into the forest where we were ambushed nearly a year ago and now not coming to our aid. One error of judgment can be repaired but two is mortal. He thinks that he will be safe in Italia. Little does he know that he will be transferred to the eastern frontier!” Ursicinus could see Julian had withheld that information from Marcellus as a hidden punishment.

“So who will take up his post?” Ursicinus wondered. Julian smiled.

“Ever since I heard of Marcellus’ inability to come to our aid at Senonae,” he explained. “I have thought long and of finding an adequate replacement. Naturally, I thought of you, but I then realized Constantius had ordered you here to be my advisor and not be worn down with the title of Magister that brings several responsibilities. However, I have managed to find who I feel is the right person for the job,”

“Whom, Caesar?”

“Severus,” Julian answered confidently. “The man has managed to prove himself ever since we marched to the west bank of the Rhine last summer, Ursicinus. He handled the ambush within the fog at Decem Pagi brilliantly and during the summer campaign conducted himself without fault. What do you think?”

I too thought of Severus as a good replacement,” Ursicinus agreed. “He has many qualities that is needed to be a Magister. Brave, clever and has a good rapport with the men. An excellent choice, Caesar!”

“I am glad we are on the same boat!” Julian exclaimed happily. “When the comitatenses is reformed again when the winter ends I will tell Severus the good news,” However, before Ursicinus could reply, an urgent knock on the door caught both of their attention.

“Enter!” bellowed Julian. A man opened the door before closing it and saluted his two superiors. As Julian and Ursicinus saw the figure they could see he was different from any of the soldiers stationed here. He was immaculately dressed with no dirt or snow whatsoever in his armour or red cape that kept him warm from the cold. Moreover, his attire indicated he was from the court of Constantius.

“Greetings,” he bowed. “I bring word from the court of our great Augustus Constantius,” He took a tightly woven scroll from within a pocket and gave it to Julian. As the young Caesar stared at the sealed piece of parchment the young rider saluted before exiting, as he wanted Ursicinus to read what was within the scroll. As Julian unfastened the seal he began to read it out loud to Ursicinus.

*****

To Caesar of the western provinces and comitatus of Gaul,

Heartfelt greetings, Julian!

I have read your report on your summer campaign against the Alamanni. I must say that I’m impressed by what you have achieved while stationed in the west. I am sure the western provinces makes a real change from your past confines in Greece and Asia Minor. But aside the pleasantries there are several reasons why I write to you.

As said before the report you sent me impressed me but also made me realize from what you wrote that reinforcements are needed if the barbarian scourge is to be quelled once and for all. So in turn I have decided to grant your request, as I deem Gaul is now first priority in terms of where to allocate my manpower. Reinforcements will be sent in the form of a new army headed by Magister Peditum Flavius Barbatio, which number up to twenty five thousand men. They will come up through the snowy mountain passes and into southern Gaul at the end of winter.

With the arrival of Barbatio a multi pronged offensive is to be launched upon the arrival of the campaigning season in the spring. You shall attack from the north while Barbatio shall come from the south. I am in Italia as I write this: preparing to lead my army of fifteen thousand men towards Raetia where pressure shall be put upon the barbarians living there.

The main aim of the offensive is to enter the west bank of the Rhine and eliminate the Alamanni communities settling there. I want no barbarian able to set foot on the west bank and let it be known to those jackals that the law of Rome resides here. Barbatio is a competent commander and I am sure you two will co-operate no doubt leading to the success of this offensive. Once your grain stores are filled then launch the offensive will little delay, Julian.

Moreover, before I finish, there is another matter for me to address. It regards Ursicinus. There is no easy way to say this but he is to be recalled. It is the price for me to allow considerable amount of men and supplies to be sent to Gaul. By doing this it leaves the eastern provinces undermanned and I need something to offset that. Trouble is brewing with the Sassanids with growing raids along the frontier. It is possible war could come out of this and if that is the case then I need Ursicinus to deal with it. From what you have told me in your letter he has been a considerable help and I am glad he has followed my instructions. He is to head to Rome in a few weeks where a vessel will take him to Constantinople.

May God be with you, Julian! This time next year the Alamanni will fall by the hands of Roman cold steel.


*****

Ursicinus looked at Julian with surprise etched on his face.

“It seems that we are to be separated, friend,” Julian smiled. “However, Constantius is right. It is the price to pay for the huge amount of reinforcements to be sent here,”

“You are right,” nodded Ursicinus though saddened at leaving his Caesar. “Thankfully, our Augustus has granted your request and next year the Alamanni will be smashed, even without my guidance!”

Julian chuckled but deep down he would miss his old friend. Miss him terribly.

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 03-22-2013 @ 01:02 PM).]

Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 03-22-13 01:31 PM EDT (US)     71 / 121       
A good installment.

Marcellus got off lightly. I wonder if that is going to come back later and bite Julian in the ass.


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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
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 03-23-13 09:58 AM EDT (US)     72 / 121       
A solid chapter LoH and even though Marcellus wasn't scourged and crucified, it's very satisfying to know that he's going to get a taste of Sassanid warfare

"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
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 03-23-13 11:24 AM EDT (US)     73 / 121       
Well, Julian was never a harsh ruler...

Excellent work LoH...

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 03-27-13 06:36 PM EDT (US)     74 / 121       
You will certainly see who is a harsh general!


*****

Barbatio sat in his tent outside the town of Augusta Rauracoroum along the Rhine where his army was encamped. While in his warm tent he could hear the howling wind slam into the flaps of his tent eagerly trying to temper the warm glow that basked in the confines of the Magister Peditum's quarters. It was now February 457 and the experienced general looked at the reports given to him by Julian, which detailed the situation that occurred along the frontier these last few months.

“So this is the young upstart that Constantius has entrusted the western provinces to,” he thought unimpressed. Barbatio had not been pleased when the Augustus had chosen Julian instead of an experienced commander like himself or those within the court who at least had military experience.

No, Constantius merely chose a little boy to take command of the comitatus in Gaul. A boy who thought the best way to use a sword was to stick it up his own ass! Barbatio was well aware that while Julian had spent the last year fighting many in the court of Constantius, whether in Constantiople or where the Augustus was now residing in Italia, had tried to poison or slander the reputation of Julian. And I how I have happily fed the poisoning!

There were those, which included Barbatio, who sought the demise of Julian for several reasons. Firstly, his military experience was negligible, with many aggrieved at how a novice could gain such a challenging command. But there were those that hated Julian for another reason: his religion. The vast Roman Empire had been reunited under Constantine The Great after being split into the eastern and western Roman empire.

Under this reunification Constantine enforced his religion Christianity onto the people, as he was determined to enforce his rules and ideals. Constantius had decided to follow his father and pushed many religious reforms under his current stewardship. He banned pagan sacrifices, closed their temples, as well as issuing edicts against soothsayers and magicians.

But Barbatio knew there were rumours. A wide grin now etched on his face when remembering of hearing whispers that the Augustus’ cousin, Caesar of the western provinces, dabbled in the pagan arts. Barbatio remembered being shocked at hearing that during his time in Greece Julian actively practiced the religious customs in secret, which had been the main religion under the Roman Republic, as well as the days of the Emperors before the rule of Constantine The Great.

Barbatio chuckled heartily when remembering the names some within the court and church mockingly called the young emperor’s cousin. Julian The Apostate! However, Barbatio’s mind soon turned to the letters sent by the young general and sighed. He’d been less than impressed at how Julian had informed him their offensive was to be launched on the first week of June once his supplies were large enough to feed his army.

“Insolent fool!” he growled. “How dare he speak to me like that, as if he had fought a hundred battles,” Barbatio had been glad Ursicinus was recalled to the East for the Magister knew the old man was a wily fox and a dangerous enemy. “Him and Arbitio: now they are men whom you would rather have on your side than against. Arbitio was the Augustus’ enforcer and Flavius knew when you laid eyes on the man you’d knew what to expect from him. But with Ursicinus it was different.

The Magister Equitum was a man of charm, wit, intelligence but whose wrath would scare Mars itself. The corpses of those who died in the Jewish revolt against Gallus know all too well: especially the inhabitants of Tiberias and Diospolis! Thankfully, the command given to him by Constantius would make sure he avoided Arbitio. The man was a snake who had conspired against Silvanus - though Ursicinus was the one who had killed the usurper – and had set his eyes on Barbatio as well mainly because of his jealously that he would command the reinforcements sent to bolster Julian’s small comitatus.

“No matter!” Barbatio cried out to himself. “I will make sure I will cripple Julian’s attempts to defeat the barbarians. It will only serve to intensify the suspicion in the mind of the Augustus of where the young Caesar’s loyalties truly lie. And when my army march across the Rhine into the east bank where the barbarians reside in force I will destroy them and be exalted by my men. Constantius will give thanks to my efforts or if sanctioned by the soldiers under my command usurp the throne and become Augustus myself!”

Barbatio had good reason to be confident: twenty five thousand men plus at least five thousand baggage handlers and labourers were under his command. The general sniggered when remembering Julian merely had close to fifteen thousand. “A weak army led by a weak general. He will be dead by the end of the year!

*****

Serapio knew he had a tough winter what with the failure at Senonae causing Chnodomarius to be less than impressed with him. The young co-king had remembered his icy words when telling him of what had happened. Be glad you are of my blood, nephew. Or I would have cut you down where you stand!” It had made his blood curdle and he knew very well his uncle would have carried out the threat. The winter had also been tough on him especially when he had heard of the arrival of a Roman army coming through the Alpine pass and marching so far north they had set camp merely ten leagues south of Argentoratum.

The arrival of another Roman army so close to us makes it worse!” he thought acidly to himself. When Chnodomarius became aware of how close this new army was he vented his anger and wrath violently on the slaves tending to the fields. However, Serapio hoped his uncle’s bad mood had dissipated, as he now stood outside his tent because Chnodomarius had summoned the young warrior. When he was beckoned to enter the tent by a guard he did so before Serapio closed the flap so to get his uncle’s attention.

“How are you, nephew?” Chnodomarius asked courteously.

“Well, uncle,” nodded Serapio. “And you?” The co-king raised his eyebrow.

“If you mean to ask if I am still angry at you over Senonae and bearing news of that second Roman army,” he replied before shaking his head. “Then no I am not. It is no good dwelling on bad news because then you can’t do anything about it apart from wallowing in self-pity. Though those Roman slaves have felt the full force of my pity. No, I have another way to deal with this new threat, which is why I called you here,”

“What can I do to bring honour upon our people?” Serapio asked confidently. “What is needed of me to redeem myself to you after my failure at Senonae?” Chnodomarius stared intently at him before smiling.

“To bring chaos and confusion to those sandal wearers in the one possible place they would never expect,” he explained. “However, this is not an attempt to invade the lands of Gaul and seize it permanently. It isn’t the time for that although we are close. Many flock to our banner with chieftains and kings pledging more men to our cause. They know the time is near before we are ready to send an army across the Rhine in numbers not seen since I overrun the frontier and seized the west bank of the Rhine!” Serapio smiled when visioning the towns of Roman Gaul ablaze with flame, as the banners of the Alamanni flickered in the distance, while the anguished screams of the Romans gave away to the bloodthirsty cheers of his men.

“So if we are not trying to seize Gaul then what is your aim?” Serapio wondered.

“To raid the area around Lugundum,” the king explained.

“That far south?” the young barbarian asked. “Lugundum is the furthest our raids have managed to reach ever since we were able to terrorize Gaul at will before that young upstart Roman general arrived. Even when we did raid Lugundum it was extremely difficult transporting the spoils north undetected,”

“No matter,” Chnodomarius dismissed his nephew’s worries. “If we bring back booty and supplies then praise to our gods. All I want is chaos and destruction to be sowed upon those Romans living among those walls. The beauty of it is they won’t!”

“Why is that?”

“Because they will never expect us!” Chnodomarius cackled darkly. “From what I have heard from my scouts the disposition of that new army is formidable – nearly thirty thousand strong! It is resting ten leagues south of us at Augusta Raurica – an old Roman town. Thankfully, they haven’t moved, no doubt waiting until the weather improves. But importantly, the army under that irritable general Julian is encamped at Durocorturum!”

“Which means a large gap appears……..” replied Serapio quietly realizing his uncle’s plan.

“Between both Roman armies!” Chnodomarius explained. “It is big enough for packs of warbands to march south where the plains of Southern Gaul are ripe for the taking. With raiding parties causing havoc it will disrupt the preparations made by those Romans to attack the west bank! The plan is perfect and that is why I want you to lead the raiding parties,” Serapio felt honoured that his uncle still believed in him and was adamant he would not fail.

“How many are being sent south, uncle?” he asked.

“A thousand,” the king replied. “Split into five packs of two hundred men each. You head south within a few days. You must march with great haste because by the time you reach the southern lands of Gaul the Romans will be alerted and try to intercept you. Cause as much damage as you can, nephew! Exact revenge for the years of torment and sorrow the Romans have unleashed upon our brothers,”

“I shall, uncle!” Serapio said defiantly. “I shall!”

*****

Plumonus walked down the road to his village with a smile on his face. After spending several months in the ranks of the limetani he had been granted three weeks leave to visit his family. It had been a welcome surprise but his superiors knew he had waited patiently after serving bravely along the frontier during the summer and cold winter. As he walked in the cold weather the Roman could see the sky was cloudless. Plumonus felt nothing could spoil his day knowing that down the slope was where his village was and his wife and fifteen year old son.

That was until he saw black smoke billowing into the sky.

Plumonus’ eyes widened when realizing it was coming from his village. The frontiersman ran down the slope at pace towards his village to see it ablaze. Uncontrollable flames flickered violently, as its fiery gaze stared into the face of the shocked Plumonus. But his eyes then turned to the bodies strewn across the village. He ran to try and find his wife and son: frantically inspecting the bodies wondering if they were dead or alive.

After seeing that none of the bodies were of his family he delved deeper into the village where Plumonus could see every house was set on fire. Upon some houses that had been burned to a crisp he could see charred bodies indicating they had been killed within their home. But, as he reached the last of the houses without finding his wife or son, his eyes turned to the big oak tree that towered ominously above the village where children had once played. But its what hanged on its branches that left the soldier in shock.

Several bodies were pinned along the branches with their bodies mutilated. Plumonus was aghast to see some of the women whom he knew had obviously been ravished. But it was at the centre of the tree where Plumonus’ eyes lay fixated on his wife Cornelia and his son Troy. They had been pinned gruesomely to the tree where Troy’s stomach had been ripped apart with his eyes and tongue gouged out. As for Cornelia it was clear for Plumonus to see she had been violently ravished by many men. The broken frontiersmen staggered to where his dead family were pinned before crying loudly and uncontrollably. His grief so powerful he had no idea Serapio and his war pack was watching him from a concealed position before revealing themselves to Plumonus.

“Cry Roman!” Serapio maliciously said. “It is a small dose of revenge of what your people have done to my kin!” Plumonus turned around to see several barbarians with blood soaked everywhere on their faces and their armour.

“You monsters!” the Roman screamed, as he drew his sword and charged at Serapio. The young king raised his axe and with all his strength threw it at the onrushing soldier. The axe slammed into the Roman’s chest with blood spurting everywhere before falling onto the ground. As Serapio walked to the dead soldier he pulled his axe from the man’s chest who choked on his blood. As Serapio looked at the dying Plumonus the barbarian gazed at the woman and boy Plumonus had cried over. The king had realized they were the Roman's wife and son.

“Do not be troubled,” he spoke mockingly to the dead Roman. “Your wife gave me so much pleasure. Especially when seeing her face when I gouged your son’s eyes out!” Plumonus's mouth opened as if to say something but Serapio was quick to silence him by drawing his sword and ramming it down his mouth. As Plumonus breathed for the last time Serapio thrust his sword out of the ground and cleaned it before looking at the blood soaked Roman.

"Be glad your death was quick!" he muttered before turning to his men. "Let us head back north, men! We have ravaged the lands of Lugundum so badly the gold and booty we carry can easily form a rampart when we can make camp. But gold and booty is not all we have ravaged - the Roman women in Southern Gaul can vouch to that!" Amid a cacophony of laughs did Serapio's pack march north leaving a trail of destruction and the spilling of blood.

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 03-27-2013 @ 06:55 PM).]

Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 03-29-13 04:39 AM EDT (US)     75 / 121       
Grisly scenes, but good.

Barbatio sounds like a real ass- I hope he gets stomped but good.

Well done, my friend!

|||||||||||||||| 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 03-29-13 08:08 AM EDT (US)     76 / 121       
Good job LoH! Keep it up...

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 03-29-13 08:59 AM EDT (US)     77 / 121       
Having a bit of deja vu right now. Did you write that scene because I told you I was watching 300 while I was chatting with you on FB last time LoH? Wasn't expecting Serapio to brutalize peasants that much, but I have a friend who got into a fight with a stop sign once (he was obviously drunk & angry) so it isn't too far-fetched.

Good work, and I look forward to the moment when Julian and Barbatio meet face-to-face.

"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 03-29-13 01:06 PM EDT (US)     78 / 121       
No deja vu, DU. I had an even more grisly scene prepared but didn't want to break the CoC and fall foul of the Mod Brigade!

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.
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 04-02-13 01:01 PM EDT (US)     79 / 121       
A shorter chapter but is setting the stage for a grand event!

*****

Julian read the reports given to him in his tent with great alarm. All throughout the morning had dispatch riders gallop from the south to arrive furiously into his encampment at Durocorturum bearing letters. Each one boded ill tidings of despair.

To our most noble Caesar,

The area around Lugdunum has come attack by packs of rampaging barbarians. Though they not attack the city they pillage the lands all around it. Men, women and children have been slaughtered like cattle with crops, money, along whatever of value taken and what remains of the land is charred after the barbarians torched it. We beg of you to send assistance at once and purge this threat!


Julian growled heavily at every report sent to him that told of the same thing in graphic detail. Ever since Ursicinus had left for the eastern frontier the general had missed his friend notably. As his most trusted advisor he would have helped him greatly in a time such as this. Though Severus was a capable commander he was certainly no Ursicinus. How I miss you, friend.

As he looked at his table he growled at the bundle of letters that lay unopened, which were of the same ilk as the one he had just read. The letters that so overflowed his table so annoyed him that Julian banned any dispatch riders arriving from the south from entering his tent. Julian’s bad mood was further increased when figuring out why the barbarians had headed south instead and how it could have been easily avoided.

“They know very well it takes time to build up an army’s strength before it can march out to battle,” he thought to himself before turning to his map of Gaul and the frontier along the Rhine. “No doubt the barbarians must have somewhere slipped past both mine and Barbatio’s armies leading them to gorge upon the defenceless lands of Lugdunum. Well, the Alamanni may have decided to catch us unawares with the spoils of the raid, but rest assured I will find them and send them into a world that not even their gods would enter!” It was then that Julian summoned a guard to enter.

“Yes, Caesar?” the soldier said promptly.

“Beckon Mahar, Ammianus, and Severus to my tent at once,” he ordered the guard. “Tell Mahar to bring his subordinate Lupicinus as well,” The soldier nodded and relayed the order. Within a short while all four officers stood before their Caesar.

“You have no doubt have heard the rumours from the men within the camp,” Julian began to which brought uneasy looks among the officers,” Do not worry, men. Talk will always be rife within a camp of rumours and hearsay but whether its spoken in malice is what concerns me. However, it is true that the Alamanni have sent packs of raiding parties to lay waste to the area around Lugdunum. I do not know how much they number but there is one thing I am certain of: that a raiding party is vulnerable when carrying back its plunder. And that is where you men come in,”

“What will you have us do, Caesar?” Ammianus asked.

“Find and destroy them,” Julian explained with great malice in his voice. “Use the roads to find them and butcher all within your sight,”

“Will we be using infantry?” Severus asked.

No,” Julian shook his head. “We will use the cataphracts and our light cavalry. Our three thousand horsemen will be split into three regiments to which Ammianus, Mahar and Lupicinus shall command one of each,” The chosen officers gave thanks to their new command while Severus looked slightly miffed at being overlooked. But, as Julian dismissed his officers, he motioned Severus to stay.

“Not including you as part of the officers in charge of the hunt against those barbarians does not mean you are out of favour,” Julian assured his Magister Equitum. “Far from it, Severus! In fact, that is why I beckoned you to stay. For I have an important task for you. I want you to ride towards Augusta Rauracoroum where Flavius Barbatio is encamped,”

“That is deep within the lands of the Alamanni, Caesar!” Severus protested strongly.

“I know it is,” retorted Julian. “But it is vital you go to him and tell him of what has happened. Have him guard the main road, back roads and dirt paths that led to where he is. Especially the main road, as it leads past Augusta Rauracoroum towards Argentoratum, a known stronghold of the Alamanni. Stick to the woods so to avoid any barbarians. Make sure to set out at once and reach Barbatio quickly!”

Severus acknowledged the orders given to him and left the tent. As he did so Julian walked out of the tent as well and saw the horns sounded that led the cavalry leave the encampment. The Caesar hoped those innocent people who died at the hands of the Alamanni were avenged. Avenged to the point where they will learn desecrating Rome’s subjects will not be tolerated!

*****

Serapio stood atop a hill overlooking the surrounding landscape that spread many leagues with great joy on his face. His pack of men had raided several villages with impunity causing many Roman deaths and spoils of war. Serapio could see the amount of plunder his men acquired lying amongst his men. The young co-king had calculated they were merely twenty five leagues to the southwest of Argentoratum and would easily take a day to reach that distance. However, as the sun began to set, Serapio saw it wise to rest his men and have them march for home at first light.

He thought the hill a good position to rest, as it was a good defensive position should they be attacked. He had a few men handy with a bow and many armed with spears should any Romans charge up the hill. However, he was confident there would be no blood split this night and would enjoy a good sleep after spending so many days raiding.

As Serapio inspected the men on sentry duty, which took it in turns to go on watch while others rested, the young co-king scanned the horizon ahead as a precaution so to rest his mind at ease before heading to sleep. His eyes at first saw nothing to trouble him but when he walked to the southern edge of the hill he saw small dots on the horizon coming towards him walking along an open field.

“Call Halric!” Serapio ordered the warrior who was on sentry duty. Within moments Serapio’s second in command and exalted warrior Halric was by his side.

“What do you see, reges?” he asked worryingly.

“Over there,” Serapio pointed in the direction that had drawn his gaze. “What do you see?” Halric squinted his eyes and looked at where Serapio instructed. Soon the noble could see a large gathering of men head to the hill from the south and were a thousand paces away. However, Halric’s initial worries soon dissipated.

“It’s one of our raiding packs!” Halric exclaimed. “Some of them had dyed their hair red – no doubt to honour themselves in battle. I am sure the Romans don’t do that!” Serapio was relieved to know it was not Romans he saw but Durex’s war pack. He knew that Durex was a noble of great repute whose warriors within his household regularly dyed their hair red and their faces in different colours so to look menacing in battle. The young co-king was eager to share tales of battle with his brother in arms. However, the calm air was punctuated by the shrill sounds of horns.

Immediately Serapio looked around to see where it had come from and was mortified when his questions were answered. On both sides of Durex’s war pack were forests and within the vegetation lay the cataphracts and light cavalry commanded by Ammianus. The Roman officer smiled when seeing how exposed Durex’s pack was in the open field carrying their booty in a commandeered horse drawn cart. With little delay did Ammianus sound horns and a thousand cavalrymen came into full view.

“We must help them!” Halric shouted. But the noble could see Serapio stayed quiet.

“There is nothing we can do,” Serapio shook his head sullenly. “Our pack and Durex’s number under four hundred while they at least number twice our strength. There is little option but to hope Durex’s dies a warrior’s death.

“You would have them butchered like cattle and not aid them?” Halric snarled.

“To save our raiding party? Without a moment’s thought!” Serapio exclaimed darkly. “Our mission is completed and my thoughts are to get back home as quickly as possible. Durex’s fate is lamentable but it is the fate of the gods!” Halric could see Serapio would not be moved and soon relented in his opposition to Serapio’s relief.

“Thank you,” the co-king nodded in gratitude. “Have the men break camp at once. We are to head north and use the woods so to avoid detection. The Romans do not like to use the woods in fear for ambush and for good reason!” Serapio’s war pack quickly donned their tools and began their journey north. As they left the hill Serapio was able to hear the faint sounds of battle below the ridge.

“I’m sorry, Durex,” Serapio thought apologetically. “May you forgive me for what I have done!” And so the young war king walked with his war pack under the setting sun. On the other side of the hill Ammianus looked at the aftermath of his ambush, as a warm feeling of avengement came upon him with all of the barbarians lay dead: including their leader whose had been decapitated.

“Do we head north?” asked a tribune. Ammianus looked at the hill before answering.

“No,” he shook his head. “We have done enough for one day. Let’s head for home,"

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.
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 04-02-13 03:57 PM EDT (US)     80 / 121       
An excellent update LoH... I'm looking forward to the next chapter...

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.
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 04-03-13 01:09 AM EDT (US)     81 / 121       
I got a real kick out of this line:
"Stick to the woods so to avoid any barbarians."

You do know that barbarian live in the woods, do you not?

I also loved this line:
"I will find them and send them into a world that not even their gods would enter!”

Damn, son!

Bloody excellent! A wonderful update.

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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 04-04-13 05:48 PM EDT (US)     82 / 121       
I am glad you got a kick out of Julian's advice and his little tirade regarding the Alamanni, Terikel.

I hope you enjoy my new chapter!

*****

Serapio’s war pack had spent a night in the woods after the ambush on Durex’s raiding party. Morale among the men had taken a hit after seeing Durex get massacred by the Roman horsemen. But their spirits soon rose after sleeping comfortably in the forest. At first light Serapio’s men awoke and began marching again within the woods. So far they had avoided being spotted by wandering Roman patrols and hoped that would be the case till they reach Argentoratum.

However, many within the pack felt restless, as Serapio had decided to take the forest trails. It meant instead of taking the long, straight and quicker road that would lead to Argentoratum the forest path was a route that winded to the west near Ducrorotum before angling back towards an open field to the east of Argentoratum. The decision taken by Serapio was a sound one but brought grumbles among the men.

“How much longer, reges?” asked one of the warriors.

“Fifteen leagues,” Serapio replied irritably hoping that would silence them. “There is a stream nearby that is a marker, which indicates we are ten leagues away from Argentoratum. This path through the forests is an old route smugglers and bandits used to take when attacking Roman convoys. From what I remember my uncle speaking about it the Romans to this day are still unaware of this secret route hence why he used it to raid from across the river,”

Many within the pack felt reassured at Serapio’s tale and hoped they would not be on the end of anymore nasty surprises. However, as they came out of the forest, they were pleased to see the stream in the distance and the forest on the other side. But what they saw near the stream on the patch of open ground horrified them.

“By Wotan’s spear!” one of the soldiers exclaimed. “It cannot be!” Many rushed to the stream that had got their attention and gasped at what they saw. Serapio too looked horrified and shook his head in sadness.

Now we know what happened to Gunved’s pack,” he said grimly to Halric. The bodies of Gunved’s pack were strewn on both sides of the stream. Some of Gunved’s men had been killed in the stream itself, as blood flowed into the water. Serapio’s eyes lay downstream where he could see more remains. The young king would mourn the loss of Gunved. He was a soldier of great honour whom Chnodomarius held in high esteem. Serapio knew his uncle would mourn the loss of Gunved.

“My king, there are horse tracks here!” one of the soldiers cried out. Serapio walked to where the tracks were and saw he was correct.

“These tracks are recent,” Halric concluded. “I see no other Roman bodies or even blood stains where bodies once fell before their soldiers took them away for burial,”

“Which means it was an ambush and Gunved’s men were hunted like cattle,” Serapio deduced. Halric nodded, as he pointed to the scabbards of a few dead warriors.

“Look at their weapons,” Halric explained. “They weren’t even drawn or found the flesh of an Roman before they were sent to Valhalla,”

“A waste of life,” Serapio sighed heavily at seeing these men had not being given a true warrior’s death.

“We must go,” Halric replied hastily. “From these tracks it sounds like these Roman horsemen that did this to Gunved's men are not far away,”

“You are right,” Serapio nodded. “Let us stick to the forest path and pray we do not fall to an ambush like Durex or Gunved. And so the war pack crossed the stream and re-entered the forest, as they made their way through the winding forest path towards Argentoratum. Though their hearts were heavy they were glad they were going home.

*****

Severus galloped down the road and breathed in relief when seeing Augusta Rauracoroum come into view. For the last day he and his horse and taken the arduous road to reach Barbatio’s encampment. Severus had decided not to take his Caesar’s advice in using the woods because he knew the Alamanni and bandits resided there. So he took the road and miraculously managed to avoid Alamanni patrols.

As Severus reached the sentry posts and pickets, which defended the encampment that lay directly outside the town, Severus was beckoned to stop by soldiers. The Magister Equitum did so but could see quite quickly these comitatenses were green soldiers - some were young while some were a bit older - but it was clear from their faces they had very little experience of battle. Severus wondered if they had even killed a man.

“State your business!” one of the young soldiers asked harshly, which did not please Severus at all. The fool tries to impose authority where he has none!

“I am Severus, Magister Equitum under the comitatus of Gaul led by Julian, son of Julius Constantius and Caesar of the western provinces,” he stated with great conviction. “I am here to see Flavius Barbatio and I demand to be let through!” The soldiers could see by the look on Severus’ face that he was serious.

“Wait here,” one of the soldiers replied, as he scampered back into the town. A short while later, which Severus spent staring down the inexperienced soldiers, the soldier came back but was accompanied by what Severus saw from his attire was a tribune.

“Apologies, Severus,” the tribune nodded, as he beckoned the Magister to walk with him into the town, while dismissing the soldiers standing guard to get back to their duties. “Had I known of your presence rest assured I would have let you in immediately! But you can understand why our soldiers were a bit jumpy: we are in enemy territory. Our guard must be high, Severus,”

“I understand,” the Magister answered curtly.

“Thank you,” the tribune replied, as they headed deep into the town before entering the compound where Barbatio had commandeered as his headquarters. The tribune went inside the room before opening the door and beckoned Severus inside. As the Magister lay eyes on Barbatio he saw that the general was a man who was tall yet strong and a man who had been in battle several times. Barbatio soon smiled and embraced Severus as if he was a brother.

“My fellow Magister!” he chuffed heartily. “Am I glad to see the man serving under the Caesar of the western provinces! The exploits of Julian in Gaul have been talked about with great intrigue and praise within the court of Constantius!” Severus smiled in reply, as he and Barbatio sat down on chairs, ready to engage in discussion.

“So what brings you here, Severus?” asked the general.

“No doubt you have heard of the Alamanni raiding the lands to the south,” he explained to which Barbatio nodded. “Julian sent me here so to ask for your assistance. Though he has sent cavalry patrols to hunt down the marauding barbarians he feels that added help from your army will allow us to destroy those raiding parties and send a message to the Alamanni,”

“I heartily agree!” Barbatio responded thumping his fist onto the table. “Barbarians desecrating the lands of Rome should be punished! I would be honoured to dispatch my cavalry to kill every one of those Alamanni jackals. In fact, I shall give the order as soon as possible. Doing so would be good for my army, as it will give them much needed experience before the offensive is launched upon the lands of the Alamanni in the summer,”

“I am glad you reach the same consensus as Caesar,” Severus smiled. “I look forward to telling him!”

“Good!” Barbatio smiled happily. “But there is no need to go now. Stay here for the night and head home at first light. A room shall be made for you to sleep for the night, as well as servants to give you food!”

“That would be most kind,” Severus replied showing his gratitude.

“I will have my tribune show you to your quarters,” responded Barbatio to which the same tribune, which had directed Severus to Barbatio’s quarters, now ushered him out of the general’s quarters to his new room. When Barbatio was alone he waited a short while before his face turned to one who had talked with Severus with such happiness to one who harbored dark and sinister intentions. The general wa quick to have the guard call his second in command Quintus Avenus who arrived with great haste.

“You called, general?” Quintus saluted. Barbatio grunted.

“You hear Severus talk about the Alamanni raids, Quintus?” Barbatio enquired. The general had Quintus stand outside his room so to overhear what Severus had to say.

“I did,” he nodded. “Shall I make orders to assist Julian?”

“No!” Barbatio exclaimed to Quintus’ surprise.

“But you just said to Severus that-”

“Do not make assumptions on what I say, Quintus!” he snarled angrily. “I will not aid that pompous rat under any circumstance. Not even if God ordered me to do so and threatened to execute me if I did not!"

“What about the offensive against the lands of the Alamanni on the west bank of the river?” wondered Quintus.

“I will help him……..barely,” he cackled causing Quintus to wonder why Barbatio had contradicted himself but felt it not wise to tell him that. “I will only assist that boy if it is in my interests. If not then I will see him burn in hell with a thousand Alamanni spears pierce his fragile body!” Quintus could see in his general’s eyes the hatred Barbatio had for Julian. My God, does Barbatio crave glory and dream of being Augustus. He does not understand many generals have craven what Barbatio desires yet have bloodily fallen short!

*****

As night arrived in the encampment of Flavius Barbatio Severus lay in his bed deep in thought. The general remembered the words Julian told him just as Severus was about to leave Julian’s encampment.

Severus, there is but one more thing I ask of you before you leave.

When you ask Barbatio for assistance pay particular attention to his manner. Though at first viewing Barbatio may seem a man willing to help and is considerate - I have heard otherwise. Ursicinus spoke of a plot within the court of Constantius to undermine me and have my intentions in Gaul seem sinister. There were also rumours that imply Barbatio was part of that conspiracy to poison my reputation and have Constantius think that as well. So be on your guard, Severus. Act as if you were in the middle of a barbarian stronghold. Trust no-one.


Severus had made sure to heed Julian’s advice and did feel a sense of uneasiness when talking to Barbatio. Though the general’s words in his quarters seem true he did not know if his true intentions differed otherwise.

“Time will tell in the coming months whether Barbatio harbours sinister intentions towards Julian,” Severus thought to himself. “Although I felt uneasy in that room that isn’t a reason to question Barbatio’s integrity. Constantius must have thought Barbatio a man of extensive military experience if he was to give him a large army to reinforce Julian’s campaign against the barbarians,” However, Severus decided to put his mind to rest, as he decided to go to sleep.

*****

As spring passed Julian and Barbatio prepared their armies for the upcoming offensive against the Alamanni. Supplies were stocked, men trained in formation for hours under the sun while Julian and Barbatio engaged in conversation with their officers about the coming offensive for hours upon end.

Soldiers within the two armies eagerly awaited setting out from their encampment towards the lands of the barbarians. Many had scores to settle against the Alamanni and were eager to spill blood so to avenge their lost friends or family who died at the hands of the barbarians.

Meanwhile, spirits were high among the Alamanni. Despite two of the five war packs having been torn apart the other three had arrived safely at Argentoratum. With it brought a great morale boost to the kings and princes of the Alamanni: especially its people. Chnodomarius knew they were ready for the summer and the wrath of Rome’s armies.

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 04-05-13 03:26 AM EDT (US)     83 / 121       
Nice setting of the stage for the upcoming main event.

Looking forward to some blood and battle- and Barbatio getting his, the uprighteous selfish prig!

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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 04-05-13 09:23 AM EDT (US)     84 / 121       
Another good chapter preparing the scene for the large campaign. Barbatio almost got me fooled, too...

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 04-06-13 02:32 PM EDT (US)     85 / 121       
Wonderful updates LoH. I had a feeling that Barbatio would become a thorn in Julian's side and my suspicions have proven true. I hope Julian will continue to out-think that pompous ass and also take vengeance for all the innocent Romans slain by Serapio and his comrades.

"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 04-09-13 12:00 PM EDT (US)     86 / 121       
Thanks for the kind replies, everyone. They do mean a lot and spur me on when writer's block becomes a barrier.
Wonderful updates LoH. I had a feeling that Barbatio would become a thorn in Julian's side and my suspicions have proven true. I hope Julian will continue to out-think that pompous ass and also take vengeance for all the innocent Romans slain by Serapio and his comrades.
Let us see if that is true in the next chapter, DU!

*****

Serapio looked from the edge of the forest among his household warriors with disdain etched on his face. So the rumours are true! The Roman beast awakens from its slumber and begins to move onto our lands. He could see the waves of columns march along the road, which were easily recognisable by the dust trails, supported by cavalry that screened the flanks and patrolled the area ahead.

From the standards he could see they were not of the young general Julian but of the far larger army that lay to the south of Argentoratum. Despite the Romans being so near to their lands the young co-king and his uncle knew this day would come and had planned accordingly for it. Argentoratum had been abandoned at once under Chnodomarius’ orders with whatever contents of value seized or destroyed if immovable.

“What of our people that reside on the west bank?” he asked Halric.

“Retreated across the river and scorched whatever value there is of the land they once called home – just as your uncle ordered,” he replied. “Many reside within the islands along the river, my reges!” Serapio nodded happily at seeing his uncle’s orders being followed to the letter. We will make their stay here as uncomfortable as possible.

“What are your orders?” asked one of Serapio’s warriors.

“Scorch whatever is of value and construct numerous barricades so to stall them as they try to walk through our lands. Bring your sword and axe onto the trees and have them fall upon the roads and paths. It will give time for us to slip across the river and prepare for battle,”

“Have us cross the Rhine like frightened children?” Halric enquired to Serapio's instructions. “Is that wise?”

“Our full army among the confederation is not gathered!” Serapio retorted angrily. “If we fly upon their ranks scattered and broken then we will be slain where we stand. But across the river we can reform and wait till the time is right. And then we shall fall upon them all! Have patience, Halric. Have patience,” Though Serapio’s deputy looked unconvinced he nodded in reply. The young king decided he had seen enough of the Romans and headed into the forest towards the Rhine where they would cross to the east bank and bide their time.

*****

Julian looked on impatiently when seeing several felled trees blocking the road his army were using.

“By Caesar’s spear these barbarians show their cowardice!” he said angrily. “Instead of offering battle so to defend their lands they seek to run away, torch their lands and plant barriers in my way,” It had been a frustrating few days, as Julian headed deep within Alsace while Barbatio to his right had marched north from Augusta Raucoroum towards Argentoratum. The several barriers encountered by Julian since he had set out from Durocorturum merely dampened his mood. His objective was clear: keep them within Alsace long enough for Barbatio and the Augustus come to close the trap so to destroy them. Allowing them to slip away across the Rhine would not please his Augustus.

“How long will it take to move these fallen trees?” the general asked Ammianus.

“A hour or two,” came the reply to which Julian growled before turning to Severus.

“Take a detachment of two thousand men. Move to the east so you are on my right flank and Barbatio’s left. I would have you march to Saverne where you can cause havoc and also aid Barbatio in his sector if you can,” he instructed his second in command. “Moreover, make sure to send a messenger to Barbatio as well. I would ask that he lend me seven river barges that were given to his army by Constantius so a bridge could be constructed in the event the Rhine were to be crossed,”

“Yes, Caesar,” nodded Severus. “But what shall I say you need it for just in case Barbatio enquires?”

“From what I have found in Alsace and the deserted villages we have crossed it is likely there are very few Alamanni residing on the western bank,” Julian explained. “Therefore, there are two places those barbarians could have taken refuge. Either across the river on the east bank where they bide their time or along the small islands that sit within the Rhine. I think the likeliest option is the latter hence why I need those barges. So make sure to ride with great haste and bring me back those river barges, Severus!” The Magister acknowledged his Caesar and just as the last of the Alamanni barriers were being breached did Severus lead his column to the east. As he saw them gallop away over a small ridge were Julian’s eyes moved to the arrival of his quartermaster on horseback.

“You summoned me, Caesar?” he asked after saluting.

“I did, Florentius!” Caesar nodded while trying to calm his horse. “I want to know our supply situation, as with each passing day we move further from our lands into hostile territory, our supply lines get slightly tenuous and our baggage train becomes less full after feeding the numerous bellies of our army,”

“The supplies are holding steady, Caesar!” Florentius answered assuredly. “I made sure to keep a food reserve with extra supplies forwarded in from Augustodunum. The convoy are making their way along the road and will reach us within the next few days. The supplies in that convoy would last the army for an extra two weeks and that reserve should help us should anything go wrong. Not that it will go pear-shaped under your leadership, Caesar. I thought just as its good to keep an reserve in times of battle its good to keep one in terms of supply,” Julian stayed quiet to Florentius’ worry before bursting out with laughter to which his retinue then joined in.

“That is why you are praetorian prefect and is held in high regard among Augustus himself!” Julian complimentary exclaimed to which brought a nod of gratitude from Florentius. “Very well, prefect. Tend to your administrative and supply duties amongst the baggage train where you do good work!” Florentius saluted before galloping away to the rear of the army. Julian turned to his retinue still smiling before looking at the barriers the Alamanni had placed.

“Though we are being stopped by Alamanni cowardliness at least Florentius will make sure our army will not go hungry!” he joked to which the retinue laughed jovially. Despite Julian’s humour he was still worried about whether Barbatio would give him the barges. If he refuses my request then at least I will know the true intentions of this noble and what he really seeks!

*****

Barbatio looked at the letter given to him with some worry. His face turned to the messenger that had rode to Barbatio under orders from Severus.

“So Julian is to the east, or even northeast of Argenoratum, within touching distance of the Rhine while I am to the south of the barbarian stronghold?” Barbatio mused to himself. The letter he had received had thrown him off his usual cocksure demeanour and turned him to a man uncertain of his surroundings. The letter had said Severus’ detachment was near the abandoned fortress of Saverne about seven leagues to the east of Argentoratum. The Magister was aware that Saverne was just off the Divodurum-Argentoratum highway. He now knew why Severus was there: as a detachment to scout the area before the arrival of Julian’s comitatus!

“Of course!” Barbatio thought to himself. “That would explain the request in the letter by Julian to lend him my river barges! So that he could cross the Rhine first with those barges and take all the glory. Well, that is not going to happen, so help me God! He addressed the messenger who now stood to attention in the thought he had finished reading the letter.

“Tell Severus that I decline his Caesar’s request to lend him the river barges,” he told the messenger. “I need them more,”

“But Magister my Caesar needs those barges if he is to cross-”

“I do not care!” Barbatio exploded angrily. “Tell him he is to cross the Rhine himself! I have my own orders from Augustus and that is to destroy the Alamanni to the point they are no longer a threat to Gaul and Rome,”

“Magister, I do not-”

“Speak further and I will have you executed!” Barbatio roared viciously feeling insulted his authority be questioned. “I would have your manhood be severed and sent in a pouch to your mother should you not leave my encampment now and head to Saverne so to tell your Caesar my reply. Leave or I will carry out my threat at once by the sword I have sheathed within my scabbard!” The messenger could see within Barbatio’s eyes that he meant every word and felt it wise to leave. As the messenger left Barbatio’s anger simmered, as his hate for Julian grew to new heights. After calming himself down he was quick to summon his chief of staff Cella who had been a loyal obedient servant to the general.

“I have two things for you to carry out, Cella!” Barbatio ordered with conviction.

“Name them and they shall be done!” the chief of staff obeyed.

“Firstly, have every single river barge in our possession burnt!” Barbatio instructed with malice in his voice. “Secondly, those supply convoys earmarked with grain from Gaul. I seem to remember they are headed to Julian’s army?”

“They are,” nodded Cella who seemed surprised at Barbatio ordering the destruction of the river barges. “As we speak they set out from Augustodunum stocked with grain,” Barbatio smiled at that revelation.

“Then have a vexillatio of cavalry intercept it and have it destroyed too! When that is done we shall march on Argentoratum before crossing the Rhine!”

*****

“This cannot be!” Julian roared in distress when reading Severus’ report merely a week after the young Caesar had sent his second in command eastwards. In that time Julian’s army had marched slowly to the Rhine making sure they were not ambushed.

“What is it?” Mahar enquired feeling anxious at Julian's distressing roar, as did most of the retinue sat within Julian’s tent. The Caesar handed the cataphract commander the scroll for him to read.

“It seems that Severus managed to find out Barbatio’ true intentions!” the young general bitterly explained to the horror of the senior officers as they read the contents of the scroll. “Barbatio has not only refused my request to use his river barges but from what Severus has heard from loose lips within Barbatio's encampment they have been burned!

Moreover, Florentius’ convoy of supplies were set upon at night near Decem Pagi. It was set alight with all the grain destroyed. Severus’ wrote that those limetani guarding it were all killed but one who managed to escape. The man swore unto God the assailants were cavalry that bore Roman colours. There is but one man who would have ordered this: Barbatio.

“By god!” Ammianus said in shock. “The man hamstrings us more effectively than the barbarians. We must write to the emperor informing him of his dealings and have him arrested for treason!” Roars of agreements rippled from within the tent.

“That is exactly what he wants me to do!” Julian shook his head. “It would play into his trap that I was giving excuses and by doing so let the barbarians cross the river than doing the Augustus’ bidding: eliminating the barbarian threat,”

“Then what are we to do?” wondered Bainobaudes. “And what of Severus?”

“We fight on!” Julian replied determinedly. “We head to the Rhine and find a way to cross the river towards those islands. Unlike last summer I want this year’s campaigning season to be a total success and have the Alamanni hit hard to the extent they accept Rome as their master! As for Severus his division will stay in Saverne, as I have a purpose for that fortress," As Julian looked to his officers he saw they had an undying loyalty to him and would follow him as the legionnaires once did Julius Caesar beyond the Rubicon. He could see things had changed greatly for him since he arrived in Gaul merely eighteen months ago as a man with no military experience whatsoever.

"Men, it looks like this army is on our own now that Barbatio has sought to end this tactic of a pincer movement upon the barbarians," he spoke solemnly. "But I know that you men are honourable and by holding your oaths to your Caesar and Augustus will smite the Alamanni from within the lands claimed under the banner of Rome. May we be blessed by Rome!” The officers in turn saluted their Caesar.

“And in turn let us bless Rome!”

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 04-09-13 11:05 PM EDT (US)     87 / 121       
Good chapter LoH. Putting the empire's northern territories at risk by sabotaging Julian's campaign out of petty jealousy and a flawed sense of superiority... Barbatio truly is the worst kind of leader

"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
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 04-10-13 00:49 AM EDT (US)     88 / 121       
Very nice. The Roman noble is true to form- working against the leader to promote oneself and to hell with Rome itself. Well portrayed!

I love the way you switch from one view to another to let us know what is going through the minds of all players, to see their actions and reactions through the glass of their own experiences. Well done!

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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

[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 04-10-2013 @ 00:54 AM).]

Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 04-10-13 04:03 PM EDT (US)     89 / 121       
You will see Barbatio's actions knows no bounds!

*****

Throughout the early July evening the road to Argentoratum was filled with the sounds of sandals and hooves clattering along the stony road. Barbatio’s army marched north along the highway to Argentoratum in high spirits. Since moving out of their encampment at Augusta Rauracoroum a few weeks ago the army of Barbatio had seen no barbarians whatsoever. The villages they had traversed were deserted and no life walked the settlements the Romans searched.

Barbatio felt fortunate that the Augustus allowed him to command a army of such numbers. At the front of his army, which marched in column formation, lay the regiments of the auxiliaries, which numbered up to five thousand men. Behind them were the six legions that numbered twelve thousand men overall. To the rear protecting the baggage train and keeping watch on the flanks of the column were the cavalry, which were three thousand strong.

The cavalry under Barbatio differed from lightly armed horsemen to those that wore mail armour making them look splendid in battle or when riding at full gallop along an open field. The five thousand men that made up the rest of the comitatus consisted of non-combatants. These were labourers that helped the soldiers construct either fortifications or encampments. Their tools they used to build such things were placed in the baggage train or among their pack animals.

As Barbatio gazed at his army he knew that though it looked intimidating at first view the vast majority of them were inexperienced. Only the officers had seen much fighting and it was they that Barbatio had hoped would give his green comitatenses extra training while encamped at night. Barbatio’s thoughts soon turned to the sky before turning to his infantry commander Seppius that rode among his retinue.

“We are under five leagues or so from Argentoratum, are we not?" Barbatio asked.

“We are, Magister,” Seppius replied. “The men have been marching since first light,”

“The day grows late,” Barbatio mused before coming to his decision when seeing a wide expanse of land to the right of the road. “Let us encamp there for the night. It is open ground and enough for an army to rest,” Seppius looked ominously at Barbatio’s suggestion. There were several reasons why he thought it would not be wise to do so.

To the west of the supposed camp were dips, which from the supposed camp would block a person’s line of sight. To the east were tall grass that could hide a significant amount of men. Moreover, to the north was dense woodland where barbarians loved to launch ambushes, as Varus found out to his cost at Teutoberger Wald. Seppius would normally air these objections but knew Barbatio was a man who disliked counsel that did not match his views. He had seen his wrath invoked upon others with devastating execution and felt it better not to argue.

“A wise decision, Magister,” Seppius answered Barbatio’s suggestion with praise. “I will see the soldiers and labourers be put to construct the camp. Once it is done then pickets and sentries shall be made to patrol the area,” Barbatio nodded in acknowledgement with orders soon relayed to the army to halt and construct the camp. Within two hours, as the sun began to set, was the camp ready, pickets along with sentries placed and on guard. Inside the castra soldiers ate the dinner they cooked while within his tent Barbatio prepared to sleep: ready for tomorrow where he envisioned glory bestowed upon him for capturing the stronghold of Argentoratum.

However, unbeknownst to the Roman comitatus, the Alamanni knew exactly where Barbatio’s army were. Chnodomarius had ordered Dunwix, the younger brother of Gunved, to avenge his sibling’s death by entrusting him with an army of seven thousand warriors. These men had made up the garrison of Argentoratum before abandoning the west bank and crossing the river.

However, the tribal king had decided to send the army across the river, mainly doing so when finding out from scouts that the two Roman armies had split. Julian had headed towards the Rhine to the northeast of Argentoratum while the second larger Roman army was marching along the road to the city itself. It was the large army commanded by Barbatio that Chnodomarius was interested in. As Dunwix looked at the Roman castra to the north from within the forest the strong muscled noble remembered the words of his king. Cause havoc and avenge your brother Gunved!

“Are the men in position?” he asked gruffly to his fellow noble Rangix.

“They are,” the one eyed warrior replied. “My men are to the east. Arminus is to the west and ready to strike when given the signal,” Dunwix looked to the sky and saw the horizon turn red with the setting of the sun to which he grinned. A red dawn appears. A good omen for us meaning that blood will be split this night.

*****

Lucullus patrolled the outer perimeter outside the walls of the castra along the pickets to the east of the encampment The man knew he and several others had picked the short straw among his legion, as they had been selected to go on guard duty outside the castra. The only bright spot for Lucullus was that the camp hadn’t any walls, as Barbatio felt it unnecessary feeling the wood would be better used to build siege equipment once they besieged Argentoratum.

“No walls mean they will feel the chill tonight when they sleep within their tents as do I out here!” he chuckled to himself. As Lucullus walked past a fellow soldier by the name of Marius Lucullus was called by his centurion: put in charge of the fifty men selected to patrol the area up to a thousand paces to the east of the castrum up to where there was a wide expanse of tall grass.

“I am going to head into the camp and find the cook so he can give us what’s left of the food for us to eat while we keep guard throughout the night,” the burly centurion spoke, as night now arrived.

“Make sure to give us some bread so to ease the pain of eating the mess our good cook makes this time!” Lucullus quipped. “And try and get some wine for young Marius. He is spending so much time near the tall grass I wonder if he has a courtesan hiding there. So make sure to give him wine so to entertain his guest!”

“I’ll see what I can find!” the centurion chuckled before walking to the castrum. Lucullus then turned around and walked towards the tall grass so to find Marius to tell him the good news they were to be given food. However, the young soldier was nowhere to be seen.

“Marius!” he shouted. “Where are you?” No reply came to Lucullus’ words. The soldier then looked to the tall grass adjacent to him and wondered if he was there. Lucullus could see the grass was up to waist height and in some places could ran up to his shoulder. You could hide an army in there! he mused. As the Roman walked into the tall grass he wondered what Marius was doing instead of keeping watch. However, as he delved further, he was stopped in his tracks when seeing what he thought was blood splatter upon the grass. He drew his sword and investigated further. A few moments later, as he brushed aside the grass that stroked his face, his worries were confirmed.

The last moments of Lucullus were that of seeing the body of Marius with his neck severed and a heavily clad barbarian come from within the grass to delve his sword deep into his heart. Lucullus tried to scream but the barbarian’s hand quickly covered his mouth, as life ebbed away from the Roman and fell to the hard ground. As he lay dead the ragged man lowly whistled and within the grass his warband appeared.

“Ready your weapons and prepare to wreak havoc!” he hissed to which he then held the horn slung around his arm. With an intake of breath he blew one note that was then followed by several others. The sound of horns from the east immediately threw the Romans in and out of the castra into a panic, as they knew that was not the sound of a Roman horn. Their fears were soon shown where several hundred men came from within the grass bearing their axes, spears and swords with great ferocity. Their charge shook the ground, as if they were cavalry, enough to scare those soldiers manning the pickets and sentries.

“Pull back to the encampment!” screamed one of the soldiers hereby inducing panic among the sentries. Those that had been in close proximity to the tall grass were swamped by the arriving barbarians and were cut down where they stood. Seppius opened the tent flaps so to see what caused consternation within the encampment and was horrified to see several hundred barbarians approach from the east. He saw a tribune head to where the Alamanni were arriving from and motioned him to come.

“Sound the cornicerns!” Seppius ordered the tribune. “Have men sent to the east and hold the line!” While Seppius went back to his tent so to don his armour and pick up his sword the cornicerns sounded the alarm beckoning the comitatenses to fight. Barbatio came out of his tent and too was alarmed to see Alamanni banners approach the encampment. The Magister saw Seppius on horseback and when seeing Barbatio rode towards him before saluting his commander.

“Magister, I have sent half the auxiliaries and half of the legions to the east so to deal with this threat,” he explained the situation. “The archers are in reserve along with the other half of the legions. May I ask what are your orders?”

“Deal with the threat to the east,” Barbatio instructed. “I will take command of the reserves once I have my horse fetched to me and my armour donned,” Seppius nodded and galloped to the east where both sides had begun fighting. After Barbatio was dressed and armed he galloped to the centre of the castra where the reserves that the Magister was to command were placed. Many looked surprised at what was happening with some donning worried looks.

“Do not be afraid!” Barbatio shouted so to silence any signs of defeatism within the ranks. “You will fight and stand here like proud Romans. I will make sure-” Barbatio’s rousing if not temperamental words were soon interrupted by the sounding of more horns but did not come from the east but the west. As Barbatio along with his men looked to where the horns were coming from the ground began to tremble slightly. Barbatio could see bits of pebble move ever so slightly and soon knew what was coming. He then turned to his officers that stood among the rank and file soldiers.

“All tribunes move their units into formation outside the western edge of the camp!” he roared. “Though the inexperienced soldiers did not know what was afoot the battle hardened tribunes were aware and marshalled their men at quick pace to take up position. To Barbatio’s relief they had managed to get the men in position quickly deployed in two lines. The first line consisted of the auxiliaries, which heralded from Gaul, whom Barbatio felt were half-bred swine and expendable. In the second line was three of his main fighting force: the legions.

Barbatio waited patiently on horseback with his trusted servant Cella. Ahead of the hastily assembled Roman detachment was a large dip that obscured their view. However, the trembling soon got louder, as Roman soldiers looked on worryingly at what they were going to face. They soon got their answer, as their foe came into view, as hundreds of cavalry along with warriors arrived from the dip with the horsemen in front and the warriors behind. Barbatio took an intake of breath at what his eyes saw.

“Stand firm!” he shouted, as the auxiliaries lowered their spears. Though the auxiliaries were spread out in a thin line of six ranks Barbatio knew that spear always defeated horse and was confident the auxiliaries would pin them before advancing his legions to mop them up. However, Barbatio underestimated the rigidity of military maxim, as well as the courage of Gallic auxiliaries: notably those that were inexperienced. Several within the ranks looked on terrified at seeing the intimidating sight of Alamanni spears and swords lowered towards them. As they neared ever closer the Roman tribune commanding the Gallic auxiliary drew his sword.

“First two lines prepare to kneel and to refuse their cavalry!” he roared. The order was implemented and the first two lines did what was asked. However, some of the young recruits did not do this properly. Normally, a spear was to face at a slanted angle, so that the spear would pierce the horse and throw off its rider. Some were pointing it almost vertically and some near horizontally. The results were those few who did it correctly managed to wound the horse so severely it threw off its rider.

But for the majority of the first two lines that did it incorrectly the cavalrymen simply used their sword or spear to cut off or deflect the auxiliaries’ spears while their horses slammed into them with devastating impact. Men were thrown off their feet and trampled upon the hooves of the horses. Those at the rear who saw their friends be thrown about at a whim fled and soon the whole Gallic auxiliary did the same.

“By the shield of Marcellus!” Barbatio screeched. “These cowards don’t know how to refuse cavalry with spear? Have the legions advance before we are undone, Cella!” Cella nodded and relayed the orders to those tribunes commanding the legions. Soon enough the legions marched forward and met the influx of cavalry, Alamanni and retreating Gallic auxiliary with ferocity. While the Alamanni cavalry were quick to withdraw the infantry made sure to vent their hatred at their accursed Roman foes.

No quarter was given on either side, as men frequently fell to their deaths at the hands of a Roman or Alamanni sword and spear. Barbatio looked on edgily with the fight in the balance with both sides evenly marched. However, the Magister heard the sounds of yet more Alamanni horns. At first he thought it be a fruitless ploy to try and rally their men while under the cosh of Roman steel. But he soon saw the arrival of Seppius on horseback looking severely troubled.

“What’s wrong?” Barbatio asked nervously. “Have the Alamanni broken through?”

“No,” he shook his head before pointing to the north. “No, something far worse has happened. “Hundreds or even several thousand barbarians have appeared from within the forest to the north heading here as I speak. Barbatio, I have no reserves whatsoever to meet them. I have committed all my strength to holding the tide in the east and even so I am barely fending them off! We are surrounded!”

“My God!” Barbatio whispered before realizing Seppius’ last comment was untrue. “The south! There are no barbarians along the road whence we came from before we made camp here! We shall retreat at once. Cella, have the cornicerns sound a full withdrawal!” At once under the din of battle the cornicerns sounded the retreat. Seppius turned to his Magister who prepared to flee south.

“I cannot abandon my men!” he protested angrily at Barbatio’s insistence that they flee instead of standing their ground. “To leave them here while you head south is akin to treason!” Barbatio’s eyes flashed at that comment.

“Were it not for the Alamanni at our doorstep I would have you slain!” he sneered. “If you wish to stay here then that is your wish. I would rather leave and live another day!” With that did Barbatio and his retinue gallop within the camp before veering south in search for safety. As the Magister turned around he saw the waves of barbarians entering the camp from the north with ease, as they set fire to anything of value. Barbatio did not care for he was alive and that was all that mattered.

Within the castra chaos ensued, as the night was lit with the burning of flame, while the Alamanni gorged upon slaughter of those Roman soldiers trapped within the camp and were unable to flee south before Dunwix sealed the open road south. As all the Roman soldiers encircled were put to death Dunwix looked at the booty his men collected. There were numerous supplies to feed his men along with weapons and vast amounts of treasure. As Dunwix looked around to see the Roman encampment burn brightly he saw Rangix arrive to which they embraced joyfully at this victory.

“What are our losses?” Dunwix asked.

“A thousand men including the loss of Arminus,” Rangix spoke that caused Dunwix to wince. “But in return five times the number of our dead have been inflicted onto the Romans. Moreover, most of the labourers in their army have been captured, meaning more slaves. When we cross the Rhine I am sure what we have achieved will please Chnodomarius and many other nobles!” Dunwix smiled at Rangix’s boast.

“I am sure it will,” he replied. “And cause angst among many mothers of Rome,” Dunwix looked to the sky and then thought of his brother Gunved when seeing the stacks of Roman dead piled atop one another.

Brother, may you rest in the afterlife become calmer, as your death is now avenged!

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 04-11-2013 @ 08:07 AM).]

Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 04-11-13 06:14 AM EDT (US)     90 / 121       
A few spelling and grammatical mistakes, but nothing to detract from the thrilling action and well-played battle.

Do we get to read about Barbatio on a crucifix soon?

|||||||||||||||| 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 04-11-13 07:43 AM EDT (US)     91 / 121       
I concur with Terikel's post. A few errors here and there, but nothing serious enough to tarnish the story.

A good update LoH, and I hope Barbatio gets what's coming to him.

"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 04-11-13 08:07 AM EDT (US)     92 / 121       
We will see what happens to Barbatio in the near future.

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.
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 04-22-13 04:39 PM EDT (US)     93 / 121       
*****

Julian ran out of his tent wondering what was causing the loud consternation among his soldiers within the castra. The general could see many soldiers’ attentions were gazed to the gate. As the soldiers lay eyes upon their Caesar they saluted and made a path for him to walk upon. It allowed Julian could see what had made his soldiers whistle and howl with delight. Entering the camp were the figures of Hariobaudes and his scouts who presented two bounded men whose hair was shaggy and their appearance scruffy.

“Caesar, I present to you these scouts,” the tribune proclaimed, as he pointed to the scouts whose heads were bowed. “We found them while patrolling the fields near the Rhine. No doubt their masters ordered them to keep eyes on us and it is a task they have failed miserably,” Julian could see many bruises upon their faces and quickly realized Hariobaudes’ men had been rough with them on the way back to the camp.

“You have done well,” Julian praised his tribune to which Hariobaudes bowed happily. “Hariobaudes, accompany these prisoners to my tent wherein I shall acquire your help interrogating them. Moreover, summon Ammianus and Bainobaudes. I would have their advice should these scouts say anything,”

The Germanic tribune nodded respectfully and motioned his soldiers to escort the prisoners to the Caesar’s tent. As Julian, Ammianus, Hariobaudes and a few guards entered the tent were the two prisoners bundled in. Hariobaudes gave a nod and the two soldiers kicked them at the back of their leg so to force them on their knees. Julian intently gazed at the two Alamanni scouts and saw they were both young men barely able to hold sword.

“Hariobaudes, act as translator for me,” Julian ordered. “Ask them where is the whereabouts of the main Alamanni army and of their numbers to the east of the Rhine,” The tribune turned to the two scouts.

“Aufenthaltsort ist das wichtigste Alamanni armee auf der anderen seite des Rheins?” Hariobaudes barked angrily so to intimidate them.

“Ich weiß es nicht!” the first Alamanni scout cried out. Hariobaudes stared at them before turning to Julian.

“They don’t know,” he replied. “From the look in their eyes and faces they look as if they are telling the truth,” The Caesar sighed knowing he needed information out of them if his campaign was to be a success. Julian decided to try a different method.

“Ask them about when can the Rhine be forded during the summer,” he asked Hariobaudes. “Add if they speak the truth then I swear to the gods their lives shall be spared,” The German tribune nodded and addressed the question to the prisoners. After Hariobaudes spoke the two scouts looked up to Julian before speaking.

“They ask do you swear it?” Hariobaudes translated. The Caesar nodded with the scouts seeing Julian was being genuine. They soon started to talk, which caused Hariobaudes’ face to change, as the scouts began to confide to him.

“They say along certain parts of the river it can!” the tribune exclaimed. “That is how they were able to cross undetected. The area where they were picked up is fordable,” Julian turned to his officers.

“Send riders to the area at once,” he instructed to Bainobaudes and Ammianus. Both of them nodded before heading out of the tent.

“What shall I do with the prisoners?” Hariobaudes asked his Caesar. Julian turned to them before looking at his tribune.

“Execute them. If they are set free they will likely warn their friends,” he said without a hint of emotion. Though I swore they would be harmed I swore to the pagan gods abolished under Constantine. Hariobaudes nodded and beckoned the guard in the tent to him. As Julian left the tent and within a few moments there were two loud screams that brought about a smile from the young Caesar. Though Julian winced at desecrating the gods he secretly followed he felt his good deeds in the past would bring him bad luck in the future. That was shown a few hours later when Bainobaudes arrived at the camp on horseback at the arrival of sunset with his face showing he had news.

“The river is indeed fordable just like the scouts foretold!” he exclaimed. “Shallow in parts so to swim in and not risk drowning. In the distance I can see the islands where the barbarians take shelter,” Julian nodded in satisfaction at this news and how things were turning in his favour.

“Then take your Cornuti and strike upon those islands!” he ordered. The tribune saluted before galloping to the tents within the camp where the Cornuti resided. Julian turned to the sky and closed his eyes. May the gods bless Bainobaudes’ men for they will need it! he prayed to the gods secretly so not to risk charges of treason in practising the pagan gods that had been abolished by Constantine The Great.

*****

As night descended upon the Rhine life basked in the islands that resided within the flowing river, as its inhabitants whether man, woman or child sang tales or feasted upon food. Upon the stony pebbles that previously lay wet with the tide were men of the Alamanni gorging upon food or having their way with women of questionable morality. Yet upon the Rhine lay shadows within the river, as Bainobaudes and his men of the Cornuti auxiliary made their way to the island, their minds set on murder.

With swords sheathed and shields placed on their back they swam upon the fordable parts of the Rhine. Bainobaudes gurgled while wading through the water hoping his men would not get detected. As the island became ever closer the water started to get deeper though his mind lay at ease despite the water in places beginning to reach up to his neck. He remembered the words of his men who served under him who before fighting in the auxiliary had lived in lands next to the sea.

Use a shield as a float in parts of the river that are too deep to swim in. Bainobaudes had used those words to his men and now saw them come to fruition. The shields served as a good floating device allowing them to traverse the river. The tribune smiled and remembered to reward his men ravishingly afterwards for the ingenious idea given to him.

With their shields used as floats they edged closer to the island and saw the signs of life within newly built encampments further inland. Each man in the Cornuti knew their orders: silence the men standing guard upon the beach and head inland. The Alamanni warriors patrolling the beach had no idea what hit them mainly because they were drunk.

Some had deserted their post so to cavort with the womenfolk inside the encampment. Those who had decided to walk along the beach were quickly silenced with a knife in their back or their throats slashed. As the wet auxiliaries met under Bainbobaudes’ signal the tribune nodded happily at seeing all of his men still lay alive.

“Let us head inland and show these barbarians what the men of the Cornuti can do!” he hissed. With determination etched in their faces they marched ever deeper into the island to carry out their Caesar’s will.

Inside the encampment the atmosphere was one of joyous celebration. The men who participated in the raids of the Rhone valley under Serapio’s raiding packs had been rewarded. Chnodomarius and Serapio made sure their prize was truly generous: a sizeable split of the large booty captured and a long rest within the islands.

Their reward had pleased them, as they knew the women who evacuated the west bank had taken shelter there also. Throughout the night those men made sure they would feast upon food and drink. Many of those warriors danced with the women eager to engage in other lurid activities once tiredness crept in.

However, the celebrations within the encampment were pierced by the shrill scream of a young blonde woman, who looked down to see a spear protruding from her chest and blood spurting out. As she fell to the ground the figure of Bainobaudes appeared behind her smiling before drawing his sword and pointing menacingly towards the stunned warriors and womenfolk.

"Ihr Untergang ist nae!" he roared in his native tongue to the bewildered Alamanni before turning his head around. “Come, men of the Cornuti. Let us show them a world where they will find merely blood, death and suffering!” Within the vegetation where Bainobaudes appeared did the auxiliaries come into view with weapons ready and their war cries at feverous pitch. They charged towards their foe and before the Alamanni could stand up and fight they were killed where they stood. Men, women and children had little chance of evading the murderous grasps of the Cornuti.

Bainobaudes took great pleasure in taking revenge, as he fell his sword upon the head of a defenceless woman, with her face split into two. Throughout the island Bainobaudes’ murderous rampage swept across the encampments the Cornuti encountered. No Alamanni was spared and for good reason, as in each encampment they stormed were gold, along with riches of great worth. When all within the island lay dead the bloodied soliders of the Cornuti began to look at the gold with such interest along with Bainobaudes.

“The size of the gold here is as large as my manhood!” exclaimed Duxos.

“I did not know you constituted the amount of gold here so miniscule,” joked Viaratus much to Duxos’ anger.

“Speak further and see your tongue removed!” came the reply to which they turned to each other ready to exchange blows.

“Hold tongues or have them lost under my sword!” Bainobaudes bellowed.

“Apologies,” Duxos and Viaratus bowed in unison.

“See that this bickering does not happen again,” the tribune instructed before turning to his second in command Arrius - a man whose nobility harked back to the days when Rome felt the Samnites a threat greater than the wrath of the gods.

“Send a century of men to scour the island so to sweep the area of those barbarians that still live or hide within these islands,” Bainobaudes ordered. “Find any craft able to traverse the island so we can transport these riches to Caesar along with the casualties that we sustained. I do not wish to swim within the cold river again,”

“It shall be done,” Arrius nodded. After a short while the officer returned with the century of men.

“Tribune, the men report no Alamanni live within these islands,” he replied. “They also say there are several small boats to the north of here lying along the beach,”

“A most welcome find!” Bainobaudes exclaimed. “Those must have belonged to the barbarians hence how they were able to cross the river. Let us put our plunder onto these boats and head home. Our task here is done,”

And so under the din of night the Cornuti auxiliary rowed upon the small crafts towards their castra. Despite a few boats lost to unseen wild currents, which led to part of the treasure being lost, the mood among the auxilaries were high. Throughout the next few nights Bainobaudes’ Cornuti, along with other auxiliary units went to islands that were within reach, continuing their murderous blood letting with more Alamanni massacred under Roman steel.

By the end of the week leading to the last days of July a dispatch rider entered Julian’s camp with a scroll bearing news from scouts he had placed so to scan the east bank. As the Caesar read the letter he chuckled heartily with what it said.

The barbarians are startled at your display of murderous force, Caesar. So much so they have evacuated the islands altogether and reside on the east bank. They now understand the cost of raiding Rome's lands causing brutal desecration and murdering innocent citizens!


Julian was pleased at what his attack on the islands had achieved knowing it would give his army a boost in morale especially after hearing of Barbatio’s defeat at the hands of an Alamanni ambush. The Caesar was unsurprised though when hearing the Magister had decided to head towards Italy instead of making his way towards his castra so to bolster Julian's numbers that overall were less than fifteen thousand men. He mused to himself thinking the purpose of Barbatio's move.

He does this so to try to conspire against me in the court of Constantius. He may try but in leaving Gaul Barbatio presents me with opportunity to gain glory beneath the scores of Alamanni dead. Barbatio will then be discredited and fallen out of favour within the court and my victory will earn me the Augustus’ gratitude! And what better way to start by destroying the Alamanni! Whether it be this summer or next I will cross the Rhine once enough grain be raised to feed my army.

The Alamanni will fall and once again the lands east of the Rhine will bow to Rome!

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 04-23-2013 @ 12:02 PM).]

Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 04-23-13 06:05 AM EDT (US)     94 / 121       
Bloody and good.

Nice trick with the religious bit- it brings back into the forefront of memory that this Julian is the same guy who tried to remove the oppression of the old ways in the face of Christian persecution.

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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 04-23-13 09:25 AM EDT (US)     95 / 121       
Thank you. I wanted to show Julian still revered the old pagan ways despite it being the age of Christianity.

Moreover, I wonder if me my writing in German good?

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 04-23-13 11:48 AM EDT (US)     96 / 121       
A good chapter LoH. I'm starting to see a few hints of Spartacus in your latest updates

Just one error I'd like to point out:
“Hariobaudes, act as translator for me,” Julian ordered. “Tell them where is the whereabouts of the main Alamanni army and of their numbers to the east of the Rhine,”
Shouldn't Julian have told Hariobaudes to ask them about the Alamanni army instead of telling them about it?

"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 04-23-13 12:01 PM EDT (US)     97 / 121       
Yes, Spartacus has helped me to improve my vocabulary, thus help the dialogue flow much better.

And I have acted upon the slight mistake you pointed out.

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.
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 04-24-13 12:19 PM EDT (US)     98 / 121       
The coming storm approaches.

*****

As the month of August arrived the lands of Alsace west of the Rhine teemed with activity. For the last week Julian had sent his laborers to restore and reoccupy posts along the frontier. Julian knew these decrepit forts had to be restored, which lay ruined after the barbarians crossed the Rhine in force during the Roman civil wars.

After developing several of these frontier posts to the east and north of Augusta Treverorum the young Caesar then marched his army south towards Saverne. Upon reaching it the young general smiled when seeing the unmistakeable figure of Severus. The infantry commander was hard at work imploring the two thousand men entrusted to him by the Caesar to keep on their guard and not slack like Barbatio.

“Hail, Severus!” bellowed Julian. The Magister turned around and smiled when seeing his imperator on horseback gallop to him. As they saluted one each other the comitatus of Gaul prepared to rest after their hard march from Augusta Treverorum.

“How fares Caesar?” Severus exclaimed. “I heard of your attack upon the islands within the Rhine. I am sure the Alamanni will be now fully aware of your ability and will think twice before attacking the comitatus,”

“I fare well and the Alamanni will think twice,” Julian nodded. “They flee the west bank of the Rhine and vacated the islands after those raids. Moreover, the lands those barbarians evacuated prove rich in gold not to mention in food. Florentius informed me the lands captured on the west bank are ripe for harvest, which means once cultivated will give sufficient provisions to feed my army for twenty days,”

“I am pleased at this unexpectedly good news,” Severus smiled. “It will help our supply situation especially after Barbatio destroyed our grain reserves,”

“Do not speak of that heretic,” Julian growled when hearing his name. “Last I heard he fled into Italy via the lands of Raetia after being so rudely handled by the barbarians. I am sure he seeks to flee to the court of Constatius so to conspire against me. That man would drop his trousers and happily bend over those within the court who seek my downfall if it meant poisoning Constantius’ mind against me. But I am sure his defeat and subsequent flight to Italia will not please our Augustus. However, let us turn to other matters of pressing concern, Severus. Report on what has happened here in Saverne while I have attended to the frontier,”

“The fort is being constructed as you ordered and is nearing its completion,” explained the infantry commander. “I have sent scouts to patrol the surrounding area as far as to the river but so far have found nothing of concern,”

“I am pleased that you have made such progress with the fort,” Julian nodded in acknowledgment of his Magister’s report while looking at the fortress being constructed before turning to Severus. “I shall build my camp to the west of here and stay here till the fort is completed and garrisoned. The comitatus has marched many leagues these few weeks so to restore order to Alsace and the frontier. It has been too long since that has happened, Severus. Too long. I would see it stay that way,”

*****

Chnodomarius was a confident man. Despite wincing when hearing of the murderous raids upon the islands where the Romans gave no quarter, which caused him to order its evacuation, the strapping warrior king felt confident the gods still favoured his people. The defeat of the large Roman army upon the southern road to Argentoratum had brought renewed vigor to him and his men. The amount of supplies, plunder and men seized meant it would offset the Roman capture crops on the west bank of the Rhine that awaited harvest.

As he stood in his tent peering at a drawn map of the lands on both sides of the Rhine he knew those under his clan truly believed in him and his cause: to rid the Romans claim the lands of the Alamanni once more. However, his dream was interrupted by the arrival of his young nephew Serapio, who strode in with his face one of anxiety.

“Uncle, the Romans have fortified Saverne!” he cried out disdainfully.

“What?” the giant warrior said in shock.

“Scouts you sent to cross the river arrived back this morning,” the young barbarian explained. “They reported a Roman division of two thousand men encamped upon the ruined fort that you destroyed years ago in a previous raid when Rome’s presence here was weak. However, the scouts did tell of laborers repairing the fort, as well as seeing standards indicating the main Roman army have arrived at Saverne. The war king leads them and set up camp adjacent to Saverne merely a day ago,” The strong muscled king turned around in horror and paused so to digest this news.

“The main Roman army of Gaul is at Saverne?” Chnodomarius replied worryingly showing just how rattled he was at this news.

“Yes,” Serapio nodded. “Your reaction shows this news strikes fear to your heart?”

“It does!” the king shouted before calming himself. “Saverne is of great strategic importance hence why I ordered the fort burned down when storming the Rhine while the Romans were too busy squabbling amongst themselves,”

“Forgive my ignorance, uncle. But why is the construction of a fort at Saverne so important?” questioned Serapio. “The Romans long ago constructed forts along the Rhine so to keep us out and failed miserably when you invaded with such ease,”

“Saverne is forty leagues to the southeast of Argenoratum and is a two day march from the Rhine,” Chnodomaarius explained so to educate his young nephew. He knew though Serapio showed a good mind for strategy he still had much to learn. “A fort being built so inland, which gives me cause for concern, should persuade you the sheer severity of Saverne being fortified,”

“I still do not understand,” Serapio replied. The giant king was becoming irritated but decided not to lash out at Serapio but try to fully why he was worried. So he beckoned him to the table where the map of the Rhine was.

“Saverne lies upon the Divodurum-Argentoratum road,” Chnodomarius pointed out. “Its importance lies in this: the location of Saverne and its fort nearby lies at the mouth of the main passage through the mountains into northern Alsace. Moreover, it commands the Rhine valley, which shows why it is such a problem if the Romans hold the town not to mention build a fort! Alsace belongs to the Alamanni by right of conquest for we have occupied it long after we crossed the Rhine. I will not see it relinquished to sandal wearers eager to bend their ass to their king!”

“By the gods I can see now why it is so important!” Serapio spoke in an apologetic tone for doubting his uncle. “But what are we to do?” It was then that Chnodomarius turned to his young nephew and looked at him with great conviction.

“Call the men out to that clearing of land north of our camp,” he said. “I would break words with them,”

*****

An hour or so later four thousand men that lay allegiance to Chnodomarius stood amongst the clearing staring at their king who summoned them here. As the chieftain stood upon a mound, along with his nephew and Dunwix who slayed the army of Barbatio, he looked to his warriors and addressed them.

“Men, you wonder why I summon you here today!” his voice bellowed like the wrath of the gods fitting well with his gigantic stature. “I do this because beyond the Rhine lay Romans. People who seek to steal back the lands won by the blood of our brothers who fell in noble battle. Our way of life is threatened by their very existence upon Alsace, the west bank of the Rhine and Gaul also. I will see to it a day when no Roman will walk upon our lands!” A howling roar of approval swept up within the Alamanni ranks wholly in agreement at what their king had to say.

“So I bring you here to say no more! No more shall the Romans encroach upon Alamanni lands! No more will they enslave innocent civilians whose only crime is to fight for what is rightfully theirs! We will stand and fight for our freedom or perish happily knowing we died as free Alamanni! That is why we shall invoke the memory of our Suebi ancestors – and light the beacons of war for allies to come to our aid! So I ask you my brothers, shall we begin?”

“Yes!” they roared gladly.

“Shall we begin the end of Roman rule upon lands that once was proudly called our own?” Chnodomarius asked again.

“Yes!” the thousands of warriors fiercely shouted back.

“Shall we seek battle against the accursed Romans and drive them from the field of battle like we did long ago against the army of Decentius?”

“Yes!”

“Then let us light the beacon and see the throngs of our allies east of the Rhine answer our call!” Chnodomarius screamed before turning to Dunwix and Serapio. Under the deafening roar of the four thousand warriors the two Alamanni nobles headed off the mound and made their way to a large hill, which overlooked the camp, each man carrying a torch. When they gruelingly reached the hill it was then their eyes lay upon the beacon – made of stone with the mark of an axe below it while atop the stone was fresh wood. Dunwix and Serapio then both put their torches upon the wood. As the beacon was lit Chnodomarius smiled while his soldiers screamed with joy.

“The wheels are now set in motion!” the king cried to his men. “And through it the destruction of the sole Roman army in Gaul!” As the first beacon was lit the message did not take long to reach others whether by lit beacons or riders on horseback dispatched by Serapio. Their words were swift and clear:

Chnodomarius orders the mobilization of the Alamanni confederation with the warhost to be formed north of Argenoratum to the east of the Rhine!

Many within the Alamanni confederation when seeing the beacons or messengers were quick to gather spear, sword and axe. Nobles gathered their horse, as well as donning their armour so to head west, eager to answer the call of aid. Moreover, it was not just Alamanni venturing east of the Rhine who answered the beacon.

Word spread like wildfire that even the Alamanni tribes of Raetia were to answer the call of Chnodomarius. Rumors surfaced that kings Gundomad and Wadomar were overthrown by their nobles the optimates who were angry at signing peace treaties with Constantius nearly two years ago. Those same nobles who committed treachery and slew Gundomad while sparing Wadomar decided to break the treaties agreed with the Augustus of Rome. Wadomar now led the tribes of Raetia and saw to atone the errors that he made in the past with his once treacherous nobles at his side.



In addition, the beacons reached the lands of the Burgundians, a people residing far to the east of the Rhine and not met the cold steel of Rome in battle. They too answered the call sending sent men west to meet up with the Alamanni. Though the Burgundians had no quarrel with Rome there were several reasons why they decided to take up arms against the Romans.

Chnodomarius knew well the Burgundians had debts to pay to the Alamanni and would send a force to the Rhine so to fulfill the debt. With these beacons reaching Chnodomarius’ intended targets the lands east of the Rhine teemed with thousands of warriors, along with wooden carts carrying supplies and women of lurid morality, marching west. Each man had one motive: to take up arms once again against Rome.

The Alamanni confederation now burned brightly like it did when first breaching the Roman defenses along the Rhine all those years ago. Once again the high kings of the confederation were united once more sending heralds to Chnodomarius confirming their support. The wrath of the Alamanni was now set firmly across the Rhine and to the Roman army at Saverne that now stood alone in Gaul. As Chnodomarius peered to the lighting of the beacons and then to his warriors he knew the die was cast.

“Es wird kein Zurück mehr,” he thought. “There is no turning back now,”

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 @ 03:13 PM).]

Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 04-24-13 03:14 PM EDT (US)     99 / 121       
I finally caught up with this story... Another excellent update LoH, keep up the good work...

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 04-24-13 03:45 PM EDT (US)     100 / 121       
An unexpected pleasure to find such a bountiful chapter awaiting my starving eyes. Love that you're starting to use Spartacus-style dialogue LoH. Steven DeKnight would be proud

"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
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