Page 5 of 8 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 LastLast
Results 81 to 100 of 157

Thread: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [COMPLETED]

  1. #81
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor; Updated 1/10/2011




    Once more into Hades - Winter 582 A.U.C


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    “Well, well, well. By Jupiter's hairy scrotum, Optio Thrax, I do believe I have seen such a ragged and undisciplined lot in all my life. Rotten, sluggish, doltish imbeciles every one, not a man worthy of the name 'soldier' amongst you.”

    Optio Crispus Thrax, otherwise known as Dizas from the Tranipsae, nodded his head along with the best 'stern' expression he could muster. I admit that I almost burst out with laughter then and there, so silly did my friend look in both his armour and with the clearly false countenance making him look as if he were about to expel his bowels.

    In front of us, standing as much to attention as they could, the snow-layered courtyard of the auxiliary base within Mediolanum icy underfoot and the winds whistling about it chilling to the bone, stood the new recruits or 'tiro' for the fourth century of the Second Cohort of Dacians and Gauls. These men were meant to both replenish the ranks of my understrength century, and become a nucleus for the rest of the cohort.

    It makes me chuckle, still after all these years, to think that even the other centurions respected me and my core group of veterans and hailed us as 'conveteranus' or fellow veterans.

    Anyway, we had been for a run of twenty Roman miles that day, in the freezing cold of the surrounding mountains and without so much as a cloak. This, friendly reader, weeded out the weakest of the herd from the stronger and gave me a good idea of who would make up my foremost line in battle. Of course this was no Greek phalanx, but it always helped to have sturdy men at the front when going into battle.

    As I gazed over their tired faces, having just stopped them stabbing at the six-foot stakes with their overweighted gladius and wicker scutum in hand, I picked out Catavignos amongst their ranks. Noticing the direction of my gaze, he stood to his full considerable height and gave a grin, he was neither breathing hard nor apparently had he broken even a cold sweat. I reasoned that it was because, until recently, he had been part of a social élite and warrior caste within his tribe, and as it turned out I was correct.

    You may be wondering why he was amongst the new recruits, should he not have been at my insulae serving my wife and helping my boys?

    The answer is simple; I did not want him near my family without my supervision, nor did I trust him to remain with them when I was not there. Therefore I offered him a choice, to go back to the slave market or sign his life away to the cohort.

    It was not as easy a choice as you might think, Catavignos having only recently been taken by the Romani and whipped into forceful obedience as his people died around him, he agreed only under conditions that I set him free when his discharge was due or that my heirs did and that he be my personal body-servant on campaign and join my cohort and no-one else's.

    How could I not consent?

    “Indeed, sir, a shocking display!”

    Both Dizas and I spoke latin quite fluently by this time, although we could also speak Thracian and Dacian dialects as first languages, those recruits standing before us could only speak the latter or specific dialects of Gaulish. As such we also had a local, but civilian, Gaul acting as a translator until the time they learnt to take orders in the Roman tongue.

    Not much could be said for their appearance either, so green were they that most had not shaven their beards or cut their hair short, wearing their old clothes beneath their standard-issue tunics and trousers where there should have been none. I only allowed such a thing because it was the middle of winter and I knew how it felt to fight without anything covering your legs in the snow, the sleet and the numbing weather that followed.

    “Recruits, fall...out!”

    They would go and gather around a fire, I knew, talking to one another in a hundred different languages and looking for all intents and purposes like the barbarians they were.

    “Centurion Laenas?”

    A man, a messenger, his insignia clear to see on his tunic, had approached me as I watched the men disperse and now I turned and gave his curt nod.

    “My name is Valerius Maximius, I bring a message from the top, here.”

    In quick order a scroll appeared in my hand and the man was gone, already on his horse again before I could make a reply, my hands working swiftly to unravel the curled document. My eyes scanned the neatly formed writing, the writing of an aristocrat, and I believe my face twisted slightly, though into a smile or a grimace I cannot say.

    “Optio,” Dizas jogged over to me and saluted, “at ease Dizas, I want you to prepare the men for wet weather conditions and fighting in rough and wooded terrain. It looks like, when the order is given, we shall be marching on Gaul.”


    **********


    “But why?!”

    Eunike beat at my breastplate with all her strength, the soft pummelling like bits of gravel hitting my chest, my arms moving around her like a pincer-formation and wrapping around her body. I pulled her tightly to me and looked to the children standing by the doorway. They were fourteen now and old enough to understand what was about to happen.

    “I signed my life away for twenty-five years, my love, and I have served a number of them. Know that these years spent with you, though they have been short, have been the best of my life.”

    From a chair in the corner, flanked by Anakletos, my mother gave a toothless grin and a small wave. As soon as everything was ready we would be marching once more into Hades, and she alone amongst my family seemed to understand. Even Diuzenes, though he bore a Thracian name and dressed as a 'savage', had not been born in the wilds of Dacia and raised to know no fear of death...or loss.

    “Gather round, everyone, pray with me.”

    This they did, moving towards me and kneeling down as I did, our arms outstretched towards the sky and our heads held high.

    “Zalmoxis and Jupiter protect, Mars and Hero guide my sword, Vesta and Venus bring me home again to my family and hearth and Pluto stay your hand so that I may see them again. Into the wilds of the north I go, and I know not if I shall return, with my sword and shield in hand and a deep depression in my heart. Fortuna and Tyche accompany me. Gods be kind.”

    It took another three days before I left for the barracks, knowing I may never embrace my wife or children again, Catavignos carrying my weapons and armour on his person as we walked down the quiet early-morning streets, tears falling freely from my eyes and dripping from the end of my nose.

    At that point, right then, I knew that there was nothing I could do against fate or the will of the Gods, nothing except cut a bloody swathe through Gallia Transalplina and back again. Bloodied and a hero, dead or alive, I would return.


    - M.Laenas

  2. #82
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 3/10/2011]




    A little less conversation, a little more action, please - Winter 582 A.U.C


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    “Centurion!”

    I remember Dizas jogging quickly towards me up the side of the auxiliary column, with a look of utter victory on his face and, some how, knew what he was going to ask me.

    “Centurion, guess who our new legatus is?”

    A month ago we had set out from Mediolanum, marching towards the entirely pacified territory of the Saluvii near the south coast of Gaul, the region nearest to Gallia Cisalpina and the rendezvous point for all Romani forces coming in from the eastern and the provinces nearest to and including Italia herself. Primarily auxiliary forces, along with two legions, from the Iberian Peninsula were rallying near the historically Greek settlement of Emporiae instead, rallying there so as to be able to sweep up from the south to attack the Gauls.

    Before we had set out, and for quite a time after, we did not know who was commanding either the Gallic Legio V Alaudae or, as attachments to the legion, ourselves. As it had been when I was a much younger man, I was rather good at gathering information from every source I could and about everything I could. Dizas and I had been having a little sport with one another, chiefly he trying to trip me by finding out something I did not know, so far he had failed and that day would be no different.

    “Proconsul Appius Flaminius Nepos, yes?”

    When I turned my head to look at him, a smile already spread across my face, he shook his head in wonderment and landed a stinging slap on my back. As I was wearing armour I do like to imagine that it hurt him more, especially in the freezing cold weather of the Cisalpine passes.

    “By Mercury and his winged sandals, how do you know all these things and before anyone else?!”

    Dizas had taken easily to auxiliary life, easier than myself in fact, readily worshipping the Romans foreign Gods and using latin as his first language except when we were alone. He confided in me one day about why this was, he said that we were not tribal chieftains and these men under our command were to be soldiers of Roma and not tribal levies. It was logic which I could not fault, even had I wanted to.

    “Nepos,” I said, ignoring his question on purpose, “a direct descendent of Gaius Flaminius Nepos, the scourge of Carthage and killer of the mighty Hannibal.” I laughed in the face of my Optio and gathered some odd glances from the men, regaining my composure as quickly as I had lost it, “did you also know that we are gathering legions and auxiliary cohorts from all over the Res Publica? Italia, Africa, Hispania, even Greece and Pannonia. If the Gauls are smarter than we give them credit for, they will be preparing themselves even as I speak for our arrival.”

    “What do you reckon then, sir, do we have a fight on our hands?”

    Stopping just over the rise of a hill, a straight and firm Roman road stretching out before and behind me into the distance, men carrying all their belongings on their sarcina, or marching packs, trudging past me and ever onwards, I removed my helmet and used my dull reddish focale scarf to wipe away the sweat from my forehead.

    “Believe me when I tell you, this will be no march in the forum. From what I have heard, from our own Gauls and Catavignos, the Gallic tribes of transalpine Gaul are hard bastards and no mistake. Catavignos says they're not much different from his own people, tough, warlike and very resistant to invaders and would-be conquerors. All I know is that we have the element of surprise, training and possibly overwhelming numbers on our side. Not bad odds, to be sure.”

    “And do you ever wish you could go home, sir?” He asked in a voice no higher than a whisper, “back to Dacia and the land you left behind?”

    A sigh escaped from my lips then, I recall, the noon sun dipping lower as we marched, my Optio and I dawdling at the rear of the auxiliary column where we should not be. I also recall the empty feeling in my gut, cold as darkness and black as obsidian.

    “Yes...yes I do, Thrax.”

    Watching until all the soldiers of my cohort had passed, I then attached myself to the end along with Dizas and his bobbing plume.

    “The difference between myself and these poor sods,” I nodded to the nearest auxiliary with my bare head, “is that I know, for a fact, my land is still in the hands of Dacians like myself. Macedonia, Germania, Scythia and even Rome, none of them have yet ravaged my peoples lands, shackled us and put us to the sword. One day it may happen, much as it happened to your own people, and when that day comes...” my eyes focused first on the cloud of breath my speech formed in the air, then on the pained face of my Optio, “...I really cannot say what I will do.”


    - M.Laenas

  3. #83
    Ishiyumi no shashu
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    645
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 5/10/2011]

    Our beloved centurion, a dawdler? Shocking!

  4. #84
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 5/10/2011]




    A Sudden Leap - Spring 583 A.U.C


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    “Would you look at that!”

    Dizas and myself stood atop the ramparts of our marching camp, the acrid smell of many camp-fires and there smoke singing my nostrils as I peered over the expertly placed palisade of sharpened wood, my hands resting gently and my helmet pushed up onto my forehead like some sort of Greek statue or painting.

    It made me laugh to realise that I was old enough to remember what actual men of a hoplite phalanx had looked like, walls of bronze coming toward you, hitting home with their war-cry. That had been over a decade ago now.

    Behind me, below the ramparts and inside the confines of our marching-camp, were the rows and rows of organised tents to be expected of a Roman legion and its auxiliaries on the march. This camp would serve as our base-camp for as long as we remained in Saluvii lands and drained this subject tribe of its resources, not that they were unwilling to give anything to us.

    The Saluvii, like the Helvetii, the Ligurian tribes and the Cisalpine Gauls, were mere plaything and puppets of Roma by this day and age and all former resistance they may have given, reservations they may have had, had all been washed away in Roman gold and Roman luxury. Ivory from Africa, fine blades and spearheads from Hispania, papyri from Aegypt, wine and grapes from Italia itself, gold, silver and, of course, slaves from all over the Res Publica. The silent, seen but not heard, workforce of the Roman way of life.

    It was spring, the heat of the sun causing our skin to darken and even to redden, the stink of the latrines rising even from well outside of the camp and away into the trees. As I surveyed the activity outside our camp, sweat had already began to run from my forehead and down my nose, I am after all a Dacian and not cut out for such heat. Thank the Gods I was kept from the desert, I have no doubt my death there would have been slow and caused not by any enemy blade or spear, but by Apollo sun-puller and his ball of fire.

    “Yes, my Thracian friend, there must be at least five legions spread across the earth throughout this region. Such is the might which Roma can bring to bear on her enemies.”

    And, I say this with all honesty, it truly was one of the singular most frightening sights I have ever laid eyes upon in my long lifetime. I had fought Greeks, Spartans, the Gauls of the Boii and none compared to the dazzling and glittering display of Roman military might I surveyed from my vantage point on that bright springs afternoon.

    At least ten, probably more, fully-fledged marching-camps were dotted all over the grasslands and plains of the Saluvii. Around and inside each camp came signs of bustling activity, men training and mock-fighting, others racing to reach a stream or river first and still more simply lazing about with a lack of anything constructive to do with their time.

    Ah, the noise!

    Like a hundred-thousand workers in Vulcans forge, the hammering of smiths hammering on armour and weapons, on horseshoes for our cavalry, of men marching this way and that to criss-cross the sparse fields with deep furrows as they walked through the tall stalks before them.

    Watching from my position, I imagined it to be the heartbeat of some gigantic beast from one of the legends my mother used to tell. People now would call them myth, but to me they were as real as the air that I breathed during that good afternoon on the ramparts.

    Squinting I could pick out individual figures, a legionary being scolded for something by one of my fellow centurions, an auxiliary cavalryman falling from his horse during a training exercise and moving little, and a group of senior officers as they feasted together and poured libations to the Gods.

    It was all interrupted, however, and shattered by a voice I recognised.

    “...when you are ready, sir.”

    “Well by Jupiter's bushy beard, Maximius. You must stop creeping up on me like this.”

    In Greek Maximius would have been called a 'pterophoros' or messenger, for that was what he was, and in latin a 'nuntius'. Just a bit of information for you, faithful reader. Rome had no real messenger service and such men as Maximius were usually members of the little-flaunted 'legionary cavalry', men who were really just legionnaires given a mount and told to carry a message somewhere or to act as scouts for the army.

    “The legatus requests your presence in his tent, it is, in actuality, an order.”


    **********


    “Please, sit down, we should not have the gallant Centurion Laenas standing on ceremony.”

    Appius Nepos, proconsul of Roma and legatus of the V Alaudae, was a man of average height and sturdy build, clearly not a career soldier but clearly no stranger to the gymnasium if his full frame was anything to judge him by. His hair was an almost golden blonde, curling into locks, his skin without a mark on it and his eyes...his eyes were like those of others I have known, such as Sextus Maximus, but there was something unnerving about them as well. He was a man you could call 'beautiful' with reason.

    Doing as he asked, as I had many times before, I took a seat on a camp-stool, as did he, and sat rigidly awaiting anything he had to say.

    He studied me for a moment, his fingers interlocked, his eyes boring into my very soul, a thin smile playing across his lips and over his youthful face.

    “Centurion Laenas, named after Spurious Laenas I know, how would you like to be first spear of the Second Dacian and Gallic Cohort?”

    For a moment I thought I had heard him incorrectly, even going so far as rudely stick a finger in my ear and pull out any blockage, words failing to come to me for one of the few times in my life.

    “Well?” He said this in a sterner tone, clearly expecting an answer of the affirmative type.

    “Sir, I am but a rank-and-file centurion. There are better men for the post in the cohort already, any of the other centurions for instance.”

    He shook his comely head, almost mockingly, his curls brushed out of his face by a slender and pampered hand.

    “Laenas my boy, those men are old and dusty. They are relics of an old Roman army that no longer exists, like the time of the maniples before the cohorts. Before the line of Maximus allowed foreigners like yourself to join auxiliary cohorts, like the one you now serve. No...they will not do. You are what is needed, a fresh splash of blood on the alter of the cohort. When we march into Gaul I need someone I know and can trust, will you be that man for me Laenas?”

    What could I say?

    I could have said no, of course, but even you, my reader, must understand how foolish that would have been against someone like Nepos. He came from a ruthless family, had vast connections in the Res Publica and was a proconsul of that year. Had I said no, I do not know for certain whether I would be writing this now.

    “Of course, sir, it would be my honour and a privilege to serve under you in such an esteemed and fortunate capacity.”

    Before I left the tent, swift as a hound on a deer, he was standing beside me and ran two of those feminine fingers over my cheek. I must say I found this exceptionally odd but speculated that it must be some sort of Roman gesture, one which I might add I did not return in kind.

    “Do not fail me, Primus Pilus, we could have a close relationship...you and I...but if you fail me...”

    He did not have to say anything more, nor did he, I was well aware of what the consequences would be should I fail in my duties. All results that would end badly for me and my entire familial line.

    Now there was only one question left to me...

    How, in the name of Dis Pater, did I go about leading a cohort?!


    - M.Laenas

  5. #85
    Boustrophedon's Avatar Grote Smurf
    Citizen

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Rome, Italy
    Posts
    3,162
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 5/10/2011]

    I'm putting the final touches on your review tonight truly a beautiful piece of fiction you've crafted here!

  6. #86
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 5/10/2011]

    Quote Originally Posted by Boustrophedon View Post
    I'm putting the final touches on your review tonight truly a beautiful piece of fiction you've crafted here!
    I look forward to your criticisms and praise equally, I am sure you shall be a fair judge. Thank you for your admiration though, all praise is good praise.

  7. #87
    Ishiyumi no shashu
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    645
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 5/10/2011]

    “Well by Jupiter's bushy beard, Maximius. "


  8. #88
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 5/10/2011]




    Resentment and Revelations – Spring/Summer 583 A.U.C


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    As I have no doubt you can imagine, supportive reader, things did not go quite as well for me from that day forward and there was one simple reason why. Centurions, the living and beating heart of a century or of a cohort, legion or auxilia, veterans of a dozen battles and sometimes campaigns, decorated soldiers loved by their soldiers in the same parental way that children look up to their father. The problem was that the centurions of the Second Dacians and Gauls, my subordinates as it now happened, had no respect for me and hated me entirely, both for my meteoric rise through the centuriate mostly on the basis of who I knew, and for my far-further than provincial origins.

    Such dislike and disfavour of me were made quite clear in the shared latrines, shared mess-tents and shared barracks of the centurions of the cohort. Believe me, when you are alone at the top through a designs not even of your own making, others willing you to fall, an auxiliary marching-camp is an extremely small and extremely dangerous place to be.

    “What, by Pluto, do you think you are playing at?!”

    We were all sat around an oak table, large enough for all six centurions of the cohort, my place at the head of it providing me as an ample target for any vocal haranguing or abuse. Which is exactly what I was getting, only one week after my promotion and news of it had had time to spread through the camp by the usual avenues...soldiers gossip.

    “I asked you a question, boy, or do they breed you too stupid in your arse of a country to understand me?”

    The main protagonist, the man spouting these distasteful phrases, was my immediate junior in the ranks of the centuriate and a man as hard as granite with a voice as loud as the cry of a God. His name was Manius Tetius Lutatius, a man born and raised in Velitrae and a full citizen, a centurion in the III Gallica before they were posted to the east and he was posted to my new cohort. Mirthless, a firm disciplinarian and a hard man to like, he nevertheless held the respect and admiration of all the other centurions. It was clear to me that I had to set an example.

    “Centurion Lutatius,” I began in an articulation softer and lower than that of my speaking voice, “if you ever speak to me like that again, your primus pilus, then I will have you on a charge.”

    This did not deter Manius, however, and he soon regained the high ground with a comment I had not been expecting, for all my credit as a gatherer of information amongst the ranks.

    “Did our beloved legatus touch you when he promoted you?” The greying centurion asked, his face a mask of false gaiety, “did he stroke you or place his hand near your nether regions, sir?” Venom dripped from his words, he knew he had me and, along with the entire table, laughed right in my face, but he was not finished...oh no.

    “Dacian, listen. A Nepos he may be, but he had other tastes than those of his ancestor or father, tastes which have led to trails of weeping young men and boys throughout Italia. You would not be the last in this line, little girl.”

    So, this was why he had touched me. Once the meaning of the Italians words hit home, and soon they did, I shuddered internally and was not quite sure whether to be disgusted or simply flinch with revulsion at the memory. In the end I did none of it, simply levelling my gaze at Lutatius, sweeping it over the table and rising from my chair.

    “Mark my words and Dis Pater hear me. By the end of our next battle, whether against the Gauls or not, you will all be dead. Every last one of you.”

    Without waiting to see what effect my words had had on the assembled lower-officers, I turned about with a sweep of my Gallic cloak and exited the tent into the sunlight. I ranged the encampment about for a little, just to clear my head, checking weapons, having small conversations with junior officers and their men, and making my way toward the main gate where I knew I would find my optio. Sure enough he was there, and with a face like that of the boatman, dispirited, disheartened and frankly mournful.

    “Someone died?” I asked, Dizas turning his face towards me and giving a barely perceptible nod, “Decimus Fabius Maximus, princeps of the Res Publica, died in Roma this day. He named an old favourite of his, Tiberius Aurelius Lanatus, as his successor and now he had named a certain Decimus Rutilius Calvus as his own.”

    Slowly I nodded, realisation sinking in, before I remembered something else.

    “Decimus, he had kin, yes? No sons, I know, but blood-kin spread out across the Res Publica.”

    Dizas nodded, leaning against the inside of the gateway and peering out through the open doors.

    “Numerius and Marcus Maximus, both kindred of Decimus. No doubt they shall both be sorely disappointed, angered even. Oh...and...and one more thing. Laenas passed away this week in alpine Noreia. Both he and Decimus are said to have died peacefully and without complications, two great men gone in as many weeks, the Gods must have need of them but they shall return in time.”

    My optio was a Thracian, a people who, like my own, believed that when you died your soul would simply go and return once more after death. Travelling from an old country to a new country. Other nations found this a little odd, so we had been told, but that was not what I was thinking about at that moment. Suddenly, as if it was not spring but winter instead, the air had become as frost to me and my skin had become numb, a hand reaching absent-mindedly to wrap my cloak about me.

    “Are you alright, sir? You do not look well.”

    I nodded my head, far from alright, telling him to carry on with his duties and that I would hand the cohorts duty roster to him on the morrow. In my head I even contemplated ending my own life, following my leader into the afterlife, but that was a foolish thought and instead I had to soothe my nerves with an offering to my Gods and at the altar set up to the Res Publica in the middle of the camp.

    Many more things, not of much note, also happened that spring and into the following summer, such as the taking of Boii Carnuntum and the end of resistance from those people to the rule of the Romani. There only other territory left was that of the Chatti Germani, having taken their lands early in their expansionist campaigns, but the Res Publica knew that one group of 'barbarians' would soon wipe the other out and were content.

    Lanatus, our new leader and overall ruler, though still subject to the will of the senate, showed his foremost skill of tact and using people against one another. The settlements of Eburonum, Carrodunum and Leucaristus, all three stained with the blood of my old comrades of the first cohort, were given to Germanic chieftains, princes and noblemen to act as a buffer-zone between we and my own people of the Dacii, should we ever choose to defy Roma openly.

    It was Lanatus' first act, one which went down well, but it would not be his last or his most long-reaching...that was yet to come.


    - M.Laenas

  9. #89
    Ybbon's Avatar The Way of the Buffalo
    Moderation Mentor Citizen Vault Staff

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    locally
    Posts
    5,552
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 6/10/2011]

    Dodgy Legatus, and resentment by his comrades, things are not looking rosy for our hero

    +rep which I think was promised a while back and well overdue.

  10. #90
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 6/10/2011]

    Quote Originally Posted by ybbon66 View Post
    Dodgy Legatus, and resentment by his comrades, things are not looking rosy for our hero

    +rep which I think was promised a while back and well overdue.
    Indeed! Things could be brighter for old Thiacus, but fear not, things can only get better...or can they?

  11. #91
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 6/10/2011]




    Transformatio Res Publica – Summer 584 A.U.C to Summer 586 A.U.C


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Summer, 584 years since the founding of Roma, the hottest summer I had and have ever experienced, veterans of skirmishes in the east even telling me that the sun had not beat down upon them there as it did now, in lush Transalpine Gaul. My unusually pallid skin, made so by being a northern 'savage' and seeing the sun little, even turned to a scorched red and became painful to the touch before peeling away to reveal me as a man as bronzed and olive-skinned as any of my Latin or Italian comrades-in-arms.

    Men, exhausted from the heat, feel on guard-duty and during parade and inspection, others died during training simply through what most thought was lack of water. Not that there was a lack of water, aqueducts reaching to the larger settlements all over Saluvii lands and some water also being taken from nearby rivers and woodland streams. It was simply too much for their bodies and these men, weak and pathetic creatures to be pitied, were burned on pyres as soon as it could be arranged, their souls rising or falling to be greeted by the respective deity.

    But, for all that, it was also a cold summer, emotionally if not due to any fresh gust of wind blown from the icy-topped Alps or by a benevolent divinity to ease our boiling-blooded suffering.

    I remember well a day that a certain letter arrived, from my wife in Mediolanum, complaining about the heat and giving me news of my children and their latest adventures. Apparently my young daughter had taken a fancy to a local tribunes son and was wondering how to go about 'catching' him, whilst my more Romanised son had become accepted into a special school of rhetoric and would likely not follow me in a military career, the other however, the son who imitated my origins more than my current circumstance, only wanted to wait until I was a citizen and by extension so he too would be. Only then could he sign the dotted like with the legions, or wait until he was old enough before joining the auxiliary like his father. Eunike was well, Anakletos too, but the real blow came at the end of the letter...my mother was dead.

    You may think I wept, wrenched my hair from my head, beat my breast and pounded my fists into the dirt and you would be wrong, so very wrong. In all my years of soldiering, of killing other men, of taking the lives of Romes enemies, I had never felt disgusted with myself nor sick to my core at who I was or what I had become. On that day though, on that day, when I read those words and waited for it to affect me in some manner, I was to be sorely disappointed. Nothing happened, nothing. No tears, no sense of loss, for this was a woman who I had hardly known in later life but had still reared me and raised me along with my beloved father, neither of whom would ever be forgotten.

    No, I did not grieve as a son should, feeling wretched and evil within, but I went to a quiet clearing near the camp, Dizas taking care of the duties I had laid out on the weeks roster, some peevish and ill-natured centurion of the cohort probably looking for me in vain, and in that clearing I moulded a small pile of loose earth into a mound and flattened the top into a form of altar. Then I took the pendant from around my neck, my fathers pendant, and thumbed it into the earth that made up the holy ground, covering it back over and turning my back on it.


    **********


    “Men of the Second Cohort of Dacians and Gauls, your prefect requires your attention, attend him.”

    I stepped back from the edge of the tribunal and there he was, looking exactly as I remembered him, Prefect Vibius Rufus Regillus. Otherwise known as Prince Droiaebus of the Teurisci, he now walked calmly past me and raised a hand to silence any of those unruly men who had decided to speak. Dressed in a moulded-muscle cuirass of boiled leather, phalerae covering his chest, he looked every inch the Roman and looked as if he could have been born to it. Little did either he, or I, stood only steps behind him and to his right, know that he was about to read a document to us that would change the entire constitution of the Res Publica forever. It would be read, similarly, to every legion and cohort in the Res Publica by their commanding officers or subsequent senior officer, from here to Galatia or the borders of the Pontic Kingdom.

    “I speak to you now with the words of Tiberius Lanatus, first citizen of the Res Publica, listen well.”

    And so it happened...

    “Janus all-seer hear me and greetings, whether you are a soldier, a potter or the lowest provincial of the Res Publica. These are the words of Tiberius Aurelius Lanatus, ratified by the senate and leading citizens of our beloved nation.

    We have come a long, long, way. From an disunited handful of tribesmen in the hills of Italia, to a sturdy Res Publica under the guidance of enlightened men such as those of the family Maximus, who led us through the worst times of our nations history, the most turbulent times, and to who I owe my current position. Now, I beg you, join with me, willingly, as I usher in a new era for the people of Roma and our subjects across the face of the known world.

    It is on this day, the day of my birth, that I proclaim myself Tiberius Imperator Caesar, first citizen and emperor of the new Roman Empire. My chosen successor shall be Decimus Rutilius Calvus, forthwith to be known as Decimus Caesar, as I have no children or blood-related heirs of my own. In him I shall place the trust of the people once I am gone, but for now I say this....

    ...this is not a change of the old order, or the old ways, but a new beginning for our nation. With the help of the senate and of the army, who to every man of the legions I endow nine-hundred denarius a man and to the loyal volunteers of the auxilia eight-hundred, to the men of my Praetorian Guard one-thousand and to those of the navy and artillery seven-hundred. These are, however, but the beginning. The pay of all shall also be raised immediately and greater care taken to see that the army I am now the inheritor of, an army that already has conquered half the world, shall be suitably equipped to conquer the rest.

    In the name of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, let the Aquila rise and let all others fall, let them bow down to the majesty of the new empire and let all who oppose us tremble.

    Let us unite now, freemen and slaves, citizens and provincials, Romans all!”

    At the end of the reading I watched, very carefully, the faces of the men in front of me and below the tribunal. It was slightly comical to see some rise, clearly inspired and happy to have an emperor, and others drop as they realised what this would mean for the constitution and life in the former Res Publica as they knew it. From the other encampments I could hear both cheers and roars but also loud groans and the low rumble of a thousand throat grumbling, all soon silenced by the officers of the legions and auxiliary cohorts.

    One thing surprised me most about that day, and it was not the single fact that we suddenly had an emperor and co-emperor reigning over us. It was that there were no wholesale mutinies amongst the military, no entire city revolting against this oppression, no uprisings as there had been in the past. Nothing. Of course there were riots in various cities, many in fact, but none large or potent enough to make much of a difference and both Decimus and Lanatus were on their ways back to Roma from Hispania and Nicomedia in Bithynia respectively.

    To placate the family of the deceased Decimus Maximus, as I would later find out at a meeting of senior officers, Numerius, the older of the pair, had been put in command of the XIII Gemina legion and overall command of the Gallic campaign. Whether Numerius, or his brother, were appeased by this clear bribe of a gesture I cannot say, but not one of the pair ever revolted and so I can only assume they were. On the other hand, the second largest Patrician family in the new empire, the Scipii, posed a potential threat to Tiberius and his co-caesar.

    It would be another year and half before anything as eventful as that day happened again, though nothing as grand or unforeseen as becoming Emperor overnight was ever to happen again in our history, or has not so far, at the time I am writing this.

    In the summer of 586 Ab Urbe Condita, when I was forty-five years of age and with only ten years of service left, Tiberius Imperator Caesar was honoured by the people and by the senate as a 'good emperor', a benevolent ruler and a just law-maker.

    The army was not so pacified by his efforts, but did acknowledge him nonetheless as their figurehead and commander, and swear oaths to him and carry a picture, bust or small statuette of him everywhere a legion or cohort went.

    The plebs and senate, on the other hand, deified him as a living God that year, building a temple to him in Roma before he was even dead and beginning a tradition of hero-worship largely inspired by the servile Greeks whom had been conquered with the help of soldiers like myself and made educated slaves indeed.

    Oh, he was no Alexandros, no slayer of enemies or killer of men, as I was and remain, but he was a just emperor, the first emperor, the first man to rise above even the station of princeps and ascended to god-like heights to dine with the divinities on ambrosia and endless dishes of the foods known and not known to mortal kind.

    He had been right about one thing, this was a new beginning, but whether for better or worse remained very much to be seen.

    Not to make it a side note or such, but I had larger problems in my own life, grappling like a wrestler with how I was to command an entire cohort in battle and the well-known element that I was not getting younger in years but only older. More action was needed before I finally met my end, peacefully, in a bed with my wife holding my hand and my children gathered round. The process of concentrating our forces, started under Decimus and not disallowed by Tiberius, was nearly complete and had taken two years at least.

    I had only one thought on my mind...

    ...how many Gauls would die on my blade?


    - M.Laenas

  12. #92
    Ybbon's Avatar The Way of the Buffalo
    Moderation Mentor Citizen Vault Staff

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    locally
    Posts
    5,552
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 6/10/2011]

    What a great interlude, the reforms from a soldiers view. I love that there are a few AAR's that are really in-depth to the soldiers lives, nstead of a grand sweep using a small fragment of a campaign.

  13. #93
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 6/10/2011]

    Quote Originally Posted by ybbon66 View Post
    What a great interlude, the reforms from a soldiers view. I love that there are a few AAR's that are really in-depth to the soldiers lives, nstead of a grand sweep using a small fragment of a campaign.

    My thanks again to you, Ybbon, although I daresay that there is little other way I could actually do it. Thiacus cannot see the world from anyone's point of view but his own, through his eyes anyway, and I can imagine this being slightly annoying for those people who wish to know more about what is going on in the outer world.


    For those people, whomever they shall be, here is a small summary:


    [Reference Map]


    Currently, Tiberius Imperator Caesar rules an empire with many of the borders of the actual Roman Empire itself. He possesses Hispania, Italia, Africa, Aegypt, Greece, Macedonia and Thrace, Pannonia Superior and the Alpine provinces such as Norica.

    In the west, the Gauls have pushed the Belgic tribes from the continent but British resistance is also stopping them from expanding on that isle as well, the Gallic tribes rule what is commonly thought of as Gaul but cannot expand anywhere except into Germania or the Roman Empire.

    To their east are the Germanic tribes, ruling from the eastern bank of the Rhine to the borders of the northern Dacian holdings, which include the lands of the Marcomanni and up to the western half of the Venedae lands.

    The Dacians, on the other hand, control everything north of Thrace until you reach the shore of the north sea. They border Pannonia and Germania to the left, and the lands of the Sarmatians to the right.

    The Sarmatians control most of the steppes, up to the Chersonessos.

    The Seleucid Empire, still in existence, controls most of the the former Persian Empire, including Syria until it reaches Raphia, Mesopotamia and Assyria. They are bordered in the west and south by the Roman Empire, in the north-east by the Armenians, also in the west lies the Kingdom of Pontus, and ever-pressing on their far-eastern boundaries are the pesky Parthians.

    Arabia is, as usual, possessed by no-one...yet.

    Scythia still lives, not expanding but not dying either, and there are only the city-states of the Bosporus left of that faction.

    The military might of the Roman Empire is unmatched, twenty-eight professional legions at his beck-and-call, a number of Republican (and even Polybian) legions placed around the empire in veterans colonies, any number of auxiliary cohorts or alae from the provinces or Italy and not counting the mercenary element of the army.

    These armies are, however, spread over the empire, legions positioned on the Danube and the Gaza borders, on the borders between Asia Minor and the Kingdom of Pontus and those of Spain/Cisalpine Gaul and Transalpine Gaul.

    Nonetheless, are there any who possess the arms and valour to defeat the Romans in battle?

    I'm sure we shall find out!

    Ad arma!

  14. #94
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 6/10/2011]




    A swift briefing – Summer 586 A.U.C


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The invasion was nearly under way, our forces gathered and our supplies, wagons and overall logistics confirmed by the emperor himself. It had taken quite some time and there was no doubt in my mind that the Gauls, like the Boii and Greeks before them, would be our slaves long before my honourable discharge from the army.

    “Are you prepared, Catavignos, to slay your own kindred when we enter Gallia?” I asked him one day, as he buffered by greaves and cleaned my lorica hamata and phalerae, his eyes never rising to meet mine as he concentrated on the work, but his answer straightforward enough, “unlike the Romans, sir, I have never gone back on my word or had any qualms about killing the enemy of my enemy.”

    I could not possibly know how he actually felt, his life destroyed, before I had rather forcefully plunged him into the arms of his erstwhile enemy. Now he marched beside us, shared our rations and did his duties for emperor and empire. Amidst all this, amidst the Romans and their stench of death, I came to believe, as I expect he did too, that the only alleviating influence was being surrounded by a majority of non-Roman auxiliaries. The greater part of our comrades coming from 'pacified' provinces, Hispania and Cisalpine Gaul for example, far removed from those citizens who made up the bulk of the imperial legionnaires, although we had Romans amongst our number they were thankfully in the minority.

    “Make sure my armour is spotless when I return, my friend.”

    A sweep of my arm moved the tent-flap from before me, a warm breeze ruffling my hair as I stepped from my kiln-like tent, my sandalled footsteps carrying me towards the combined command-tent of the auxiliary cohort and our legionary compatriots.

    I reached the large, rather open, structure as Legate Nepos began his briefing, slipping in at the back of the assembled officers in what I believed was a stealthy fashion. Even so, the eye of our legate fell on me and, I swear in the dim light of the tent, glittered as he saw me. I shall admit that I hoped it was a simple trick of the light.

    In front of me stood every centurion of the V Alaudae and of my own cohort, some my juniors and some my senior, my own position as a 'first spear' of an auxiliary cohort far outranked by that of my legionary namesake, my holding of said rank only applicable for a year unless extended by my commanding officer. There were also the usual tribunes from the legion and our praefectus cohortis, my friend, Droiaebus.

    “Now that we are all assembled, I shall proceed...” his eyes surely flickered towards me again, “...let me first say that this will be no walk in the forum. We are up against a barbarian culture, yes, but a sophisticated one at that. I know many of you may not agree with me, some of the centurions perhaps, but let me tell you that what I say is the genuine truth.”

    His eyes scanned the tent, making sure his words had sunk in, before he went on.

    “We are to have the honour of being the first legion to engage the enemy, permission given by the legatus legionis himself, Numerius Maximus. Our legion is to be the first to cross the borders into the land of the Segusiavi tribe, to clear the way of any enemy forces and form a 'safe area' for the entry of the other legions. From there, I have been informed, some legions shall lay siege to the major cities we find while others, such as our lucky selves, are appointed the task of hunting the enemy down in the field.”

    Glances met glances and there was a slight murmuring in the tent, quickly silenced with a swift cut of the legates hand.

    “Now I want discipline kept at all times, there will be no raping or pillaging and anyone found to be doing so will be executed. I also demand constant readiness, training, exercise and hardening of green recruits especially. We must be prepared to face whatever these Gauls may throw at us. Do we understand one another?”

    Shouts came of 'yes sir' and 'hail Caesar', all affirmative yells from the gathered officers, dispersed after that back to their units and their duties. We were to gather our men, pack up and march out before tomorrow afternoon and then we would be the first military presence of Roma to set foot on Gallic soil.


    - M.Laenas

  15. #95
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 8/10/2011]




    Initium Domitis – Summer 586 A.U.C


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    That very evening we began preparing to move north and into Segusiavi tribe-lands, as such I was running here and there throughout the entire organisation of the legion and their auxiliary support. My duties included making sure all was packed and stowed in an orderly manner, able to be readily gotten at if needed, from spare weapons and shields to engineering tools and axes used to cut down trees and form battering-rams. Luckily most else was left to the superior persons of the V Alaudae, we after all being there for support, reinforcement in battles and, as I well knew, javelin-fodder.

    By the afternoon of the very next day we were already driving our men and wagons down the road, towards the lush hill-lands, plains and woodlands of Gaul. The men were in a fine mood and, as it turned out, voice, rowdy drinking songs and lewd tunes about centurions rising from the ranks of the Gallic legionaries and native airs sang in both Gaulish and Dacian permeating the air. No move was made by either the centurions or our senior officers to shut the men up, all happy to allow them this one privilege, our enemy and former allies not even aware we were coming and certainly not prepared. I even joined in a few verses of 'Angaltas' or 'twisting stream' myself, a Daco-Thracian vocal composition oddly enough not about a river but about a woman with a limp and her sexual encounters.

    After marching for the entire day, never stopping, we took our rest by a small brook, the water flowing from who-knew-where like ice to the touch and soothing for our drying throats. Together we ate some of our rations, tough grain made into hard biscuits, flat and oval like the clipeus my men carried, as well as even tougher strips of beef which we had 'acquired' by slaughtering a herd of cattle some weeks ago. Though flavoured in a number of imported relishes and something called spices, it still continued to have the consistency of boiled leather.

    While we squatted, stood or lay, baking in the afternoon heat, our local guides from the Aedui tribe swept out ahead of us and went to scout the land. They took three Romans apiece with them, including a decurion in each of the two allied turmae, who would confirm everything seen and done by the Gauls. Allies they may be, but Gauls they were still, and there had been traitors before.

    In a matter of hours they returned, smiles on their moustached faces, trotting until they reached the side of the legate who alone was still mounted and looked ready for battle. There was a brief flurry of gestures from both sides of the conversation, ending with Nepos nodding and turning to mutter something to the Primus Pilus of the Alaudae.

    “Everyone up, we have a bridge to cross!”



    **********



    We stood arrayed in all our finery, the setting sun giving a blood-red hue to our armour, legate Nepos and an Aeduean translator crossing the bridge before us. They were moving across the bridge at a leisurely pace, the sound of hooves on wood like Vulcans hammer on his anvil in the silence of the evening, two mounted representatives of the Segusiavi waiting on the other side, so still it was as if they were made of stone.

    Though closely watched for any sign of treachery or double-crossing there was none, from what I could see the conversation between my commander and that of the enemy forces was heated and there was much waving of arms and shouting and blustering and posing between them. At length the legate returned across the bridge and summoned every officer to him, waiting patiently until we were all assembled to speak to us from his dominating placement in his saddle.

    “I have spoken with the leader of the enemy forces, a force I deem is likely smaller than our own waiting on the other side of the river. It is clear that they are simply a crossing-guard and not in all probability expecting us. The chieftain wishes us simply to turn around and leave in peace, no doubt already having sent a galloper to tell others of our presence, but as we all know this we cannot do. I know for a fact that already the legions and auxiliaries of Hispania are in the territories of the Volcae Tectosages, and we should not let them get the better of us. Get some sleep and post a guard, tomorrow we take this bridge and open up a doorway for the empire which shall never be closed to her forever more.”


    - M.Laenas

  16. #96
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 8/10/2011]




    The Battle of the Rain and Blood– Summer 586 A.U.C


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Early the next morning, surprisingly full of vim and vigour, the soldiers rose and began to cook a simple meal of oats and whatever local meat we had managed to procure on the march, mostly hare and beef with a sprinkling of chicken here and there.

    I walked amongst our troops, as it was my duty to do, and spoke briefly with all I met and came across, the men in high spirits and ready for an easy battle but I although I looked calm and collected on the outside I was still apprehensive within.

    We had no idea how many Gauls we were facing, where they were exactly, or how they would seek to repulse us when we went forward later that morning.

    The only relief, I suspect, was knowing that our reinforcements under Numerius Maximus were only a two-day march behind and, should anything happen to us, they would come to our rescue...or that was the plan.

    Like everyone, I have to be honest, I believed that the days operation would be a complete success and one of the easiest I had ever taken part in. Cross the bridge, rout the Gallic defenders, and carry on into Segusiavi lands.

    As usual I was to be proven wrong, it would turn out to be one of the most arduous days of my life.

    “Second Dacian and Gallic Cohort, for-ward!”

    The day was bright and clear, not a cloud in the sky, the lush green of the dewed grass shimmering and the gently rolling ripples of the river a sparkling blue, as my cohort and I tramped across the sturdily made bridge of wood unopposed, soon reaching the other side. Six-hundred and eighteen men in total, including officers and standard-bearers, medicus and so forth.

    “Dress the lines, dress the lines, close-up!”

    As the first spear of the cohort it was my responsibility to make certain that we kept cohesion in the ranks, kept our overall formation in battle and to deal out discipline where I saw fit to do so or where it was entirely necessary. Dressed in all my glory, my vine-rod held neatly under my right armpit and my shield firmly grasped in my left hand, my crested helmet on my head and the glinting torc snug around my scarf-padded neck, I stood to the right of the formation along with my signifer and cornicen while at the rear and to the left stood my optio or duplicarius Dizas, placed there to make sure no man ran from the fight, a grave offence both to the army and to the Gods.

    “Acies singulus....acies singulus.”

    With drilled and well-trained efficiency the men of my cohort formed a single line, facing in no specific direction, simply to form a guard so that the rest of the Roman forces may cross. It was only due to a sharp-eyed auxiliary that we noticed the movement on the steep, sloping, and wooded hill to our right.

    “Collis! Gallos in tumulosus!”

    When you focused on the hillside, as I was forced to do, there could be seen human shapes moving amongst the foliage toward us. Without even having to shout out a command, we pivoted the entire line to face this threat and advanced toward the foot of the hill, the Alaudae, along with the legate and a mass of Insubrii auxiliaries, crossing the bridge and forming up behind us as we marched.

    Suddenly the legate, the Aeduean horsemen on either side of him, was beside me and nodding his head towards the hill. He looked resplendent in his armour, a tall red crest bobbing on his helmet, his muscled cuirass moulded on his own body I had no doubt, the sun causing a dazzling shock of light to blind me for a moment as I looked.

    “Primus pilus Laenas, you are to form testudo and take your men up that hill in good order. The V Alaudae will also form up and be but steps behind your foreign lads.”

    Though a smile came from beneath his helmet, the entire thing framing his handsome features, I knew exactly what he was from that moment on.

    A political general, one who knows of war and has no doubt studied it in books, but who has little knowledge of the reality, young or middle-aged men from Roma or Italia come to an arena of war so that they may return triumphant afterwards and brag to their friends about how they had commanded legions.

    We auxiliaries would get no mention in that bragging, for we were the worms, the maggots, the uncared ones, just foreigners paid and armed and then sent forward as practice targets for Gallic, Greek and Asiatic blades.

    “Of course, sir...,” I filled my lungs with as much air as possible then, turning to the left so I could watch every century do as it was ordered, waiting for a split second before bellowing the command, “TESTUDO! FORM TESTUDO!”

    Men shifted, grunting, centurions spat at them and shields were raised overhead and others thrust out to the sides, all interlocking into a near impenetrable formation. One of the prides of the Roman military.

    “Sinistra, dextra, sinistra, dextra, sinistra...”

    This was when the real test began, not the fighting and not the waiting I learnt, as we advanced up the hill it took all my leadership and all the willpower of the men to remain in formation and with enough breath to combat the enemy when we found them. They had retired higher up the hill when they sighted the legionnaires, clambering back up the uneven slopes to make a stand in the lofty heights. That was now where we were going, after them, one foot after the next and onwards and upwards, the Gallic soldiers of the 'larks' only steps behind us as Nepos said they would be.

    It was then that the Gods decided to intervene, those that clearly were not on our side, a mist rolling in from the river that caused me to lose sight of the leftmost centuries and our armour to be moistened, so we looked as if a compact shoal of warrior-fish slithering up a hillside to reach the greying sky.

    “Accursed weather,” I remember muttering before nearly losing my footing on a dripping rock, the studs of my caligae temporarily unable to find purchase, followed by further curses and obscenities from the men surrounding me.

    This climb was getting worse by the step.

    Abruptly a loose formation of auxiliaries appeared out of the mist, to my left, shields up and gladii thrusting, my own eyes unable to see the reason for this and my mouth moving too fast for my mind.

    “You lot, by Hades shadowy hair, I will reprimand the whole century of you if you do not get back in formation!”

    My footsteps carried me further to the left, the other auxiliaries gradually getting nearer, before I saw a mass of blonde-haired and moustached men hammering away at my own with clubs of various shapes and sizes made from bone and wood. I realised instantly why they had broken formation and cursed myself silently. These men would have been unable to fight in testudo and before I could think anything else the Gauls broke of and fled back into the mist, leaving behind the bodies of our dead and theirs.

    Clearly drunk on their minor victory, the third century charged up the hill and after the club-wielding Gauls, disappearing into the mist after their quarry in a clatter of armour and scraping of shields on other surfaces.

    “Men of the Second, break formation and form line,” my voice echoed in the cooling cloud of river-water and bit-by-bit the men of my cohort did as I said.

    Formed and fully prepared we marched onwards, our legs sore and even mine feeling as if they were on fire, quickening the pace as we saw our comrades of the third century holding off a larger group of Gauls ahead. We cut through them with Roman proficiency and, after they had retreated to who-knew-where, the entire Roman force came to a halt. Behind us the Alaudae formed the 'acies duplex' or double-line while we, once more, formed a single line across the front of these citizen-soldiers.

    In minutes we were once more advancing, the slope becoming steeper and steeper and the ground underfoot made hazardous by the humid mist, the volume of curses and nearly falling soldiers increasing with every step.

    And, just like that, it was over...we had found our enemy...

    “HAAAAAAAAAAAALT!”

    There they were, right before us, hundreds of eyes filled with the fire of hate glaring down at us from their elevated positions. Gauls, over a thousand of them, young and old men of the Segusiavi here to defend their lands and expel us back over the water and from whence we had come. There were some, half-naked, armed with the usual hexagonal shield and the simple spear, any number of different heads attached to the end of them, other men armed with clubs and thick sticks and simple round shields, heavily armoured spearmen wearing well-looked after mail and bowl-like helmets and even a number of axe-wielding Volcae from the nearby Alps opposing my own century on the extreme right of our line. None of them moved, not an inch, not even when we stood but a few feet away, well within the distance of a spear throw or a maddened charge.

    These Gauls were no fools though, to be drawn down and slaughtered, to hurl themselves on us in a mad rush. No, these men were warriors and each knew their place by heart, and the orders they had been given before the battle began.

    On either side of me my own men leant on shields and sucked in breaths, behind me the men of the Alaudae did likewise, every man of them tired and worn from the tramp up the hill. Oh, these Gauls knew their strengths and played the game of battle expertly to them.

    Out of nowhere something hit me in the eye, something not entirely solid, my hand whipping up to find nothing but the wet water of a raindrop. That was the start of it. The heavens opened above us, the entire hill soon covered in rain, the trees all around giving little shelter to either side and the sound it made on my helmet like the continuous footsteps of a marching army.

    Then the battle began in earnest.

    “Second Dacian and Gallic Cohort, up and into them...forward!”

    Not even needing to charge, we simply walked forward until we came into contact with our enemy, formations breaking apart as men attempted to get at there enemy and soon the entire scene erupted into loose-formation combat between my cohort and the foremost Gallic warriors. My own fourth century, who were known professionally as the first century, due to my position as first spear, walking unhurriedly up the hill before running over the narrow strip of space separating us from the allied Volcae tribesmen.

    Thrust, block, push forward, thrust to neck, thrust to groin, hit with shield boss, thrust.

    My legs felt as if they were about to fall off, the ground underfoot becoming bog-like in the dense rain, sandalled feet churning up the clay and soil of the earth and small streams of water rushing down the hillside, my shield heavy in my hand and my sword feeling like those we used in training...but I was the primus pilus of my cohort, Gods damn it! I would not allow myself to falter, not allow myself to fear, not even consider stepping backwards, as long as my cohort continued the fight.

    I stabbed an axeman in the muscle between the neck and shoulder, stepping over his drooping body and into the next man, his one-handed axe taking chunks of painted wood out of my scutum and splintering it in two places before I knelt to hamstring him and then finish him off with a thrust to the chest, my gladius penetrating through his breastplate before his muscle and tissue.

    With swiftness bought about by reckless bravery, something most centurions should have in vast amounts, I shouldered aside an auxiliary from Dacia and slammed my shield into his assailants face, lifting the bottom and thrusting it down into front of my enemies thigh. The movement caused the man to hobble slightly, to look down at his leg, and to allow me a life-ending lunge downwards into the back of the mans exposed neck.

    “Keep fighting men, for the empire!”

    So I was said to have yelled, though I do not remember it, even as a Volcae axe came down on my thickened shoulder armour and sent a numbing shudder down my sword arm, the double-sided blade dropping from my nerveless fingers and into the sodden grass.

    I do remember responding by swinging my shield up and across my front toward my attacker, like a hook delivered in the boxing arena, the square but curved side hitting the younger man in the side of the face and sending him spinning to the floor with blood filling his ruined mouth.

    I did not stop, closing the gap between us as rapidly as possible, kicking the side of his now bare head, his helmet lost somewhere in the melee surrounding us both, before pressing my right sandal down onto his face and the other pushing all my weight through my left foot and onto his windpipe. He soon stopped moving.

    Homer may describe war as glorious but it is, in one word, ugly. It is ugly, cruel and animal-like, survival of the strongest and quickest, an domain that no-one who has not experienced it can truly comment on with any hint of authority.

    That young man died defending his nation, a noble cause, but he died nonetheless, I made sure of that, and in my eyes as the conqueror he lost the fight and died for nothing. War is a rush of adrenaline, a thrill, a feeling of godlike power if you are good at dealing out death, but let no-one ever tell you it is glorious.

    We had been fighting for over half an hour by then and I did not even notice the first wave of legionnaires sweep into the fight from behind us, barely able to see the centuries to my left due to the rain and the silhouettes of men locked in their demise moving amongst the trees.

    The rain stopped once the Alaudae came forward, perhaps the Gallic Gods favouring these chosen sons over the more barbaric ones, and I was able to take a breath and watch both my men and the intermingling larks press against the Gauls. I walked this way and that, slapping men on the shoulders, urging some on, telling them to keep low behind their shields and make every thrust count. Such was the ferocity of the Roman infantry that I even had time to squat down and retrieve my sword, something I would not have even considered a moment ago.

    Both sides were tiring, the fresh reinforcements giving us a new strength, enough foreign lives now wasted for the legion to consider using men of their own.

    It was then that the legate made his move, riding his horse up the hill along with his cavalrymen on either side, hitting the Gaulish left flank like a very slow thunderbolt but doing an equal amount of damage. Horses and men, fresh and well-trained, pressed into them from the flank and rear and the already exhausted Gauls there could take no more, having had enough they instead turned about and made a run for it. Very soon they were followed by others, men muttering to one another and pointing at the fleeing figures, their general and his bodyguard of horsemen slain earlier in the battle apparently.

    Then, just as we stood on our last legs, the entire Gallic front crumbled away and melted into the trees like a herd of scattering deer. Indeed the Gauls were very much like deer, at home in the woods and fun to hunt down from horseback, as our legate experienced first hand during their retreat. A few even surrendered and we infantrymen were left to keep them under guard, taking them back across the bridge to wait with the baggage-train.

    And so we had won, the rains that so often come after a victory starting up early and soaking us once again, auxiliaries and legionnaires both moving amongst the bodies and dispatching any wounded that were not of our own. I even took the life of an older Gaul, coughing up blood and pleading for what I believe was water, his face quite noble and his moustache showing him to be a veteran of some standing.

    My blade drank his blood and took his life all the same.


    - M.Laenas

  17. #97
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 9/10/2011]




    An Offer You Cannot Refuse? - Summer 586 A.U.C


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    I returned down the steep hill the same way I had come, past now lifeless bodies, all equal in death, the rain that still poured from the heavens washing away the blood and excrement but leaving the puckered white bodies upon which the crimson gashes and holes only stood out all the more. Inanimate eyes continued to look at me as I passed, or those I could see through the sheets of pelting rainwater anyway, some with looks of shock and surprise and others with an accusing glare, as if I had been the one to wield the blade or javelin that ended their life.

    Out there, in amongst them, were the wounded who cried for their mothers, their sons, their families, anyone who could comfort them in their hour of suffering. I heard them, once or twice, as I descended towards the camp being constructed on this side of the bridge, and one could not help but feel moved by their pitiful pleas or their hapless predicament unless you were truly made of iron or stone. I was made of neither, I was simply flesh and blood like anyone else, and I too had a family.

    I could only hope that the legionnaires from the second line of the Alaudae, those who had not taken part in the battle and therefore were fresh as new-sprung grass, would be able to find them or at least put them out of their misery.

    “Password, sir?” Challenged a sentry when I got near to the line of tents arranged by my cohort, a man I knew to be steadfast in his duty, “falco” I replied and was allowed to enter without any further obstacles. I went immediately to the tent of the medicus, where I knew I would find my optio, his leg having received a rather grievous wound during our own personal battle.

    “Salve, optio, not too bad a scratch I hope?”

    Although I did my best to sound cheerful, the wound did not look good at all. The medicus had done his best to stitch the open wound shut, animal gut clearly visible in between the blood and pus of the injury.

    “It will heal in time, centurion, but your man will need plenty of rest for at least...eight months.”

    Even though I did not like the outcome, my optio excused duty for eight months during the invasion of Gaul, I had no other choice but to bend to the will of the man who knew best what was best for him. So I nodded my head and eyed the small wax tablet clutched in the hand of my temporarily crippled comrade.

    “How many?”

    He returned my look and gave a weak but triumphant smile.

    “We have sixty-three wounded , sir, but forty-nine of those will be fighting fit within a couple of days. Bring our total strength to eighty-nine fit for active duty. We were luckier than the other centuries, some are counting in their sixties now.”

    Nodding slowly, I wished Dizas swiftness of healing and told him I would bring him a skin of wine when I could procure one. The surgeon looked a little soured by this, but I simply patted him on the shoulder with a smile and retreated back out into the rain, which now swelled the river behind us running beneath the bridge.

    “That looks nasty, sir,” said Catavignos as he stripped off my armour inside my tent and hung up my dripping crimson cloak, looking over the damaged scutum and dented mail as well. The Boii warrior did not seem any worse-for-wear either, not a wound upon him, his tattooed face smiling up at me as he removed my greaves and caligae.

    What he said was true also, an angry-looking black and purple bruise visible on my shoulder where the axe of the Volcae tribesman had hammered home. It was tender to touch but, thank the Gods, the weapons had not broken the skin or caused any shattering of rather vital bones.

    “May I speak with my first-spear centurion, alone?”

    The legate stood stooped under my tent-flap, the red-feather crest of his helmet drooping pathetically to the side and dripping all over the earth that was my floor, Catavignos giving a swift nod and salute before taking one last look at me, clad only in my sopping tunic now, and squeezing out past the armoured commander of the legion and cohort both.

    “Well,” he said once he was inside and stood erect before me, “you do live sparsely, centurion, may I take a seat beside you?”

    How could I refuse the legatus?!

    I moved myself a little further along my rather spartan bed and watched him guardedly as he sat down beside me, sweeping his wet cloak about to his right, his helmet joining it and letting his loosed curls cascade down to frame his smiling face.

    “You did well today, Marcus, your entire cohort did. If you can lead them thus and make them fight as hard as they did today, in every battle, then the rewards will be heaped upon you and your position as Primus Pilus given to you indefinitely.”

    Appius had moved closer with every word and, very soon, was only a few inches way. I was uncertain what to do, not really sure what the legate was going to do, my mind at that moment like that of a cornered animal. Could what the other centurions said be true? Did this man truly walk the path of the catamitus?

    “We shall do our best, sir, I pro-...”

    This was the moment when he chose to move, moving quicker than I believed he could, clamping his mouth over my own before I could finish and cutting off the breath out of my throat. I remember two things, firstly that his lips were softer than I ever believed a mans could be, or had a right to be, more like a woman's, and secondly that I leapt away and up so that I stood before him with a look of disgust on my face.

    “Oh, come now Marcus, do not be coy with me centurion, I imagine you have quite the sexual vigour. A barbarian and a centurion, quite the combination.”

    “We do not partake in male-to-male acts of intercourse in Dacia, sir, though it is not unheard of there are quite usually enough women to go round. Those who acquire a taste for other men are usually executed or shunned by their tribesmen.”

    “Executed or shunned, ooh, how exciting!”

    He was getting closer to me now and I was wholly uncertain what to do, he was superior officer and I was ignorant in the ways of Roman civilian and military law. All the same I knew that this was wrong, he could not take me against my will, even if I was a foreigner, not even a legatus had that right.

    “I can make you a hero, Dacian. All you have to do is give in to me, lie with me, and everything you could wish for will be yours...”



    - M.Laenas

  18. #98
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 11/10/2011]

    I'll be updating this soon, wouldn't want it to hit the second page after all Gonna finish up with the legatus and then get us to killing more Gauls...Yee-hah!

  19. #99
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 11/10/2011]




    An Unexpected Incident – Summer 586 A.U.C


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    I cannot, or choose not, to describe what happened in that tent and I shall leave you to make your own judgements, reader. What I will tell you is that, only a day or so after my legatus left my tent, I was a common rear-rank centurion commanding the fourth century once more. Dizas remained my optio and the men of the formerly first century grumbled as we marched, but there was nothing for it, a choice had been made and the consequences were final.

    Numerius Maximus moved all legions and auxiliary forces north towards our position, securing ground we had covered and commanding Nepos to proceed further into Gallic lands, our force acting like a battering ram to clear away any resistance out in the open, before we besieged the Segusiavi capital of Lugdunum and completely pacified this territory as had been done to so many before it.

    Freedom, true freedom, was there such a thing where the Romani were involved?

    The larks, and what was formerly my command, formed a column with most of the Dacians and Gauls at the fore and the legionnaires behind, legionary cavalry scouting ahead and covering the flanks of the column on either side with one century of my cohort acting as a rearguard against any attacks from behind.

    For a day, maybe two, we marched like this and gazed warily at every passing bush and tree-line. For many of us, Cisalpine Gauls included, Transalpine Gaul was a strange and foreign place and we had no wish to be caught with our tunics lifted. For my own part, I had seen action in Pannonia and the southernmost areas of Germania against Catavignos and his people, he seemed at home amongst this landscape and I did my best to imitate his cool air of confidence and patient neutrality.

    “I take it that this reminds you of home, Catavignos?” I said as I trotted at the fore of the column, using his native name since he had refused to take a Roman one, “much to like?”

    He did not take his eyes off of the back of the man marching in front of him when he spoke to me, but I could see a small smile playing on his lips.

    “Sir, I have no home. The Romans took it from me. This land agrees with me, however, and reminds me of a place I once lived. Who knows, when I am done with wearing this cumbersome garb and receiving instructions in some alien tongue, I may even choose to settle here.”

    It was my turn to smile, so smile I did, some of the nearest auxiliaries doing likewise and some of the newer recruits wondering if they could smile. You see, I was not a harsh disciplinarian, not as a centurion truly should be anyway, and that was because I knew that the veterans of my century could do my job just as well as myself and from within the ranks. It made things a lot easier but, because I was lax, a lot of the tiro's believed I was endeavouring to lull them into making a mistake before I punished them. It was a misconception I was trying even harder to break.

    Ahead of us the column had stopped, Nepos deep in conversation with one of the scouts, all flying arms and sharp gestures pointing this way and that way and every way. After a generous amount of time the pathfinder gave the formal salute and rode back up the track to join the rest of his comrades once more.

    In his wake Nepos gathered all centurions and and senior officers about him, a stern look on the face of the man who had so recently tried to seduce me, explaining to us that a Gallic force had been sighted ahead but fled when they saw our scouts on the horizon. Roman cavalry had never really had any brains to begin with. We were then ordered to take the covers from our shields and prepare ourselves for battle.

    This was done with practised ease, all men prepared and ready for anything, the only singular problem being that it took us three more hours to pursue the enemy and track them to a location from where they could not escape, each man of us worn out by the time we reached them yet still expected to do our duty as Roman soldiers and face the enemy. An enemy, we knew, just as tired as ourselves, but also one cornered and that made them that bit more dangerous to face.

    A strategy was formulated, and now I shall tell to you how the battle played out.


    **********


    “Raining...always raining...” I murmured to myself, as water dripped from the rim of my helmet and into my nose and into my eyes, in Gaul it was always raining.

    “Sir?” My acting optio queried, Dizas and his leg still both out-of-faction, and so this new politicians son, fresh out of basic training, was to be my optio in the fourth century. How I ever got stuck with him I shall never know.

    “Nothing, just speaking to myself,” I looked over to him then and gave what I hoped was my most reassuring smile, “Valentinus, was it?” The young man nodded, his over-large helmet shifting back and forth on his head as he moved it, the expression clearly showing that he was pleased with my remembrance of his name. “stay out of my way and do as I command, Valentinus, and we shall be good friends I am sure.”

    When the rain was not blinding you, which was rarely, and the thunder and lightning of the Gods not crossing the sky with it, you could see the landscape ahead and the lines of comrades to you side.

    The fourth century had been placed on the right flank of the Roman line, auxiliaries formed up to protect the front of the larks, as usual, with the legionnaires formed up into two lines behind us. Bringing up the rear were Nepos and his Aeduean allied noblemen, more like hostages than an actual part of our army, and then a group of roughly spread Insubrians from Cisalpine Gaul to our rear right flank. Knew exactly what Nepos planned to do, becoming predictable after only one battle, a shiver running up my spine as I realised exactly what his planning entailed.

    A trumpet blast knocked me out of my revere and I absent-mindedly wiped a backhand of water away from my eyes, my Gallic cloak wrapping tightly about me like some sort of child hugging their parent. At the second blast I readied my men, watching Valentinus dress the rear ranks, as was his duty, before I bellowed out the order to advance.

    We were on the move.

    Downpours of rain had made the ground soft and bog-like underfoot, men cursing the name of anything as caligae were sucked from feet by gripping mud and legs sunk up to the knee so that others of the unit were required to help their comrade out. All the while the Gauls watched us from atop a hill to our left, soon to be our front as we pivoted about to face them, probably laughing to themselves as to the clumsiness of the Romani war machine...little did they know.

    I shall break off my tale, one moment, to tell you again as I have before, reader, that you will never realise what war is like unless you have experienced it. You may go back over the pages you have read herein, read once more the descriptions and recollections of my previous battles, but it is likely that you will find something missing, and that is the very essence of warfare. My descriptions are all good and well, you may even enjoy them, but thus far I have left out most of the things that make war what it is.

    On that field, in the middle of enemy territory, facing men I had no quarrel with for an empire I did not really need to serve, I was soaked from head to toe in a continuous deluge of rain. I shivered and coughed, felt the cold droplets against my skin and struggled to move with my undertunic and cloak wholly saturated. Below me the ground was just as treacherous as any foe-man, easily able to take your life if you were not careful, and all the while I carried on myself the full equipment and armour of a Roman centurion as well as the hundreds of scars, nicks and bruises of one from older and more recent engagements.

    Once you have finished reading these memoirs you may place them down, burn them, do as you will, but remember what I have told you time and time again. We were men, people, just like you and, distant as we may seem in my written accounts, we were the all the same in that.

    Returning to the battle...

    When we had gotten close enough to the enemy lines, a group of skirmishers made up of older Gauls broke away to our right and began to hurl javelins in our direction. I watched from my position, never stopping in my stride, as an arcing cloud of them took several men off of their feet from the auxiliary century to my left, more men following as further javelins were thrown.

    Once within range, enough was enough.

    The Insubrian Gauls, seeing no kinship between themselves and the men before them, broke away from our rear and swarmed over the terrain. I kept my eye on them as they clambered over rocks and sough to reach these Arvernian allies, not seeing the rickety chariots come over the hill some way in front of them. None of us saw them as they swept down onto the undisciplined Insubrii, wheels churning up mud and riders screaming at the top of their lungs, most of us I imagine believing that the men of Gaul-over-the-Alps would scatter like leaves in the wind.

    We were greatly mistaken.

    Instead of splitting apart like rotting wood and drifting away on the current of the battle, the Insubre launched themselves, howling like wild animals, straight at the stationary chariots. Those not fast enough to wheel about and flee soon became targets, warrior and charioteer pierced by sword and spear and sent shrieking to Hades. The remaining noblemen were not so foolish, getting away not only from the Insubre but also from the battlefield as swiftly as they could.

    At length, after much scrambling over mud, stone and timber, we formed three lines with my cohort at the fore and advanced up the hill until we were but a javelin throw away from the enemy.

    “Ready pilum!” I yelled, cocking my own arm back, “throw!”

    An exchange of projectiles began between the Gallic infantry and ourselves, the Insubres nowhere to be seen and the Gaulish cavalry holding back at this point in the battle, javelins soared out of the air and hit a number of my countrymen and their Gaulish brothers-in-arms or the cohort. We were, once again, being used as a human shield for the precious legionnaires of the V Alaudae, but we gave just as well as we got.

    Once all our pilum were spent we were ordered into the charge, marching silently until we were but a few paces from the enemy line, letting loose then our warcries and screams in a hundred different dialects that could barely be heard once we hurtled into one another shield-first.

    What happened then went more-or-less as it did in the previous battle, Nepos allowing us to hold the enemy for a time before sending in the first wave of legionnaires, taking he and his cavalry round the enemies flank and rear to attack and capture their chieftain, then sending in the second wave.

    On the right flank, where the fourth was fighting fiercely, we were pitted against men of a distinctly Germanic origin. They were no Gauls, but fought with ferocity and precision, wearing animal-pelt helmets upon their heads and letting both their hair and beards grow long, simple tunics and trousers covering their bodies and all protected by the hexagonal shield seen mainly in Germania.

    I recollect that I thrust my gladius home into one of them, the man holding my extended wrist firmly in one hand until I had hammered his face into a bloody pulp using my scutum. He let go, his mouth full of blood, spitting it at me before he fell, all around me were scenes being played out in the same manner and then something exceedingly odd happened...something I did not except...a forceful blow to the back of my head and the world went black.


    - M.Laenas

  20. #100
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
    Content Staff

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Crannog
    Posts
    2,259
    Tournaments Joined
    0
    Tournaments Won
    0

    Default Re: [RS 2.1a Roman (Auxiliary) AAR] Serving Your Oppressor [Updated: 19/10/2011]




    Orders Is Orders – Summer 586 A.U.C


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    I remember waking up to find the tattoo-covered face, much like my own, of Catavignos the enslaved Boitrix peering down at me as I opened my eyes before immediately shutting them tightly to block out the light which caused them to ache.

    “...alive...come...” was all I heard as the Kelt turned and bellowed to some others that had clearly been waiting for me to regain consciousness, a smattering of footsteps reaching my ears and a mumbling of voices on every side of me.

    When I opened my eyes again, looking about at the assembled soldiers, I could pick of Catavignos, my good friend Dizas and even the acting optio Valentinus, who looked more than a little abashed as I heaved myself up unto one shoulder and squinted at them all from my open-air sick-bed.

    “Where am I and what happened, somebody please tell me?”

    It was Valentinus who stepped forward to explain, and immediately I knew not everything was as it should be, especially not with this...boy.

    “Sir, you were fighting the Batavii on the right flank. You probably remember that.” I nodded slowly, cautiously, waiting for him to get to the inevitable point, “well...without evading too much...I...sort of...hit you in the back of the head during the fighting. You were rendered unconscious and found after the battle. We knew you were not dead, and so bought you to the medicus' tent. We are currently positioned in neutral Aeduean lands, along with the II Augusta and a number of auxiliaries, until we Lugdunum is taken by the VIII Augusta and legatus Matho to our rear, sir.”

    Well, how could I be angry at a lad, who even now, looked as if he would turn tail and flee away from my creased brow. I was not sore, not really, just a little infuriated that I had been knocked into darkness by one of my own subordinates and missed out on slaughtering some Germanii. Those Batavii, I was later informed, had put up the greatest fight out of the entire Gallic army. Even when both of their commanding generals had been killed, they stood their ground and fought on like the witch-spawned daemons they clearly were.

    “Good to have you back centurion,” said Dizas, held up by a crutch, Catavignos at his side and nodding appreciatively, “if you had died then I would never have any chance of gaining my freedom.”

    A moment of laughter was then shared between us, but there was much work to be done, and duty rosters for me to write.

    Entry one: acting optio Valentinus, latrine duty, four weeks.


    **********



    That very same day, carrying my wax tablet around with me and scribbling down observations as I walked, I went for a look about the rather large camp we were sharing with cohorts of Spanish infantry and, in a field nearby, an entire ala millaria of Thracian horsemen from that province which still produced first-rate warriors for our army.

    Across, to the west, of our camp was where Dizas spent most of his time. I was told that it had been so since he stopped being bedridden, spending a part of every day of his medical-leave over in the horse-shite spattered encampment of his countrymen and their “noble” steeds, mounts that looked like a mix between a pony and a horse of Parthian royalty. I was told that this came from the stealing of Persian horses during the years before the rising of Roma, when Thrace still encompassed all the lands to the south of Dacia, when they interbred their own native horses and produced an altogether superior pedigree.

    That was not the only thing that he bought back though, wine and other contraband somehow found its way into his hands. This we shared many times over the following weeks, both watching with a touch of glee as Valentinus sifted through the cohorts excrement with a look of utter revulsion on his face. It was enough to make me fall off of a camp-stool at one point of extreme Bacchic worship.

    As for these Spaniards, well, they are a completely different pot of porridge, I can tell you now.

    Although led by an experienced general, Manius C. Scipio, a direct descendent of the Scipio's who had governed Hispania and Africa since the defeat of Hannibal the Carthaginian, they were nowhere near the standard of troop that even I had come to expect from the Roman army. Make no mistake, their armour and weapons invariably were superior to that of my own cohort, but the men, it was the men that let them down and who I saw as not fit to wield such finely crafted gladii or spatha.

    Hispania, unlike Dacia or Thrace, or even Syria, had stopped producing warlike tribesmen in the vast majority of its regions. Indeed, due to that very purpose, not all the regions of the Hispanic interior had been fully Romanised and still clung to their native ways, customs and lifestyle. Such areas forged hardy men, but they were undisciplined in battle and of little use to the Romani, except as meat shields for enemy fire or as light-infantry in rough terrain, where they excelled.

    These Spanish auxiliaries, on the other hand, had become soft from garrison duty in a province that barely encountered even acts of brigandage any more and it was discernible from marks of rust on their corslets and dried blood on their weapons blades. Their greater force, led by Gnaeus known as “the Coward”, had defeated Cingetoutos of Liger to the north of the Pyrenees mountains but even then, it had been Lucius C. Canina and his ala quingenaria of Numidian horsemen who had had to capture the fleeing Kelt and bring him to Gnaeus.


    **********



    Nepos gave me barely a glance as I entered his command-tent, not even raising his eyes from the map before him, just a slight wave of his hand telling me to stand somewhere. Gathered inside the spacious shelter were all the surviving centurions of my cohort, not many I might add, as well as the decurions of the Thracians and those officers of the Spanish cohort too. Most I did not know, but a few I had gotten to become acquainted with during my period of recuperation.

    “We wait for Matho and his legion to secure our backs, the taking of Lugdunum an essential priority. After that we, the advance force, will head toward the Arvernian capital of Gergovia. These Arverni have taken control of the hierarchy of the Gallic tribes, their influence the only true reason that the Gauls dare to resist us at all.”

    This was, of course, far from true. The Gauls, like all free men, simply loved their freedom more than they loved the trappings of Roman technology and luxuries. If any men could understand this, then the assembled Spaniards could more than most.

    “Once both locations are taken, the Spanish legions already advancing to secure the western Gallic coastal towns as I speak, then our force under Numerius Maximus will be split into sections and from there we shall lay siege to every major settlement we come across. Resistance is futile. They will capitulate or they will be destroyed, there is no alternative, make sure you mention that to their headmen before turning their homes to ash.”

    Not a word was said between us, only glances and a slight twisting of mouths into set positions of thought or displeasure.

    “Alright then, you have your orders, make it so.”


    - M.Laenas

Page 5 of 8 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •