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Thread: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated November 26, 2017]

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    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated November 26, 2017]

    Andraste’s Children
    (Iceni AAR)

    The Roman conquest of Britain began in 43 AD, 315 years after the Grand Campaign begins. If the Iceni had been warned of the danger of Roman invasion three centuries before it happened, would the Iceni have acted differently – or would the warning have been forgotten in the mists of time?

    Usually, a prologue is set before the story begins. In this tale, the prologue happens more than 300 years after the first chapter – and in a parallel world. In this parallel world, Britannia (as the Romans called Britain) has been occupied by the Roman Army.

    Prologue: Andraste’s Daughter (part 1)

    Boudica felt tears running freely down her cheeks as she walked through the trees. The setting sun was reflected in the orange and gold of the autumn leaves. The gold of the autumn leaves was the only gold she had left, she reflected bitterly. She had known wealth, happiness and security, once. She thought it would last forever. She was wrong.

    When Boudica had been a child, her father, the king of the Trinovantes tribe, had told her that her name meant ‘victory’. Boudica had never known her mother. Boudica was born in Camulodunum, the capital of the Trinovantes and the chief city of eastern Britain. When she was a young girl, Camulodunum fell, first to the Catuvellauni tribe and then to the Roman Ninth Legion.





    Camulodunum became the capital of the Roman province of Britannia. Boudica’s father took his people north to escape the invaders. They found sanctuary in the lands of the Iceni. Boudica grew into a tall, strong and fearless woman. She could run as swiftly as any man. She was equally adept with axe and bow.

    Boudica could walk so quietly in the forest, it was said, that she could whisper to the deer before slaying them with her bow and bringing their carcasses home for a feast. At feasts, when people gathered to tell stories around the fire, Boudica’s quick wits and bright eyes held the attention of her listeners. She was a hunter, a story-teller and a leader. Men challenged her to contests of strength and martial skill, hoping to impress her and win her heart. When her strength and speed put theirs to shame, they gave up hope of winning Boudica. When Prasutagus, son of the King of the Iceni tribe, pursued Boudica, he did not try to compete with her strength or speed. Instead, he joined her at the fire after the feast. After she had told her best tales, stirring the hearts of her audience, Prasutagus responded with tales of his own. He did not try to outdo her in storytelling. Instead, he wove his stories so that they intertwined with hers. That was when she knew that she had found the man for her.

    Now, years later, Boudica knew cold defeat. Her husband, Prasutagus, had become King of the Iceni when his father died. He had ruled over fertile green lands. He was loyal until his death to the Romans who occupied Britain. King Prasutagus had believed that his loyalty would allow his wife to inherit his kingdom after his death. He had trusted their Roman overlords to allow this. Her husband had been too trusting, thought Boudica, clenching her fists tightly.

    As King Prasutagus lay dying, he had sent a messenger to the Roman governor, Publius Ostorius Scapula, begging him to come and meet the King of the Iceni one last time. Perhaps, in his last days, he had begun to wonder if the Romans would keep their promises. Boudica remembered how her husband had sat up in bed, pushed aside the furs which kept him warm, and looked with a pathetic eagerness towards the entrance asking “has the governor come?” Boudica had wondered why her husband was so desperate to see the Roman governor. She had not known about King Prasutagus’s enormous debts to Roman banks, then. Publius Ostorius Scapula did not come. Perhaps the Roman governor had been too frail or ill to travel – he was an old man. Perhaps, Boudica thought later, the Roman governor had not wanted to give King Prasutagus false reassurance that the lands and leadership of the Iceni would pass to Boudica after her husband’s death, as King Prasutagus had wanted.

    After her husband’s life had ended, Catus Decianus, the Roman procurator, had come from Camulodunum to inspect the lands and people of the Iceni. At first, Catus Decanius had greeted her warmly as Queen of the Iceni. She remembered how her new Roman overlord had looked at her greedily. His hungry eyes had met hers and then followed her tawny hair down past her shoulders, her back and below her waist. She remembered shivering inwardly as he inspected her beautiful daughters, who were already old enough to use an axe or a bow.

    At the feast, that evening, when he had talked eagerly of the fertility of the lands of the Iceni, she had realised what Catus Decanius intended. This Roman governor regarded everything he had seen – Iceni lands, the Iceni tribe, even Boudica’s family – as his own property. When Boudica reminded Catus Decanius that King Prasatugas had left his lands to her, he told her that her husband had been deeply in debt to Rome. The Iceni lands and property now belonged to Rome’s Empire. As the procurator, the chief financial officer for the Roman administration in Britain, Catus Decanius had come to take possession of everything which was hers.


    Chapters

    Chapters posted in 2016:

    Prologue, part 1
    Prologue, part 2

    Chapter One
    Chapter Two
    Chapter Three
    Chapter Four
    Chapter Five
    Chapter Six
    Chapter Seven
    Chapter Eight
    Chapter Nine
    Chapter Ten

    Chapters posted in 2017:

    Chapter Eleven
    Chapter Twelve
    Chapter Thirteen
    Chapter Fourteen
    Chapter Fifteen
    Chapter Sixteen
    Chapter Seventeen
    Chapter Eighteen
    Chapter Nineteen
    Chapter Twenty
    Chapter Twenty-one
    Chapter Twenty-two
    Chapter Twenty-three
    Chapter Twenty-four
    Chapter Twenty-five
    Chapter Twenty-six


    Links to maps


    BBC – Native Tribes of Britain, here

    Roman conquest of Britain (shows the locations of Celtic tribes) here

    Celtic Coins map, here

    Blog

    If you would like to know about the historical inspiration, the influences and the thinking behind this AAR, they are explained in my historystrategywriting blog. Comments and feedback, both on this thread and on the blog, are welcome.

    Mods

    Zoom All the Way Down by Re’goso

    Sebidee's Iceni Roster Expansion, which is available separately and is also included in his larger Unit Roster Overhaul.

    .Mitch's Guaranteed Major Faction Empires

    Time Travelin' Tim's No Civil War Emperor Edition

    From chapter 11 onwards, I am also using Hackmeister's Agent Rebalanced, Turquoise_Falcon's A More Aggressive AI and B.Est FOE's Pikemen Start Battles with Pikes (I have also removed the No Civil War mod.)

    Are you considering writing your first AAR (or already writing your first AAR)?

    For screenshots, I use Fraps to take pictures (you can download fraps for free). Before starting the game, start Fraps. When playing the game, press f10 to take a picture. Fraps saves the pictures in C:/Fraps/Screenshots. I use Paint.net to crop the pictures and to save them in jpeg format. I use an image sharing web site (tinypic.com; other image sharing sites are available) to upload pictures. When I have uploaded the picture, tinypic.com provides a code which I copy and paste into my AAR chapter - so that, when the chapter appears on the screen, the picture appears where I put the code.

    I suggest saving replays after each battle. It is possible to play the battle with the unit banners turned on - and then turn off unit banners for the replay, when you take pictures. As well as making it easier to take pictures, I sometimes notice things which I didn't see when I played the battle, which can provide extra ideas for your story.

    The
    Critic's Quill can be a great source of ideas and inspiration. If you are considering writing your first AAR, you could look at Writing a First AAR: Ten things you can do.

    If you would like to attract readers to your AAR, you could post a short summary and a link on the
    Advertising Board. After you have posted a few chapters, you could enter the Monthly AAR Competition (even if you don't win, this can bring more people to look at your story.)

    If you would like to add a link to your AAR in your signature (or anywhere else, e.g. on the Advertising Board), I explain how in the spoiler.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    To put the name of your AAR and the url together so that the name of your AAR becomes a link, you would do this:-
    - Type the name of the AAR
    - Copy and paste the url of your AAR
    - Highlight the text where you have written the name of the AAR
    - Looking in the bar (immediately above the box where you are typing) which includes the letters B, I and U (which, of course, makes text bold, italic or underlined); looking along that bar, do you see the blue circle (in between the yellow smiling face and the other blue circle with the red cross) - select that blue circle
    - in the box which appears, paste the url in the box which is labelled URL and click 'OK'

    The name of your AAR should now be a link to your AAR. (If you want to do this in your signature, select 'My Account' from the top right hand side of the Total War Center web page and then select 'Edit Signature' from the left hand side of the page which appears.)


    Thanks
    Thanks to IneptCmdr (for inspiring me to write AARs), Lugotorix (for inspiring me to write a Rome II AAR). I’m grateful to FrostySOTF, whose Creative Writing course at TWC University motivated me to write an assignment on the Iceni involving their war-goddess Andraste. Caillagh and other members of the Critic’s Quill and Writers’ Study team: your thinking encouraged me to turn that assignment into an AAR – thank you! Everyone who posts in the TWC Rome II Strategy & Tactics forum has my gratitude for teaching me how to be less terrible at battles. Thanks to McScottish, who was the first to comment on the first version of this AAR (before the forum rolled back and all updates from December 25 to January 12 were lost), for your kind encouragement.
    Last edited by Alwyn; November 26, 2017 at 09:39 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR)

    Great to see this back after the forum crash!

    During christmas when visiting family in the UK, we had a discussion about the long history of strong female rulers in England. Then one mentioned Boudica and we had a good talk about her. Then when you posted this originally on the 6th or so, I actually showed your AAR around as a follow-up for the previous discussion. Mind these people where all non-gaming people whatsoever. They still thought it was quite amazing how people write stories and use games as media to supplement the story.

    So... looking forward to more updates to show around next time when I'm in the UK.

    Cheers!
    Chronicles of Cimmeria - A Kimmerios Bosporos AAR (EB2)
    The Age of Peace - A TW: Warhammer Empire AAR
    Blood Red Eagle - The Sons of Lodbrok Invasion of Northumbrialand [complete]
    Machines - A Sci-Fi Short Story [complete]

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    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR)

    Thanks, Zeion! Yes, Boudica is just one example of a long history of strong female leaders here. The second part of the prologue is coming fairly soon. Your new AAR, Blood Red Eagle, looks great - I recommend that readers look at Zeion's writing, you'll find links in his signature above.

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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR)

    Prologue: Andraste’s Daughter (part 2)

    If only the feasting hall was not surrounded by Roman soldiers, Boudica would have taught this Roman fool a lesson he would have remembered for the rest of his short life! Boudica left the feasting hall, feeling the hungry eyes of Catus Decianus watching her. Suddenly, he appeared in her room, walking unsteadily and setting down a tankard on a table. When he put a greasy hand on her shoulder and tried to remove her fine blue cloak, she slapped his face, hard. He staggered, looking dazed. She had thought that she could get out and find her guards. If she could just start to run, he was in no condition to catch her. But, as she turned to escape, he grabbed her cloak and knocked her to the floor.

    When men came, they were Roman soldiers, not Iceni guards. They had tied her hands, removed her cloak and her long tunic. They had beaten her until blood ran down her back and then left her, as if she did not matter. They had taken her daughters, whose innocence and youth did not protect them. Boudica blinked back the tears and clenched her fists more tightly, digging her nails into the palms of her hands. If only she had foreseen these events. How could she not have known that the Romans could not be trusted? The years of peace had made her soft and her tribe vulnerable to these Roman hawks.

    Boudica brought her mind back to the present moment and the forest around her. Blaming herself for past mistakes would not help. She saw a hare which, startled, fled further into the forest. On impulse, Boudica ran swiftly after the hare, scattering fallen autumn leaves with her feet as she ran. For just a moment, she felt free, like a child, again. If only she could keep running, leaving far behind the Iceni lands which the Romans had taken and the suffering of her people. If only she could run fast enough, perhaps she could leave it all behind and start anew, somewhere else.

    Suddenly, the hare vanished. Had it hidden behind a tree? A woman, a stranger dressed in a fine cloak and long tunic like an Iceni princess, strode into view from the place where the hare had disappeared. The women’s features looked familiar. Looking at her face, Boudica felt as if she was staring into a clear pool, seeing her own reflection. Could this vision be some trick of the light?

    But the woman was real and she spoke. “My daughter, we meet at last. I am Andraste, war goddess of the Iceni, and we have much to discuss. It is time for you to stop running from your Roman foes. It is time to realise that they are hares and foxes trying to rule over dogs and wolves.”

    Boudica’s heart beat quickly and her face shone as she beheld her mother. But still she doubted. “My mother, it would make my heart glad to defeat the Romans. But they are strong. Their Ninth Legion is in Camulodunum, the city which once belonged to my father-“

    “Are they? Truly? All of them?” asked Andraste.

    Boudica thought for a moment. “Some of the Ninth Legion are in the city. But many of the Legion’s soldiers are scattered, in small forts and towns all over eastern Britain. They are confident, too confident.” She thought some more. “They have reason to be confident. No one tribe can defeat them – the Romans proved that when they took Camulodunum from the Catuvellauni tribe.”

    “Do the Iceni need to fight alone?” asked Andraste.

    Boudica thought quickly. “No – the Catuvellauni resent losing Camulodunum to the Romans. They will support us. My father’s people, the Trinovantes, will fight with the Iceni. With three tribes, we can win.”

    “When you go to Camulodunum, my strength will be with you. When you take back the city where you were born, will you do something for me?” asked Andraste.

    “Of course, mother,” replied Boudica.

    Andraste said, “The Romans have built a temple to their god, Claudius, in Camulodunum. Burn it. Without the temple of their god, their will to resist will be weaker. With my strength running through you, my daughter, no Roman soldier will take your life. You will lead your people to take back Camulodonum!”

    Boudica and her mother hunted together and talked long into the night. Late that night, as they stretched their hands out to feel the warmth of a small fire, Boudica asked her mother if she had any brothers or sisters.

    “Not in this world, my daughter,” replied Andraste.

    “What do you mean? There are other worlds?” asked Boudica.

    “Walk with me and I will show you,” replied Andraste.

    Andraste led Boudica deeper into the forest. Looking up, Boudica was startled to see the stars appearing to blur. Now the stars were in different places in the sky. Boudica was startled to hear the crunch of snow under her feet. A moment before, she had been walking through the fallen leaves of autumn.

    “The stars seem to have moved in the sky and we are walking on snow, but before we were walking on fallen leaves,” said Boudica, “what happened? Am I dreaming?”

    “This is no dream. We are in a different world,” replied Andraste. “In this world, Rome is still in the far distance, one city-state among others. Rome might become a mighty empire and take over Iceni lands, as happened in your world, or it might not.”

    They reached the edge of the forest. Andraste pointed, “Over there! An Iceni army is marching.”



    “They have the look of farmers, not warriors. This must be a small raiding-party, not an army. They have no chariots or swordsmen – only spearman and slingers,” said Boudica.

    “These Iceni are not the tribe you know. We have not only travelled to a different world. We are also in the past, many generations before you were born.”

    “Where are they going?” asked Boudica.

    “We will soon meet my son, he can tell you. He is riding through the forest on his way to meet the Iceni commander. Would you like to meet him?” said Andraste.

    Boudica nodded, “Can I warn him of the rise of the Roman Empire? Could the Iceni of this world choose a different path and avoid the Roman occupation?”

    Andraste smiled, “You can tell him. Perhaps the Iceni of this world will listen. They will make their own choices and so will the Romans of this world.”

    They found a small town further along the edge of the forest. A group of armed riders were riding into the settlement; their leader wore a fine red cloak.



    When Andraste called out, the leader of the riders lifted his arm, signalling his men to halt, dismounted and greeted his mother. Boudica saw a dark bird in the sky above the riders, a raven or crow. Perhaps this was a bad omen for the red-cloaked man?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 16, 2016]

    Interesting premise and good use of the future prologue. I look forward to seeing how the Iceni deal with this new knowledge.

  6. #6
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 16, 2016]

    Thank you, Merchant! I'm interested in how this knowledge might have affected the Iceni. If anyone is interested in a discussion on whether unified Celts could, historically, have defeated the Roman Army, it is here. The design of Mabon's sword in this chapter is based on a real Celtic longsword; anyone who is interested in the historical background can read more in the historystrategywriting blog.


    Chapter One

    Mabon, prince of the Silures, listened as his sister, Boudica, told a story he thought he knew. He recognised the tale of the Celtic chieftain, Brennus, who had crossed distant mountains, beyond the lands of the Gauls, to defeat the vast army of a wealth city called Rome. When Boudica told of how a great Roman general defeated the tribes of Gaul, he shook his head in disbelief.

    Holding back his red cloak, Mabon drew his longsword and showed Boudica the hilt. It was decorated with the heads of two dragons; he pointed out the pieces of white coral which were the dragons’ eyes. He said, “My tribe, the Silures, trade with the Gauls. The Gauls gave us this coral. If the Gauls had been conquered, my tribe would know.”

    When Boudica explained that the Roman general had not come yet, but he would come many generations in the future, Mabon’s eyes widened. “How can you know the future?” he whispered, “Are you a druid?”

    Andraste, war goddess of the Iceni, put her hand on Mabon’s arm. Mabon looked at his mother, Andraste. “Boudica’s arrival here – and her knowledge of the future – this is your doing?” he asked. Andraste nodded.

    Boudica continued her story, telling Mabon about the days when the Roman army came to Britain, the defeat and humiliation of once-proud tribes such as the Silures and the Iceni. Mabon stroked his dark beard as he thought.

    “If this is true, then the army of Rome will be an irresistible tide. What can we do against such an enemy?” he asked. Then he answered his own question: “The tribes of Britain must come together. Perhaps, then, there will be a chance of victory when the Romans come. But how can the tribes be united? It must start here, with the Silures and the Iceni.”

    Boudica asked, “Why the Iceni? In my time, the Silures looked to the Demetae for leadership, not the Iceni, before the Romans came.”

    Mabon replied, “In this time, the Silures look to the Demetae as well. But the Demetae have changed. They demand more and more people, to be slaves or to sacrifice to their war-goddess. Even my own brother, a prince of my people … they should pay for what they have done. But the Demetae are much stronger than my tribe. I need a powerful ally. The Iceni are strong and their army is marching here.”

    Boudica asked, “What will you do?”

    “The Silures will change our allegiance from the Demetae to the Iceni,” said Mabon. “My father, the king, is sick and the Silures will follow me. I have come here to meet a prince of the Iceni. I will offer him my allegiance and my company of riders, to fight for the Iceni. The Demetae have been raiding tribes who are loyal to the Iceni, seizing people to be slaves or to be sacrificed. That is why the Iceni have sent their army here. They will demand that the Demetae stop their raids and pay silver in compensation.”

    Boudica said, “The Demetae raided Iceni lands in my time, before the Romans came. Every few years, an Iceni army would march and demand that they stop, but the raids would always start again.”

    “That’s it!” said Mabon, “that is what I will tell the prince of the Iceni. If I tell him a story about the Romans invading Iceni lands in the distant future, he will laugh at me. But he will believe that the Demetae will not keep their promises to stop raiding. When I tell that the Demetae have built ships, that news should convince him to attack.”

    Boudica asked, “Why? Do you think the Demetae will use their ships to take their army to attack Iceni territory?”

    Mabon nodded, “Exactly! While the Iceni army is here on the border, negotiating with the Demetae about compensation for the raids, the Demetae army will strike the Iceni homeland from the sea. The Iceni must attack Moridunon, the Demetae stronghold, or risk annihilation.”

    When the prince of the Iceni heard Mabon’s warning, he did not hesitate. He clasped the arm of Mabon warmly, welcoming him like a brother. With the help of Mabon’s riders and their knowledge of the land, the Iceni army marched safely to Moridunon.



    As the Iceni army approached Moridunon, Mabon thought about the plan for the battle ahead. Our slingers will run ahead and draw out the enemy from the narrow streets. Our slingers will fall back and our spearmen will run ahead, to engage the enemy. Then I will lead my horsemen to strike the enemy in the rear.

    The Iceni slingers ran ahead and sent their stones through the air towards the waiting line of Demetae spearmen.

    The plan was not working. The Demetae spearmen stood their ground, remaining in the town where buildings protected their flanks. The prince of the Iceni sent two companies of spearmen to advance to the left and right. He hoped to force the Demetae to charge his slingers. Iceni spearmen stood ready behind the slingers.



    But still the plan was not working. Mabon led his horsemen to see what was happening on the right flank. He saw two companies of Iceni spearmen lifting their shields, as they were coming under fire from Demetae slingers.

    Mabon saw the opportunity and seized it. Leading his riders forward, he charged the Demetae slingers. Seeing Mabon’s riders charging, the enemy slingers turned and ran. But they could not outrun horsemen.



    The Demetae slingers had no chance against Mabon’s horsemen and both sides knew it. Suddenly, Mabon heard a shout from ahead. Enemy swordsmen were charging towards him, their bodies painted with mysterious patterns. Now Mabon and his men were fighting for their lives, heavily outnumbered.



    Two of the painted swordsmen, seeing Mabon's red cloak, charged him. Mabon's exceptional swiftness saved him. His spear stopped the charge of one of the swordsmen. Mabon drew his sword; a quick thrust of his longsword ended the life of the other painted man. But, around him, Mabon's men were surrounded and being killed. Mabon was about to order his remaining horsemen to run, when he heard a shout from behind him. The Iceni spearmen who had been under fire from the enemy slingers were charging, turning the tide of battle.



    Another wave of Iceni spearmen – the men who had been sent on the left flank – appeared behind the enemy swordsmen, surrounding them. The Iceni had taken Moridunon, stronghold of the Demetae. But, as a winter fog settled on the town, the Iceni were not aware of the ships sailing towards the Moridunon’s harbour.

    Last edited by Alwyn; January 17, 2016 at 06:25 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 16, 2016]

    Very ominous end shot there. Enjoyed this chapter and it looks like before the Iceni might be wiped out before Rome is even a threat (wish I could give rep but some rule about spreading it around is stopping )

  8. #8

    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 16, 2016]

    Loving this painful story of Britannia. Keep the borders expanding. Remember the sun never sets.....

  9. #9
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 16, 2016]

    Thank you, Merchant - yes, there is a real danger that the Iceni will be wiped out before the Roman Empire arrives (if it does) - especially because I am in charge of the Iceni and I am not a confident commander in Rome II. Thank you, TacticalStats, I'll do my best to keep expanding the lands of the Iceni...

    Chapter Two

    As he dismounted and calmed his horse, Mabon saw Dagomaros approach him. As the Iceni army had marched to Moridunon, Iceni soldiers had told Mabon stories about their general, Dagomaros. Dagomaros was the elder brother of Adiatorix, the King of the Iceni. When their father, the old King, was dying, he had named Adiatorix as his successor. Dagomaros felt ashamed that their father had not named him as the new King, but Dagomaros was an honourable man who would never defy his father’s wishes. He remained loyal to his brother Adiatorix. Mabon had learned that the Iceni soldiers were proud of the honour and loyalty of their commander.

    “A good fight, yes?” said Dagomaros cheerfully. Then his tone became more serious, “You led your horsemen in a charge without orders.”

    Mabon was startled. He had been proud to lead his horsemen in a charge in his first battle. Was Dagomaros really accusing him of disobedience or just testing him? Mabon and his men were from the Silures tribe - perhaps Dagomaros was unsure if Mabon was truly loyal to the Iceni?

    “Yes, I did,“ replied Mabon, “I saw the spearmen on our right flank lifting their shields. The enemy slingers were hitting them hard. I saw an opportunity to help. My riders defeated the slingers easily.”

    “You showed initiative!” said Dagomaros cheerily, slapping Mabon on the back. “I would have done the same! You scattered their slingers and drew in their swordsmen. Did you anticipate that their swordsmen would attack you?”

    “I didn’t see them until they charged,” admitted Mabon, “the Iceni spearmen who followed us into the fight saved my life.“

    “Good! You admit your mistake. You will learn from it, yes?” said Dagomaros. “Some Iceni noblemen were unsure of you at first. The Demetae are the dominant tribe in the lands of the Cymru. Your people, the Silures, have looked to the Demetae for years. You, a prince of the Silures, led your men to join the Iceni in a fight with your former overlords. When you suddenly charged without warning, some of my bodyguards thought that you would turn and attack us.”

    Mabon kept his face calm. If Dagomaros believed that Mabon was a Demetae spy, then Mabon’s life would end soon. Mabon could not say that his mother was Andraste, the Iceni war goddess: Dagomaros would not believe that. Perhaps Mabon could use a version of the truth?

    “My mother, Modron, was of the Iceni tribe before she married the King of the Silures,” explained Mabon. This was true: his mother, the goddess Andraste, used the name Modron when she lived among the Silures. “The Demetae took many of my people to sacrifice to the Great Queen, their war-goddess – including my own brother.” This was true, too; Mabon’s voice was as cold as the winter wind as he said this words.

    “You feel kinship with the Iceni and you want revenge for the killing of your brother,” mused Dagomaros. “Be careful that your anger does not interfere with your judgement. A good commander anticipates how the enemy will respond.”

    Mabon nodded and showed that he was thinking ahead, “There were fewer Demetae men defending Moridunon than we expected. I sent riders to the harbour. We know that the Demetae built ships, but their ships are not in the harbour. Perhaps they are nearby.”

    A moment later, they heard a shout from one of Mabon’s riders. “Ships are approaching! They will be here soon! This must be their main army!” The winter fog which shrouded the town had prevented Mabon’s men from seeing the approaching ships until they were close to the shore.



    Dagomaros ordered his spearmen to run and form a line at the top of the main street which led up into Moridunon from the harbour. The slingers stood behind the spearmen.



    He sent Mabon with several companies of spearmen to hide in a side street. The plan was that the enemy would charge uphill against the wall of Iceni spearmen. When the enemy were in the main street, attacking the Iceni spearmen, Mabon’s men would seal the street’s lower end, trapping them.

    Mabon waited anxiously. Would the Demetae charge up the main street into the Iceni spearmen? If they went by another route, then his riders and spearmen might soon be fighting for their lives. He could not see far through the fog.

    The plan worked. The Demetae charged uphill along the main street, towards the waiting Iceni spearmen. The Iceni slingers could fire their stones downhill, over the heads of the Iceni spearmen in front of them.

    Mabon and his men moved as quietly as they could around to the harbour, so that they could surprise the enemy.



    Suddenly a group of Demetae slingers turned towards them. They had been seen! Mabon led his horsemen into a charge and the enemy slingers ran.

    Mabon’s riders broke quickly through the enemy slingers. They were supposed to halt and seal the lower end of the street, trapping the enemy inside. But Mabon could see the backs of the enemy warriors, as they fought Iceni spearmen at the top end of the street. This was a tempting opportunity which Mabon could not resist. Instead of forming a line at the lower end of the street and advancing cautiously, Mabon led his men in a wild charge into the ranks of the Demetae warriors.

    Mabon found himself almost surrounded by Demetae warriors. The men on his left wore cloaks and carried swords; Mabon could see that they were Demetae noblemen.



    The speed and momentum of Mabon’s horse saved him, knocking Demetae men to the ground and enabling Mabon to avoid the tip of an oncoming sword by a hand’s breadth. The Iceni spearmen who had followed Mabon charged uphill to join the fight. A group of Demetae noblemen surrounded the Demetae general, broke through Mabon’s men and fought their way to the harbour. They escaped in one of the ships before the Iceni could stop them. For the second time in a day, the Iceni had won a decisive victory against the Demetae – but the Demetae commander had got away.
    Last edited by Alwyn; January 24, 2016 at 07:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Lugotorix's Avatar non flectis non mutant
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 23, 2016]

    Very cool: This is one faction I haven't played. You're welcome for the inspiration to try the Rome II engine for AARs, and I must say, very well done so far. I'm flattered. Here's some fan art I've done of Queen Boudicca.

    Last edited by Lugotorix; January 23, 2016 at 06:51 PM.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 23, 2016]

    I think Mabon's initiative might get him in trouble after this second battle. Good use of screenshots as well, especially the first one where you captured the flying bird (reminds me of one of the screenshots in Hitai's The Road to Kyoto) With the second army defeated I wonder where next it is for the Iceni and Mabon.

  12. #12
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 23, 2016]

    Lugotorix, thank you for inspiring me to try a Rome II AAR! I'm honoured to have fan art, your Queen Boudicca is amazing. I'm enjoying playing as the Iceni and looking forward to trying some of their later units, such as Ambushers and the additions provided by Sebidee's Iceni Roster Expansion, which adds units based on both history and Celtic mythology (it will be a while before such advanced units appear.)

    Merchant, that was exactly what I was thinking (that Mabon could be in trouble after this second battle). The final screenshot shows Mabon surrounded by enemies, so I initially planned to end with that moment, in a 'will he survive?' cliffhanger - but readers would have (correctly) guessed that he survived. I thought this version - a 'how much trouble is he in now' cliffhanger - would work better.

  13. #13
    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 23, 2016]

    This is fun, with goddesses (and presumably gods, elsewhere) walking the land, attempting to change history! And Merchant's right, the screenshots are lovely. I'll look forward to finding out what happens to Mabon son of Modron.






  14. #14
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 23, 2016]

    Great work on the AAR Alwyn.

    The setting laid-out in the OP and prologue is unique and intriguing, looking forward to seeing where you take it.
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 23, 2016]

    This is going along great. Love the use of images and looking forward to how your characters progress.

  16. #16
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated January 23, 2016]

    Thank you, Caillagh, Shankbot and TacticalStats!

    Chapter Three

    I let the King of the Demetae escape, Mabon thought as he faced Dagomaros after the battle for Moridunon. Will Dagomaros ever trust me again?

    “Mabon! Come here!” Dagomaros’ voice carried across the market square of Moridunon. Mabon’s walk across the central square, under the gaze of the smiling Iceni warriors, seemed to take a very long time.

    “You fought bravely!” Now Mabon stood a few steps from Dagomaros, but Dagomaros’ voice boomed loudly enough to be heard by the Iceni men across the square. “You gave many of their warriors the last surprise they ever had!” Mabon felt relieved. He had expected to be criticised harshly for allowing the Demetae leader to get away.

    Later that night, as Iceni warriors gathered around a cooking-fire in the great hall of Moridunon, Dagomaros spoke to Mabon. Around them, men were celebrating with loud boasts about their prowess in battle, with drunken singing and laughter.

    “I need to keep the army here to defend Moridunon against raids by the surviving Demetae,” said Dagomaros. “But I also need to inform my brother, King Adiatorix, that the Iceni lands have expanded westward, to include the lands of the Cymru. Your horsemen can take a message faster than my fastest runner. As a prince of the Silures, you will be travelling through lands which you know.”

    ***

    As he entered the great hall of Adiatorix, King of the Iceni, Mabon was surprised to hear a mocking voice addressing the King.

    “The King of the Brigantes is coming, lord of the Iceni. He brings a large army which you cannot match. Surrender now or watch your city fall.”

    Adiatorix replied calmly. His voice was quieter than that of his brother Dagomaros. But he spoke with authority. “The King of the Brigantes is welcome to visit Iceni lands. But he cannot bring an army. If your master brings warriors here, I will put his head on a spear at my gate as a warning to all who threaten my people.”

    The emissary of the Brigantes nodded, as if this had been the answer he expected. He turned and marched out of the hall.

    As Mabon walked towards the King of the Iceni, he felt the eyes of Iceni nobles watching him warily. He knelt before the King, introduced himself and delivered his message.

    “My lord King, your brother Dagomaros sends greetings from Moridunon. He has taken the stronghold of the Demetae. He will remain there to hold their stronghold against their surviving warriors, who escaped the battle.” If only I had prevented the King of the Demetae from escaping, thought Mabon, I could have been bringing news of the return of the Iceni army. If the Brigantes attack Iceni lands from the north, while the Iceni army remains in the west, then my failure could have doomed the Iceni. What have I done?

    Adiatorix replied, “Prince of the Silures, you have my gratitude for your help. As you have heard, the King of the Brigantes is marching south with an army. I need you to return to Dagomaros. Tell him to march north, as soon as he can. Without their King and his army, the stronghold of the Brigantes will be vulnerable. Tell Dagomaros to take it.”

    “My lord King, would you allow my men and I to remain here, to help you to defend your lands?” As he spoke these words, Mabon heard murmurs of approval among the Iceni noblemen. “The Silures are brave fighters! It would be an honour to fight alongside them!” said a grey-bearded Iceni nobleman with approval.

    The King of the Iceni smiled. “I am grateful for your offer. The Silures are fearless warriors. But I need my message to reach my brother quickly. Many Iceni men have come to Camulodunon with spears and slings, to defend their homes. They will be enough. You and your men are welcome to the hospitality of my hall tonight. Tomorrow, you will take my message to Dagomaros.”

    The next morning, with a heavy heart, Mabon led his men away from the great hall of the King of the Iceni. As he and his men rode through the streets of Camulodunon, they saw farmers practising with spears. The farmers raised their spears in salute as Mabon and his riders passed them. I wish I could stay behind to fight with them, thought Mabon. But I cannot disobey their King. I had the chance to capture the King of the Demetae – and I failed. Perhaps my failure will cost these farmers their lives.

    ***

    When Mabon returned to Moridunon, Dagomaros had good news. He and his men had tracked a raiding party of Demetae warriors. Mabon and his riders re-joined the army of Dagomaros. They waited in a forest overlooking the path which the Demetae raiders were using. After a quick and decisive ambush, Mabon saw with relief that the King of the Demetae had been among the raiders. Now the army of Dagomaros could march north into the lands of the Brigantes, as the King of the Iceni had ordered, without Demetae raiders snapping at their heels like angry wolves.

    As they marched north towards the stronghold of the Brigantes, Mabon waited anxiously for news of the battle between Adiatorix, King of the Iceni, and the King of the Brigantes. After many days of marching, a rider arrived from Camulodunon. Mabon was eager to hear the news. Could Adiatorix have defeated the larger army of the Brigantes?

    The messenger told the story of the battle. Adiatorix had formed his lines of spearmen and slingers just south of a bridge across the Great Ouse, a river which was in the path of the Brigantes. But the King of the Brigantes discovered an unguarded ford and sent his army across. Adiatorix discovered too late that the Brigantes were already across the river. He sent his men running to the ford, to meet the enemy.



    Mabon’s face fell when he heard this. Surely the Iceni were relying on the advantage of defending the bridge to defeat the larger army? They had lost this vital advantage.

    But then a group of Iceni noblemen on horseback returned. They had been searching the lands on the far side of the river, looking for the Brigantes army. When they returned, they saw that the Brigantes warriors were already across the ford.



    The King of the Brigantes sent his men back across the ford, to face the Iceni riders approaching from the north. The Iceni noblemen were just a small group of riders against the whole army of the Brigantes. They had no chance of winning this skirmish. After the Iceni riders charged and then fell back, the Brigantes pursued them back across the ford and far across the plain beyond the river. Eventually, the remaining Iceni riders scattered; many of their saddles were empty. When he heard this, Mabon realised that, if he had remained behind to fight, he probably would have died alongside the Iceni riders.



    The Brigantes ran back to the ford and crossed it a third time. The charge by the Iceni horsemen had given Adiatorix the time he needed to march his spearmen and slingers to the ford. The Iceni spearmen were fresh. The Brigantes had more men - but they were tired, for they had pursued the Iceni riders for a long distance before crossing the ford to attack the Iceni infantry. The Brigantes warriors charged the Iceni line, but the Iceni farmers held their ground.



    The Iceni were defending their homes and families and their King fought bravely alongside them. Eventually, the Brigantes warriors could fight no more.

    That night, the Iceni and Silures in the camp of Dagomaros’ army celebrated the victory of Adiatorix. The King of the Brigantes had been defeated. Surely only a few Brigantes warriors would remain to defend their stronghold in the north against the army of Dagomaros?
    Last edited by Alwyn; February 07, 2016 at 10:57 AM.

  17. #17
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated February 7, 2016]

    I somehow doubt it will be as plain sailing as that, I reckon a sizeable garrison awaits! Great screenshots, and glad to hear the Iceni prevailed. I hope Mabon does not let his worry devour him.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated February 7, 2016]

    Yeah, I agree with Shankbot. When is life ever that easy?

    Mabon must be feeling a mixture of relief that Adiatorix's army are doing OK so far, and fear that he could still end up being (in his own mind, at least) responsible for their deaths. And, of course, worry about how Dagomaros would react to that, if it happened.






  19. #19
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated February 7, 2016]

    Thank you, Shankbot and Caillagh - you are right, life for Mabon is not that easy! Thank you for your encouraging comments!

    Chapter Four

    Mabon and his riders scouted ahead of the army of Dagomaros towards the Brigantes stronghold of Eborakon, expecting to find only a few defenders skulking in the streets of the town. Instead, while Eborakon was still in the distance, they found a substantial Brigantes army waiting patiently on snow-covered grassland, watching the Iceni infantry descending from a ridge. The Brigantes had horsemen on both flanks, but they stayed with their army rather than pursuing Mabon's riders.



    When Mabon returned to report this to Dagomaros, he was surprised to find that the Iceni general had something for him.

    “You are one of us now, prince of the Silures,” said Dagomaros, presenting Mabon with a fine golden-yellow cloak, of the design worn by Iceni noblemen.

    Mabon quickly wrapped this expensive gift around him, in place of the tattered red cloak which he had worn for many weeks. He reported on the size and strength of the enemy army.

    “The Brigantes have fewer infantry, yet they wait so confidently,” observed Dagomaros. “They have twice the numbers of our horsemen. Perhaps that gives them confidence?”

    “Perhaps,” agreed Mabon, “or it could be that-“

    “They have a surprise planned for us, yes?” interrupted Dagomaros. “They cannot surprise us when you are scouting ahead! But perhaps they anticipated that. They could have men approaching from a direction we would not expect. Perhaps some of their warriors are approaching from beyond that ridge of high ground, behind us. Take your riders up there, while our infantry advance. Return and tell me if we are in danger from a surprise attack.”

    Mabon nodded. He led his horsemen to the top of the ridge, but they saw no foes - only snow on empty grassland.

    As the Iceni infantry marched towards the waiting Brigantes army, Dagomaros sent the slingers ahead, telling them to run back behind the spearmen if the enemy got close to them. He kept his eyes on the two companies of Brigantes horsemen – one on each flank of their army.

    The enemy horsemen were moving! A company of Brigantes horsemen rode quickly around each flank of the Dagomaros’ army. Surely, in a moment, they would turn and charge his spearmen from behind.



    Good, he thought, as he watched the spearmen on the end of his line turn and throw javelins at the enemy horsemen, thinning their ranks.

    But the enemy horsemen did not turn to attack his infantry. Why haven’t they turned?

    Then he heard rapid hoof-beats from behind. Mabon and his riders were returning fast from the ridge where they had been searching for any lurking enemies.



    The enemy horsemen were converging on Mabon’s riders. In a few moments, Mabon would be outnumbered two to one.

    “After them! Charge!” Dagomaros ordered the spearmen on each flank to run at the enemy horsemen. Soon, the Brigantes riders were caught between Mabon’s riders and Iceni spearmen. How does he move so quickly? Dagomaros asked himself as he saw Mabon run one enemy horsemen through with his spear, then draw his sword and slay another Brigantes rider with a quick thrust.

    “Here they come!” shouted one of the noblemen who stood with Dagomaros. The Brigantes infantry were charging his line. When the enemy got close, the Iceni slingers ran back behind the spearmen.



    As the enemy swordsmen crashed into the Iceni line, Dagomaros saw Iceni men stepping back. It was not surprising that a spearman would need to step back if a swordsman charged. A spear was a cumbersome weapon at close range, compared to a sword. But the Iceni spearmen kept stepping further back. Dagamaros could see the expressions on their faces. They were afraid. The Iceni line of spearmen was faltering. Even though they were outnumbered, the painted swordsmen were confident, skilled warriors – and their Iceni opponents were farmers and craftsmen. Brigantes spearmen were charging other parts of the Iceni line.

    If a few men break and run now, thought Dagomaros, others will follow. I could lose the whole line. If I survive this day, I must train some men to fight like those swordsmen.

    Dagomaros and his noblemen charged into the fight, pushing back the painted swordsmen, while Mabon’s riders rode swiftly through the enemy’s slingers, cutting them down. Realising that their skirmishers and cavalry had fled, the Brigantes swordsmen and spearmen broke and ran.


    Eborakon, the chief settlement of the Brigantes, now belonged to the Iceni. That night, the Iceni celebrated loudly in the hall which had belonged to the King of the Brigantes, striving to out-do each other with songs and stories, boasting of their heroism in the battle.

    Mabon did not sing or tell stories. He sat quietly, deep in thought. He sipped from a cup of ale and warmed his hands on a small fire, watching the flames dancing. He felt relieved that had led his people, the Silures, to join the Iceni. The Iceni are good people and, with their new lands, they are growing stronger, he thought. But surely this will not be enough to resist the overwhelming power of the Roman Empire, when their armies eventually reach us. For the Iceni to have a chance to remain free, I have to convince the Iceni to keep expanding.

    But what can I tell them? Mabon imaged himself telling Dagomaros, “My mother is the war goddess Andraste. She introduced me to Boudica, a Queen of the Iceni - from the future – who warned me that the Romans will build a great empire, invade Britain and enslave all of our tribes.” Mabon smiled as he imagined the reaction of Dagomaros. He would think that I was drunk or delirious. If I cannot convince the Iceni to unite the Celtic tribes and build an empire of their own, I will be responsible for their defeat when the Romans come.
    Last edited by Alwyn; February 20, 2016 at 11:08 AM.

  20. #20
    waveman's Avatar Decanus
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    Default Re: Andraste's Children (Iceni AAR) [updated February 20, 2016]

    I'm really liking this theme of a race against time to become powerful enough to resist Roma. Oh, and nice victory!

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