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Thread: Tale of Rome- STORY COMPLETE

  1. #81
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 26/4

    Chapter Twenty Two - It’s good to be back

    Territory of the Volcae – Late September 218BC

    Manugas slid elegantly off his mount and thrust his spear pointquickly and efficiently into the throat of the wounded Gaul now at his feet.

    He had been back with his general for a little under a month, and damn it, it had felt good to be back. No more pretending to be what he wasn’t, no more a Numidian gangster, but a scion of the house of Barca, a loyal servant to his general, a feared warrior, a leader of the finest light cavalry in Africa – Numidian of course.

    Although a Carthaginian and a trained horseman and warrior of the Sacred Band of Astarte, Manugas could appreciate the Numidians for what they were, death upon horseback. No saddle or reins, just a stick to guide their beasts, tremendous horsemen all.

    He could well remember the time his general, had asked him to leave the Scared Band and lead his mercenary horse for him. Manugas had been horrified; he had thought his general had meant to insult him. As time went by he had realised that his general had given him a gift, a gift that he deemed so precious that he could only trust it to a warrior of renown, and a man whose loyalty was beyond reproach, a man who spoke the language of the Numidians, and who could handle the tribesmen with a rod of iron.

    His general had honoured him, his sponsor, the man who befriended him as a rough street urchin and made him gentleman enough to qualify for the Sacred Band. The man, no the great warrior who was more like an elder brother to him even though they were of a similar age, ‘Hannibal!’ yes he could shout the name out loud after months playing at spies. His voice roared out the name of his general as a challenge and a warning to their foes!

    His men followed suit and bellowed the name of their General across the battlefield, the chant was picked up and carried on by the men scattered over the Volcae camp, nestled against the Rhone. All of the disparate army wielded as one deadly instrument of death by his general, Carthaginians, Libyans, Numidians, Gauls, Iberians and more, men divided by tongue, but united by a common thread, love for their general and hatred for Rome.

    Even the elephants trumpeted their approval….the Volcae, these simple Gauls, had been nothing, soon Rome would be theirs.
    {-----------------------}

    Publius Cornelius Scipio had felt elated when his small reconnaissance force of Campanian cavalry had located Hannibal’s forces near the Rhone. The Carthaginians had crossed the river after defeating the local Gauls, though that defeat was of little account to the consul. He had however immediately marched his own legions towards the Carthaginians, even leaving behind his own personal baggage train on the fleet that had carried him from Pisa.

    But now things had changed yet again. He was now in his marching tent, sat in his camp chair in the middle of the deserted Carthaginian camp. He had taken in the latest news, without any real surprise, the Carthaginian was like a shade, always moving before him; his scouts had just informed him that Hannibal’s men were at least three days march ahead of him heading along the eastern bank of the Rhone. His enemy had stolen a march on him yet again and where was he heading, he was heading for the Alps….the man must be insane!

    He would not be able to catch him, so the consul would return to Italy, just in case the madman made it over the mountains, he couldn’t, could he? The consul would organize the northern defence just in case; maybe he could slap the Gauls down too, while he was at it.

    {-----------------------}

    Normally Manugas treated his men well, not out of love but of necessity, treat a man well and he will reward you with loyalty in most cases. But not this idiot! His stupidity had cost his general; the Numidian had been entrusted with leading a large patrol to scout the ground before Hannibal’s forces, but had run into a similar sized force of Romans and been routed.

    If that was not shame enough, the same fool and his cowardly comrades had then led those same Romans back to the main camp. This had forced Hannibal to strike camp and force him to head towards the Alps. All for the sake of one cowardly warrior!

    A Carthaginian officer had offered the use of an elephant for the occasion, but Manugas had had a better idea. First he had the man used as javelin practice by his cowardly comrades, Manugas had warned them not to miss, but to not kill him either, making it clear that if any man disobeyed him he would be joining the disgraced patrol leader.

    He had plans for the death of the man, something that the others would remember, something to inspire them, but make them fear Manugas more than any Roman. For the present the man looked like a hedgehog, but he was still alive, Manugas ordered his men to cut him down from the stake he was tied to. ‘Bring him over here, are the stallions ready?’ Manugas had a determined look in his eye, he would make an impression here.

    The Numidian warrior answered quickly, not wanting to offend the Carthaginian with a reputation for liking death,’ yes my lord. Everything is ready.’

    Manugas was in a foul mood; the failure of this one unit of cavalry reflected badly upon an otherwise exemplary group of soldiers. What’s more it reflected badly on him, and his general had been so pleased with his exploits in Rome and in the battle against the Volcae. His foul mood worsened, ‘Good. Then do it man, don’t just stand there!’

    The Numidian signalled to his two comrades to bring the two fine looking stallions they were riding forward, Manugas may have rejected the offer of an elephant from his brother officer, but he had asked for two mounts from the Scared Band herd instead. The patrol leader was tied to the mounts, one arm and leg either side, Manugas slowly raised his arm so that the man was stretched further and further into an obscenely grotesque form, the man’s screams of agony and torment meaning nothing to the Carthaginian officer. Manugas strode forward and looked at the man’s face; it was a picture of pain and raw anguish, Manugas fury was unleashed in an instant.

    ‘You cowardly scum! You let down your general, your comrades, yourself and me!’ Manugas stomped away to the horse on the left and signalled to the soldier on his right, ‘at my command; now!!’

    Both powerful stallions were slapped hard on their respective rumps at the same moment by the soldier and Manugas, the horses drew away from each other at great speed, and the man simply flew into two halves, torn asunder by the tremendous force that his body had been subjected to. The men Manugas had forced to line up around the execution watched as their officer approached one half of their former patrol leader. They respected this Carthaginian, he was a fine warrior, and he even spoke their language, but now they were simply terrified of him, what more was this man capable of?

    Manugas studied the half of the man near his feet with cold interest, he had always wanted to kill a miscreant in such a way. He had enjoyed it; it really was good to back. He studied the faces of the men around him, it had worked, these men would not scatter before the Roman dogs again.
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 14, 2012 at 04:55 AM. Reason: new format
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  2. #82
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 30/4

    Manugas... always causing trouble

    I'm really looking forward to the battle (there is going to be one)

    I await the next update with as little patience as I can muster

  3. #83
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 30/4

    Oh yeah, there will be a battle alright, google Ticinus it might give you a clue....its about to get very bloody

    Be patient though, it could be a long chapter - what I have in mind, it will need some working on.
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; April 30, 2012 at 02:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 30/4

    YESSSS I Love this story.!!!!!!!
    Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer. ~ Barbara Kingsolver

    The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~ Anaďs Nin

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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 30/4

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Anglorvm View Post
    Oh yeah, there will be a battle alright, google Ticinus it might give you a clue....its about to get very bloody

    Be patient though, it could be a long chapter - what I have in mind, it will need some working on.
    ...



    I have a feeling this may be the best update of the story, take your time - not too long though eh


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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 30/4

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot12 View Post
    ...



    I have a feeling this may be the best update of the story, take your time - not too long though eh
    I'm hoping to get the balance right between a good narrative and sticking to historical fact, only time will tell if I get it right - at the earliest I may have it ready next week.

    Sorry guys
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 30/4

    No worries life is life.
    Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer. ~ Barbara Kingsolver

    The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~ Anaďs Nin

  8. #88
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 30/4

    Chapter Twenty Three - Hello Old Friend

    Battle of Ticinus, Northern Italia – November 218BC

    Lucius had spent most of the last three months tramping up and down the countryside; protecting merchants wagons, guarding supply lines and chasing down small bands of Boii, Insubres and other Gauls who had been running amok across northern Italia, they had burned settlements, attacked Rome’s client tribes and generally made a nuisance of themselves. All working themselves slowly into a frenzy as they awaited the arrival of the Carthaginians.

    Then the worst possible news had reached the 6th Legion’s camp, Hannibal had succeeded in his insane gamble to cross the Alps. The one piece of good news was that Publius Cornelius Scipio, or Scipio the Elder had somehow managed to get his own troops back to the North in time from his own trip to Gaul, the 6th and every other spare man that could be mustered from across the North had now gathered under the Consul for the battle to come. Lucius figured that there was around twenty thousand men in the Consul’s army, more than enough to deal with a rabble of punics he would have thought, Marcianus had warned him that in the battle to come, he would have to keep his head and ‘avoid any youthful displays of temper’, such as his battle wielding episode in the Subura, the story of which had now entered the folklore of the 4th century.

    Still it maybe that none of the 4th would see action today; the Consul had decided on a reconnaissance in force and had taken off with a mixed force of cavalry and velites. A decision that had puzzled both Lucius and his Centurion; after all if the Consul had wanted to move at speed, why take the light infantry, why not horsemen alone? And if he wanted a show of force why not take the heavy infantry? It seemed a bad decision all round to the young Optio.

    So Marcianus and the rest of the 4th now sat around kicking their heels with the rest of the heavy infantry within the encampment, whilst the glory boys of the cavalry and the ‘dart throwers’ had moved off. Marcianus had not been best pleased, ‘That bloody Consul has got it in for me, not only are we stuck here with the rest of the footsloggers, but now his left orders that were to remain in camp to guard the main gate, even if a battle does happen!’

    The young Optio could only sympathise with his commander, since they had left Rome back in August, they had not clashed with an enemy once. Every time they had got near a Gaulish war band, their quarry had slipped away, leaving the Romans floundering in their wake, the Gauls using their superior knowledge of the country and their ability to move quicker to its full advantage. It had been a frustrating three months. Lucius knew that something had gone wrong in Rome during the ceremony at the Temple of Vesta, but Marcianus had refused to tell him why they had had to leave the capital in a such a hurry, one thing was for certain though, the Centurion was convinced that Scipio the Elder was out to get him.

    A shout from on top of the ramparts dragged Lucius out of his thoughts, a young legionary from their century had a worried look on his face, ‘Centurion the men are coming back already; something’s not quite right sir!?’

    ‘Verres with me’ Marcianus took the steps leading to the ramparts over the gate two at a time with Lucius following swiftly behind. ‘Bugger, look the velites have broken, their mingled in with the cavalry, it seems the reconnaissance has failed.’ Marcianus virtually leaned over the ramparts as he searched for the Scipio’s. ‘Where’s the Consul? I can’t see him?! The Carthaginians aren’t following either, so they must be mopping up what’s left of our lads!’ The centurion’s voice roared over the faint sounds of battle ‘open the bloody gates!’ Marcianus had an intense look on his features as he continued to scan the flat plain front of them.

    Lucius could hear the squeal of the heavy gates as they were pulled back, men running through them as if the hounds of Hades were on their tails, horseman mingled in with their light infantry comrades. Marcianus pointed at the men rushing through the open Gates ‘Verres stop one of those idiots and find out what’s gone wrong will you!’

    Lucius did as he was bid, and ran back down the stairs shouting at the reserve Contubernia to follow him who had been idling their time away while their comrades manned the wall by playing dice. The men scrambled to attention and ran to follow their Optio. Lucius waited until he spotted a man who came in leading a lame horse, unlike most of the men he was not panicked and was calmly guiding his beast slowly through the throng of onrushing humanity ‘Soldier what happened?’

    The man looked at Lucius and bit off the urge to retort, after all the man addressing him was an Optio, ‘I’ll tell you what happened, your bloody footsloggers ran when the Punic cavalry came at them didn’t they, they ran straight through our ranks and threw our mounts into panic, then the bloody Carthaginians hit us too. It was a mess, our blokes fought them, but they started splitting us into small groups and carving us up, I don’t know where the Consul is either, the last I saw him and his men had been swallowed up by a horde of Numidians.’

    Lucius was stunned, could the consul really be dead, or even worse captured? The shame and dishonour would see an end to Scipio the Elder’s political career if he had been captured. What’s more who was in charge now? Presumably one of the praetors Manlius and Atilius, he would need to tell Marcianus what had happened. The Centurion would need to tell the praetors….

    {-----------------------}

    The journey through the mountains of the Alps had been torment, hellish, a nightmare beyond all possible imaginings, colder than he would have ever thought able to feel, sentries frozen standing up with their watchful gazes locked on the far distance forever, elephants driven crazy by fear had torn men limb from limb even their own handlers, boulders heaved over precipices by Gauls had crashed down to crush men and their mounts moulding them forever in an unholy mess of flesh and the starvation, fear, horror, but now replaced wit…. joy, exhilaration, ecstasy…the wonderful butchery of battle.

    Manugas rode down yet another velite, his sword singing out to his right and taking the man’s head clean off his body in a spray of arterial blood. Everywhere around him his Numidians were chasing down fleeing light infantrymen, leaving the heavier roman cavalry to be dealt with by the Carthaginian heavy cavalry. Manugas had been part of the right flank, on the left flank more Numidians had waited, in the centre had been the heavy cavalry of the Carthaginians. When the Roman infantrymen had begun to form, the Carthaginian heavy cavalry had smashed through them into the Roman and allied Gallic cavalry behind the velites – a perfectly executed plan by his general.

    Now his own men and the men on the left flank had performed a neat manoeuvre and had encircled the Roman cavalry and infantry. ‘Slice the dogs down; I want to see no Roman breathing on the field before us, kill them all!!’, Manugas was enraptured, he never felt more alive then when he was on the battlefield, his men had responded to his command, now free to kill their opposing horseman, as well as the lightly armed Velites. Manugas watched with professional appreciation as a young Numidian from his unit, drew back his arm and sent his javelin hurtling through a Gallic horseman, a wonderful shot, it flew through the left hand side of the man’s body and left him looking bemused in horror as it passed through the other side. Manugas laughed, the man now resembled an appetizer!

    He could see a clump of his men forming around a bunch of Roman horseman, and he pulled his reins towards the direction of the melee. He spotted the fine looking armour on the man in the centre of the group, his bodyguards equally attired in the finest equipment that the Roman Republic could supply. Manugas did a quick double take, he recognised the man from his time in Rome, the Consul, Scipio the Elder! He roared at the men around him, ‘follow me, the man who kills their general will be well rewarded!!’ a host of Numidians answered his call. They knew if they killed or captured the Consul that they would be rich men.

    Manugas and his men hit the Romans surrounding Scipio the Elder like a thunderstorm, Manugas was a man possessed, he lashed out all around him a Roman tried to block his progress, but the Carthaginian snarled at the Roman, using the rage he felt inside and drove his sword clean through the Roman’s torso and then withdrew his blade and smashed the man on his head with the hilt of the weapon. He could hear an audible crack, as the man’s skull collapsed, sending bone fragments and a gory spray of blood over Manugas face, he laughed, licked the blood off his lips and carried on forward, the press of Roman and Carthaginian alike preventing him from wielding his sword as freely again. To his great joy one of his men had run Scipio through, but the Consul’s men had again closed around him, shielding the Consul from further direct assault.

    Then from nowhere he noticed a young man charging alone into the fray, a man who closely resembled Scipio the Elder, it couldn’t be, but yet it was…the son! Manugas’s pushing intensified as he tried to get to both men, he could see more Roman horseman following the younger Scipio’s mad dash to rescue his father. ‘Stop them, kill them all, fight you sons of Carthage!!’ Manugas could sense the change around the men safeguarding Scipio the Elder, they fought like demons to free themselves from the press of men, and met Scipio’s son as he fought his way through to his father.

    ‘No, no, stop them!’ Manugas could not reach either senior Roman from his position, his frustration grew as every passing second the two men and their ever shrinking group of consular cavalry broke their way out of the encirclement. A last Roman stood between Manugas and the Scipio’s, Manugas launched himself at the man, swinging his sword at the man’s head, but the Roman saw the clumsy swing coming and ducked beneath the blade, and struck out with his shield then followed swiftly with his pole arm, the spear crashing against Manugas’s helm, his head spun and he slipped from his horse and hit the ground with a jarring thud, the last thing he saw was the Scipio’s leaving the field, then his world turned black....

    {-----------------------}

    Marcianus had taken the news that the Consul was missing, presumed dead with the stoicism of a professional soldier. He had informed the praetors of the situation and had dutifully returned to his post. He had positioned Lucius under the gate with two Contubernia’s of men, ready to swing the gate shut if the situation demanded it. In the meantime more men were returning from the battlefield. Down below him back in the camp, officers were restoring order to the panicked velites and horsemen.

    ‘Centurion, I think I can see consular cavalry sir’ a young legionary looked eagerly at Marcianus, pointing away to the North.

    ‘Let me see lad’, although Marcianus was knocking on a bit, he still prided himself on having keen eyesight. He could see a group of cavalrymen in the familiar consular uniform, one of them being helped along by the rest, the Consul by the look of the man, ‘By the Gods your right boy’, leaning over the parapet he called down to Lucius, ‘Verres, get the men formed up, make sure the Consul can get to the medical tent without any delays; crack a few skulls if you need too!’

    Lucius responded and he and his men drove a wedge into the crowd of men seeking to make it to the relative safety of the camp, using their shields to bash their way through the crush. As the horsemen neared, the younger man, who Lucius recognised as Scipio the younger, nodded to him in thanks, as the horseman went swept through the gate in haste and headed for the medical tent. Lucius breathed a sigh of relief, the Consul had now returned. But what now, surely the Carthaginians would attack the camp?

    {-----------------------}

    Marcianus had new orders.

    The camp had been nervous over the last few hours, everyone waiting for the Carthaginians, but they had not appeared. From what the Centurion could gather, Hannibal’s men had not closed on the fort, because of a lack of heavy infantry, the promised Gauls he was waiting for had not arrived yet.


    So that gave the Consul a chance to slip away and meet up with the second Consul for the year, Tiberius Sempronius Longus who had been hastily recalled from Sicily and who was making his way to just south of the river Po. The plan was for them to break out tonight under cover of darkness, then shelter overnight in Piacenza, before finally meeting up with Longus. Their combined forces would meet by the river Po and defeat Hannibal together. Over the hours the camp had emptied piece by piece, cartwheels greased, hooves covered in cloth, equipment tied down and the normally gleaming arms and armour given a dull sheen to avoid reflecting moonlight.

    Now just six hundred men remained, and now these men marched out of the deserted camp. These men had been chosen to march out and block the path of the Carthaginians at a bridge that had been torn up to avoid its use by the Punics.Marcianus men had been given their orders, they were part of the six hundred.

    {-----------------------}

    Manugas had been furious when he woke up, his men had carried him back to camp, rather than press the attack on the Scipio’s. Sometimes he thought the world comprised of fools. He thought that Hannibal would be furious at the escape of the two men, but he had shrugged as if it was of no account, asked Manugas if he was fit to continue and then thanked him for his performance in the ‘battle.’ Battle? Manugas thought it more a rout.

    Apart from a sore head the Carthaginian felt fine, the Gods had looked after him again it would seem. His men had been tasked with leading the army towards the Roman encampment, Hannibal had been surprised when told it was now deserted, but had quickly recovered and ordered the army to follow on the heels of the Romans. And now Manugas sat watching as a cohort of Romans sat opposite him barring the way over the river, a bridge torn up behind them, these men sacrificed by their leaders in their haste to get away or to buy time, depending on your viewpoint. The rest of the army stood waiting behind him, waiting to see what their Numidian cavalry could do.

    Time to have some more fun...

    {-----------------------}

    Marcianus had been told that his men were to buy time with their lives, but if he saw fit he could perform a fighting retreat if he deemed it possible.

    However, he had little faith in the leader of their little cohort. The man had seemed nervous from the start, and from Marcianus position he could now see him shaking with fear. Light cavalry had formed opposite their position, something about their officer seemed familiar, but how could that possibly be? Marcianus pushed the thought to the back of his mind, concentrating on the quaking senior centurion, he had seen men break before and this man was teetering right on the edge.

    ‘Ddddrop your weapons! Wwwe’ve done enough lads, we need to surrender. We have done our ddduty, the army will be long gone by now!’, the Centurion was stuttering with fear, he even stripped off his own gladius and dropped it to the ground with a clatter. Men looked at each other with confused looks on their faces, but used to obeying orders, first in one and twos, then in groups’ men complied with the order.

    All except the men of the 4th they looked at Marcianus and waited for him to comply first.

    Lucius could see the blood pressure rising on his friends face, first red, then purple, the rage, contempt and hatred boiling inside, his fists clenching and unclenching at his sides until he snapped his vine cane unknowingly. He looked down upon the broken symbol of his authority, then looked up and stared at the senior Centurion, finally he gave vent to his temper hollering at the top of his voice as he flung the broken cane away in disgust, ‘you’re a bloody coward! call yourself a son of Mars, could a bloody disgrace!!!’ with that Marcianus turned to his own men, ‘4th, fall back in good order, eyes to the front!’

    Slowly the 4th walked backwards away from the rest of their comrades, a handful of who now ignored their own officers and joined the ranks of Marcianus men. Slowly the Numidian cavalry came towards them, ignoring the surrendered legionaries, who were being shepherded to the rear of the Carthaginian army by a unit of Iberian infantry.

    Then Lucius recognised the man leading the horsemen, ‘his old friend’ Manugas…
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 14, 2012 at 05:24 AM. Reason: new format
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  9. #89
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 9/5

    Brilliant mate! Well worth the wait...

    Manugas has been 'reunited' with our friends quicker than I thought. I'll look forward to their little personal clash.

    +rep

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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 9/5

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot12 View Post
    Brilliant mate! Well worth the wait...

    Manugas has been 'reunited' with our friends quicker than I thought. I'll look forward to their little personal clash.

    +rep
    Thanks SB.

    The 'little clash' to come forms part of the 2nd half of the battle of Ticinus, which was more a series of retreats by the Romans than a 'stand
    up battle'.

    Its a difficult battle to portray as it was spread over a number of days, but its marks the first clash between Rome and Carthage on Italian soil so it needs to be written about before battles such as Trebia and Cannae etc.

    I felt I needed to split the chapter in half as it was becoming too lengthy. I'm hoping to have the 2nd half ready after the weekend.
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; May 10, 2012 at 03:25 AM. Reason: Editing
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 9/5

    Chapter Twenty Four - A Numidian Brother

    Battle of Ticinus, Northern Italia – November 218BC

    Lucius eyes locked upon those of Manugas…his heart screamed for revenge, his inner demon clawing within him to be unleashed and run howling like a madman at the Carthaginian and his Numidian horde, but his soldierly instincts told him no….now was not the time, but would he ever have another time to extract revenge?

    Lucius gaze shifted behind that of the encroaching Numidian horsemen, to the whole of the Carthaginian army stood waiting calmly behind their cavalry screen. Like spectators at a festival games waiting for combatants to start the day’s entertainment…he knew he needed to be a leader of men, Marcianus and the men needed him now more than ever, to keep his temper in check. He looked too Marcianus for guidance, although how the Centurion would get them out of here was beyond the young Optio. He could feel the sweat on his right hand as he gripped his gladius, yet he was not afraid, more resigned to his fate, here, now, he and his men would meet their deaths, but they would not run, and they would not surrender; he looked once more at his Centurion and saw his own thoughts etched on the features of Marcianus, his friend gave him an almost imperceptible nod of encouragement.

    ‘Form Tesutudo’ the Centurion gave the order quietly, Lucius could see the merits; they would be covered from a shower of javelins from the light horsemen, the cavalry would have to come close and engage them. They would take as many of the ‘horse lovers’ as they could with them…

    {-----------------------}

    Manugas knew his orders, do not waste time in a lengthy engagement, his general had told him he wanted to press on quickly and chase down the fleeing Scipio. His orders clearly stated take prisoners if they did not slow you down, ignore units that would resist, concentrate solely on eating up the ground between Hannibal’s men and the bulk of the retreating Romans led by the ailing Consul Scipio. He should skirt around the defiant century, leave them to be taken by the infantry, or to wither away of their own accord when they realised their line of retreat had been severed.

    But then he saw the faces of the officers of the only century that would not drop their arms in cowardice…the Verres men…he could feel his temperature rising, the conflict between obeying the orders of Hannibal, and of extracting revenge on the men who had made him flee Rome, who had made him run with his tail between his legs like a whipped dog was unbearable…he knew he should pin them with javelins and then circle them, while heavy infantry was brought up to deal with them…no! The voice came out of his own body almost of its own volition ‘draw your blades and kill the dogs!’ he could not resist the inner voice, the one that drove him to kill, to disobey orders, to kill the men in front of him…to use the wrong tactic.

    {-----------------------}

    Marcianus thought the man leading the enemy must be mad! ‘Form four ranks! Front rank to use Pila, pass them from the back!’ the men responded efficiently, even the men from other centuries, every soldier knew the standard commands of a Roman century. Men stood next to new comrades with the minimum of shuffling of places, no fuss, no bother; all ready to perform their duty. The Numidians gathered pace as they charged, Marcianus responded as they moved within the perfect killing range, ‘release Pila, fast as you can, pass them forward!!’, the arms of the men shot back, as soon as they had released one javelin, another was thrust in their hand from their comrade standing immediately behind them, again and again, until each man had released at least three of the deadly end weighted missiles.

    Men and horses fell in a mess of flesh, the pitiful cries of man and beast echoing together across the frost covered plain, Lucius stole a glance behind him, perhaps, just perhaps, they could make it over the shallow river and across to the Southern bank, to make their way back to their own army who were well on their way to Piacenza. Lucius turned back to survey the scene of destruction in front of the Century, he was astounded that the Numidians were still coming on, their superb horsemanship meant that could guide their mounts around the dead and dying all around them
    Marcianus was pleased, his men had performed well, given the chronically bad situation they were in, with little chance of escape, no man had wavered. As the Centurion looked along the ranks of his men, his chest swelled with pride. No man here would run he knew the time would soon be on them to fight man to man, ‘drop pila! Draw Gladii, hold steady lads brace for impact!’

    The Numidians light mounts were not made to charge at a heavy infantry unit that was standing firm; they were meant to chase down a fleeing foe.
    They did not charge headlong at the infantry as heavy cavalry would have done, they slowed as they neared the infantry leaning down from their horses to stab with javelins improvised as pole arms, or used spears and a mix of short swords. Marcianus studied the front rank, the line was holding, although the Numidians closed slowly because of the casualties they had sustained, in their keenness they had bunched in the centre, which caused them to get in each others way. All sense of leadership and command and common sense had seemed to desert the horsemen, Manugas seemed intent on forcing his mount through to Lucius, Marcianus could see the look in the man’s eyes he had lost his senses!

    The Centurion seized the opportunity, ‘second rank, move forward! Stick it to them, third rank watch their backs!!’ Marcianus wanted to turn the fight into a vicious brawl, were the Numidians natural riding ability could be neutralized. Lucius shouted encouragement to the men around him taking his lead from Marcianus, who stood at the front on the far left, he had stood himself in the front rank, dead centre, prepared to lead by example. All around the young Optio, men were pulling Numidians from their mounts while other men butchered them, he could smell the iron tang of blood, his feet slipping on ground wet with the urine, dung and other fluids of men and animals alike. He was soon fighting for his own life when a horseman came towards Lucius with a spear, a feral snarl locked on his face, a set of gleaming white teeth locked together under an oiled black moustache.

    As the man leaned in close and made a slight backwards move of his right shoulder to pull back his spear for a thrust, Lucius turned his body sideways, and lifted his shield above his head blocking the spear thrust, with his right hand he drove his blade deep into the flank of the horse causing it to rear up, lash out wildly and unseat its rider, Lucius quickly dropped his body weight on the downed rider and drove his gladius into his throat, a spray of crimson blood shot upwards in an arch covering him from the head down to the chest. A helping hand dragged Lucius back into line, his big friend Andronicus smiling at him as with the other hand he covered the both of them with his shield. As both men stood together in the front rank, they could feel the pressure ease slightly.

    {-----------------------}

    Manugas was incensed, he was fighting his way through his own men, smashing them with the flat of his sword, he would kill these Verres men, no man made him flee, these men would die. All around him he was immune to the sounds of the suffering of his own men and their beloved horses, he did not care, was not even aware of the bloody mess his tactical mistake was turning out to be.

    Manugas felt the pressure relax, the bunching of his own men against the front rank had slackened; his men were beginning to flinch from the raw aggression of the Roman soldiers they faced. He would not let them run, he would not let them be cowards again, not after the last time, when it had cost his general so dearly….

    ‘Hold you scum, kill them all, take no prisoners, I want their heads!!’ Manugas in his cold fury saw a man backing away from the fight, he looked at the man with utter contempt and as the man neared him with a panic stricken look on his face, the Carthaginian drove his blade through the mans left eye and out of his skull in a single solid punched motion, his men around him bore witness to his deed in stunned disbelief, he did not care, they would learn obedience or die. He screamed at them ‘turn and fight, or I will cut the next mans manhood off!!’

    {-----------------------}

    Marcianus had noticed the pressure easing too, he knew it was now or never, he would need to break these Numidians and retreat back across the river, hoping that the main Carthaginian forces would deem them insignificant enough to leave alone.

    ‘Third and forth ranks into the fray, kill or die lads!!’ the men under his command knew the situation was beyond desperate just as well as the veteran centurion, this was no time for finesse, or the structured roman way of killing, this was a street brawl, no rules, no honour, no quarter… Marcianus fought with his men, he had seen the crazed Manugas slaughter one of his own men, the man was totally unhinged, driven with a fury, that had cost his own men dearly. Marcianus attention shifted as an unhorsed Numidian closed in on him, the Numidians coming forward again as Manugas’s fury had spurred his men on for one more attack.

    The Numidian came at him with a short sword held uncertainly before him, the Centurion simply stepped through to the man, smashed the warrior with his shield boss and flicked his gladius out into the man’s stomach and ripped and twisted, the practiced movement of the training ground put into deadly perfect motion. As he withdrew the blade, out of the blooded flow of stinking guts, another came to take the dead man’s place. An older man, he held his spear with authority, Marcianus again came forward, waited for the man to lunge, and then dropped his shield in a downwards motion locking the man’s spear on the ground, whilst the warriors own momentum carried him forward.

    Marcianus smiled at him, while he drove his gladius into his throat, blood pulsing over the man and covering Marcianus hand and forearm. The Centurion instincts had told him the fighting had eased yet again, he had time to look up and see that his men were grinding the Numidians into the ground, men were already slipping away from the edges of the fighting and leaving their comrades to die in their stead. Then he saw Manugas riding towards Lucius, a bitter smile locked on his face…

    {-----------------------}

    Lucius had seen him too, he could hardly not notice him, as he called to Lucius in Latin, ‘roman pig Verres you are mine!’ In his crazed state, Manugas rode towards Lucius and slid from his saddle and charged straight for him, his sword aiming for Lucius head. The young Optio left the safety of the ranks of his own men and strode to meet him, ’His mine!’ were the only words he uttered as he strode forward, with the memory of a dying Quintus upper most in his mind.

    The men ran towards each other in a flurry of blows and a series of punched movements of their shields. Most men from both sides leaving them alone, content to let them fight their own private duel. As they fought together their eyes locked one upon the other, Andronicus noticed a young Numidian edging closer to the fight, as the man neared them, the giant Greek ran forward to protect his friend, his gladius held horizontally in a constant stabbing motion, as he battered any Numidian in his way with his shield and finished them off with his blade. Andronicus knew he would be too slow to reach his friend, he would not make it in time; the press of cavalrymen all around him was too much, he shouted in his frustration ‘Lucius watch your back!’

    Lucius turned as the young Numidian reached him, the Numidian lunged forward with a short sword, the sword passed Lucius right hand side and plunged deep into….Manugas. The shock registered on the Carthaginians officer’s face, the man who had stabbed him, had the same face as the coward he had stabbed through the eye. The young Numidian grinned at Lucius, and twisted the blade in Manugas around and around and then up and out, through all the muscle, tissue, organs and intestines, Manugas let out a scream of inhuman agony…Lucius incredulity was broken by Marcianus bellowed order ‘Disengage!!; Fall back over the river!!’
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 14, 2012 at 05:54 AM. Reason: new format
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  12. #92
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 11/5

    What's that saying? What goes around comes around? - Quite fitting in this case...

    An unexpected, yet brilliant, twist my friend - although I did think Lucius would finish him off.

    You must've read the Simon Scarrow books? Manugas reminds me of Ajax, Marcianus of Macro, and to a lesser extent Lucius of Cato...

    Keep it up, and I hope they get back with less trouble!

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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 11/5

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot12 View Post
    What's that saying? What goes around comes around? - Quite fitting in this case...

    An unexpected, yet brilliant, twist my friend - although I did think Lucius would finish him off.

    You must've read the Simon Scarrow books? Manugas reminds me of Ajax, Marcianus of Macro, and to a lesser extent Lucius of Cato...

    Keep it up, and I hope they get back with less trouble!
    Yep, you've guessed it! I'm a real fan of Scarrow, Kane etc, I have nowhere near their time, resources or skill though!

    Glad you are still following, I may update my other two stories next week, time permitting
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  14. #94
    Robin de Bodemloze's Avatar Nothing is true
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 11/5

    Somehow missed this after the first few chapters, but after picking it up again I must say - great work!!

    Particularly liked Lucius' evolution through the chapters. Thought it was very well described.
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 11/5

    Quote Originally Posted by robinzx View Post
    Somehow missed this after the first few chapters, but after picking it up again I must say - great work!!

    Particularly liked Lucius' evolution through the chapters. Thought it was very well described.
    Glad you found time to stop by

    Thanks for the feedback and the rep, if you have time please check out the two other in my signature - honest feedback apprieciated
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  16. #96
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 11/5

    Chapter Twenty Five - A Gaul Returns

    Battle of Ticinus, Northern Italia – November 218BC

    Lucius felt the icy cold water bite at his ankles, then the shins, then his knees, the water rising around him until it reached chest height. It was like walking encased in ice, he and the men around him walking backwards into the Po, supporting each other so they did not stumble or get swept away, they had luckily managed to cross the river at one of its narrowest and shallowest point, their eyes locked on the Carthaginian forces on the other side of the river from them.

    Lucius thoughts were in a whirl, Manugas was dead, the young Carthaginian soldier that had killed him, was wading through the water at his side, the legionaries around Lucius had seen who had slain the crazed cavalry commander and had let the young man alone, but wary eyes still watched the turncoat newcomer closely. The waters of the Po in November were freezing, but he and the men could just about cross it without losing anyone, normally the current would be faster, but the Gods had smiled upon them and the water remained placid and unusually low for winter time.

    In front of him he could see the traverse crest of Marcianus’s helmet, the Centurion had been the last man to enter the water, making sure that his men had all entered the river before him, Lucius could not understand why the Punics did not just roll right over them, unless Hannibal was in a hurry of course…a hurry to catch up with Consul Scipio.

    Marcianus had a bitter smile on his face, he had lost good men today, but he may still have a chance of getting what was left of his command clear of the Carthaginians. He watched closely as what was left of the Numidian cavalry remounted and swept away back towards their own forces, herding the small unit of Iberian infantry and their captive legionaries before them.
    To the Centurion’s immense relief he witnessed the turning of the vast column of troops away from them as the Numidians and Iberians neared the host, the captive legionaries swallowed up amongst the Carthaginians and lost to his sight, the mass of men heading West, away from them, and following the natural contours of the river, and then heading south again, leaving the depleted Century to leave the water unmolested and unhindered.

    As the men reached the Southern shore the Centurion’s thoughts turned to what they would need to do next, Marcianus assumed that there would be no way for him to get his command back to the army of Scipio what with Hannibal being directly between them. Which meant one thing. A forced march sweeping well to the south of Hannibal’s route of march with the somewhat hopeful aim of reaching Consul Longus who would be working his way North from Rome. His men would have an exhausting time ahead of them, but at least they were still alive. The pressing problem would be to get clear of the river now in case the Carthaginians changed their mind and decided to eliminate the little Century. Plus they would need supplies.

    Pointing back over the river Marcianus shouted at his men, ‘right lads, column of March, let’s be moving! Were heading away from that little lot; we have an appointment to keep with Consul Longus.’ Marcianus sounded a lot more confident than he felt, he knew that both Consuls would be heading for the land around the river Trebbia, but when they would get there, and if they could get there before Hannibal was another thing.

    ‘You heard the Centurion boys, let’s be moving; we need to put distance between us and the Punics.’ Lucius cajoled the men onto their feet, the century quickly taking shape and marching off to an uncertain future.

    {-----------------------}

    Erastus had slipped into the camp last night unseen by the Roman sentries, his years as a warrior had made him able to creep into the camp without a single noise or breathe giving him away. This was the small cavalry camp adjoined to the main legionary camp of the retreating army of the Scipio’s, they had managed to keep one step in front of Hannibal’s army over the proceeding couple of days, even now the Druid knew that the enemies of his people were preparing to move yet again, hoping to join up with Consul Longus.

    When Erastus had had his visions of a man who would lead his people to freedom and who would stamp all over the arrogance of the Romans, he had seen a man who he would later know as Hannibal. A vision come to fruition a man who would bring fire and sword to the greedy Latin’s. Erastus had had time to work his spell on the Gaulish cavalry in the camp over the preceding night. He had assured the men that after the defeat of Consul Scipio and his wounding, that this was only a sign of things to come as the power of the Romans was challenged and destroyed by the Carthaginians.

    He had convinced them that they would be welcomed if they turned from the side of the Romans and joined their brothers of the Boii and Insubres at the side of Hannibal. They would have to give a small gift to Hannibal first though; a sign of their allegiance and commitment to their new cause. He turned to look at the warrior by his side, standing ready with a bow and a lit torch.

    Erastus heard the first screams of agony and torment come from the tents of the Roman cavalry stationed amongst the Gallic horsemen, he became aware of the dimly lit shapes of warriors coming out of the tents of the Romans, warriors clutching blooded objects in their left hands….the heads of men. He could hear the panic spread through the camp, the sounds of men fighting, the clash of metal upon metal, he signalled to the bowman who lit an arrow and sent it high up into the night sky. The Gaulish warriors melted into the trees around the camp, meeting their comrades and mounting their horses held ready by these same men. Erastus watched satisfied as more panic spread from the smaller cavalry camp to its larger legionary neighbour.

    At the sound of the gates between the two camps opening and the tramp of heavy sandaled feet, the Druid smiled, satisfied that his night of mischief had been completed. He led the bowman away over the ramparts, over the earthen ditch and across into the surrounding forest. Clear of the approaching legionaries he could afford to feel self satisfied, the Romans would not dare follow his warriors over the wall and into the trees, for fear of ambush and the ever approaching Carthaginians. He had secured two thousand horsemen for Hannibal, and no doubt a couple of hundred Roman heads too, not bad for one nights work….
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 14, 2012 at 06:05 AM.
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  17. #97
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 22/5

    A new character!

    Great update, and the Romans should have known the Gauls would betray them.

    I'm looking forward to seeing where Lucius and the men go next.

    +rep

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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 22/5

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot12 View Post
    A new character!

    Great update, and the Romans should have known the Gauls would betray them.

    I'm looking forward to seeing where Lucius and the men go next.

    +rep
    Ah, not a new character SB, look back at chapters 9 and 11, Erastus was the Druid and former warrior leading his people to safety.

    This was more of a linking chapter, as the actual desertion and betrayal of the Gaulish cavalry did take place, I wanted to mention it in the story, so Erastus would have always been returning - you will see more of him.
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  19. #99
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 22/5

    Oh aye... It's so long ago...

    Anyways, I'm still looking forward to seeing more of him.

    Hows the TofC coming along?

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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 22/5

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot12 View Post
    Oh aye... It's so long ago...

    Anyways, I'm still looking forward to seeing more of him.

    Hows the TofC coming along?
    It's not at the moment, I'm hoping to find some spare time at some point. At the minute I only seem to have time to write updates.

    Update - have added a table of contents, its not snazzy, but it works!!
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; May 24, 2012 at 09:24 AM.
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