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Thread: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 10th March 2020]

  1. #101
    Derc's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 12th January 2019]

    Finally read it. Outstanding job you did there. No wonder. A celt writing about celts is always something intriguing.
    This AAR does not feel cluttered, it isn't boring and especially that battle had me at the choker. I rarely get put in suspense but here you managed it. You did so even after the battle. Good job!
    Lucky that I did not had to wait for the next parts to see how everything turns out. Would've been really evil.

    It's a nice (and very challenging) approach to write a story based on the campaign, not the other way around. TW always throws some weird things your way, making it hard to make something logical out of it sometimes.

    I'm no big fan of visions and I think you demonized Ambriorix a bit too much. That's ok but I'm curious what you'll make out of the other tribes. Let's hope they're not all fanatics too. Oh wait, we're talking about the Gauls.

    Sharp minds and especially players of CiG will have no problem figuring out who the other three people from Gwydion's vision are. And once you figured it out and reread the description of said individuals, one can see how well you described each of them.
    Given the skill of your writing, it will be epic when Boduognatus clashes with one of them.

    This AAR is two years old already? Wow!
    Keep it up. Top-notch work so far. Have a +rep, fine sir.

    All the best,

    Derc

  2. #102
    Welsh Dragon's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 12th January 2019]

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxMaker13 View Post
    Cool look into the internal politics of the Nervii.
    I am looking forward to some battle and backstabing.
    I would like to see your army composition before the next battle. Are your troops tattered or are they at full strengh again.


    In the third to last paragraph you have a slight typo "Suressiones" instead of "Suessiones".
    Thank you Max. Unfortunately the ability for the game to provide political intrigue is reduced by the limitations in Caesar in Gaul (which sadly doesn't use the full political system of the other campaigns,) but it's something I want to explore more in future chapters.

    I can't promise a look at my army composition before the next battle, but it's definitely something I'll be taking on board to include in future chapters.

    And I'll fix the typo, thanks for catching it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    An interesting chapter! It is as you say Welsh Dragon, in reality a tribe is divided into different clans and they don't always agree with one another on how to deal with things (mostly they don't agree I would say). This division can be and has been used to defeat one's enemy. The clan names are very appropriate for the person that is representing them on this Council. Boduognatus' plan has been approved this time but it took some convincing. I wonder if this will stick or that at some point the clans will rebel.

    PS: my Belgian heart bleeds for a Belgian tribe that abstains from alcohol.
    Thanks Turkafinwë. It was an interesting one to write as well, as I haven't really covered politics thus far.

    Trying to unite the tribes (both within the Nervii and across Gaul) is definitely one of the challenges that Boduognatus and his friends are going to face. Will the coming threats unite them? Or will the tribes fight amongst themselves and leave Gaul open to foreign invaders? Only time will tell.

    As for the alcohol, I wouldn't know. I'm teetotal (it really doesn't agree with me... even the tiny amount of alcohol in an alcoholic chocolate gives me a colossal headache.) But it was one of the interesting aspects of the Nervii which got my attention, as the drunken barbarian warriors is rather a trope... so much so I've nearly had them drinking ale a few times.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I agree with MaxMaker13 and Turkafinwë about your representation of the internal conflict and the connection between the tribes' names and their representatives. It sounds like Caxtos has given a convincing reason for action, but also that Liscos and Sacrapo will look for opportunites to make each other look weak or foolish. That may be dangerous in battle, as I'm guessing that the description of the Suessiones by the chieftain of the Iron Axes was optimistic.
    Glad you enjoyed it Alwyn. Creating tribes for the characters (and characters for the tribes,) was something I quite enjoyed. The game gives you some great names already, but I'll probably expand on them in future. I'm basically trying to make each distinct, without them always being too obvious and one dimensional. Though it hasn't really come up much yet, one of the distinctions I'm aiming to incorporate is weapon choices. While it's not reflecting the game (where Nervii only have Oathsworn and Noble Horses as General choices,) Caxtos and the Hill Warriors favour spears and I imagine his guard being more along the lines of Gallic Spear Nobles.

    As for the Suessiones, well we shall see... Sometimes the best twist is what your reader least expects...

    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    Finally read it. Outstanding job you did there. No wonder. A celt writing about celts is always something intriguing.
    This AAR does not feel cluttered, it isn't boring and especially that battle had me at the choker. I rarely get put in suspense but here you managed it. You did so even after the battle. Good job!
    Lucky that I did not had to wait for the next parts to see how everything turns out. Would've been really evil.

    It's a nice (and very challenging) approach to write a story based on the campaign, not the other way around. TW always throws some weird things your way, making it hard to make something logical out of it sometimes.

    I'm no big fan of visions and I think you demonized Ambriorix a bit too much. That's ok but I'm curious what you'll make out of the other tribes. Let's hope they're not all fanatics too. Oh wait, we're talking about the Gauls.

    Sharp minds and especially players of CiG will have no problem figuring out who the other three people from Gwydion's vision are. And once you figured it out and reread the description of said individuals, one can see how well you described each of them.
    Given the skill of your writing, it will be epic when Boduognatus clashes with one of them.

    This AAR is two years old already? Wow!
    Keep it up. Top-notch work so far. Have a +rep, fine sir.

    All the best,

    Derc
    Thank you Derc. I'm glad you are enjoying my tale and not finding it boring.

    Writing based on game events is definitely challenging (especially when, as now, I'm trying to weld two different playthroughs together.) I'm a writer who tends to plan quite a bit, so one of the reasons I'm doing it this way is to challenge myself and try different forms of writing.

    I'm not always a fan of visions and prophecies either, as it's often used badly. But they can be a very effective storytelling device if you can get it right. For example, I'm a big fan of Babylon 5, a sci-fi series which uses prophecy very effectively. I've also drawn inspiration from the military sci-fi novel series "Their's Not To Reason Why" by Jean Johnson (beginning with A Soldier's Duty,) whose main character is a precog who can see potential futures and is trying to put the pieces into place to prevent a catastrophe that won't happen till long after she's dead. You'd think that would take away tension and suspense, but just because she can see what may happen doesn't mean the events happen the way she wants them to. (Not to give too much away about the books, but there's a great moment in one where something truly unexpected happens and she just does not know what to do, because she never saw this coming... literally!)

    Ambriorix characterisation was a response to the way the game presented me with this sudden attack from the Eburones, and me trying to come up with a way to present that in the story. I agree he's a bit one dimensional in that respect, but in being a truly evil person I think he served a purpose of clearly defining Boduagnatos and the Nervii by comparison. I'll look to make future villains a bit more well rounded, as well as give the different tribes more of an identity.

    As for whether the figures in the prophecy are who you think they are? Well, I have some people in mind for those four leaders, but prophecy is a funny thing, and as you said, the game does have a habit of throwing weird things in your way. We shall see. (At this point even I don't know for certain, which is part of the fun! )

    *

    No news yet on the next chapter, as I've tried two approaches so far and I'm not happy with either of them. But I hope to have something for you all in the near future, real life permitting.

    I hope you are all having a good weekend.

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

  3. #103
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 12th January 2019]

    “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR.)
    Chapter 15: March to War: The Army of the Nervii.

    Three sunrises come and go all too quickly, and as the third day dawns the army of the Nervii assemble south of Bagacum.



    I know that I set my people a difficult task, to gather our forces so quickly. But they have not disappointed me. We are a force some 1700 fighters strong. Many are veterans of the Battle at Atuatuca, hardened by what they saw, but also able to draw from their experience there. Others are warriors from the other clans of the Nervii, fired up by the stories they have heard around the campfires these past few nights and eager to get into the fight. And then there are the young bloods, ready for their first taste of battle, even though that may also be their last.

    It is not as large a force as I would like. Some of our warbands are not at full strength, still recovering from the casualties we suffered against Ambriorix's fanatics. But it is what I have available to me. As Warlord I know I must go to war with what I have, not what I wish I had. I just pray they are enough for what lies ahead.

    But though I know many of the warriors around me, some familiar faces are also missing. While others I never could have expected to be fighting alongside now stand beside me.

    A lot can happen in three days...

    *

    Two days previously...

    It is morning, and as the first rays of sunlight touch the walls of Bagacum, I have already risen from my fitful slumber, and eaten a hasty breakfast of leftover mutton from last night. There is little time for more. A day has already past since the Tribal Council gathered and agreed to go to war. Now only two remain, and there is still far too much to be done. First I must meet with Caxtos and inspect preparations for our departure.

    But as I leave the longhouse I call my home and walk towards the gate, I cannot help but notice the changes that have come over Bagacum in just a day. There is a different atmosphere to the town. Gone is the sense of festivity which surrounded the Great Feast of Beltane, and in its place is the sense of grim purpose of a people preparing for war.

    Just a day or two ago there were the sounds of voices raised in good cheer filling these streets, as locals and guests alike sang songs and shared stories. But now what I hear are the shouts of men at work, gathering supplies and preparing the weapons that we will need to wage war on the Suessiones. And the sound of cutting and hammering, as repairs are made to the carts we will use in the coming days and weeks ahead.

    Where as before if you were hungry you could just follow the scent of roasting pork to find a cooking fire and company, now it is the smell of oxen that carries upon the breeze. They are foul tempered beasts, but without them I would not be able to plan a campaign such as this. An army needs not just warriors but food, tools, spare weapons and many other things for the challenges that lie ahead. So it is upon these animals shoulders we place this weight, as they pull the carts which will carry those supplies to war.

    And while smoke still rises above our homes, it comes not from the great bonfires of Beltane, but from the forges of our metalworkers. They will work long into the night, to ensure that every warrior has the weapons they will need to fight soon enough. For while each of us is responsible for our own weapons and equipment, only some have the skills to make and repair them well.

    But it is not just Bagacum that has changed. I can feel the changes in myself as well. Where my thoughts before were the everyday concerns of a Chieftain, or the not so Usual ones of Gwydion's prophecy that still troubles me each night, now my mind turns to more pragmatic matters. As Warlord, I must lead these people not just in battle but into war. And though a battle may still be weeks away, the decisions I make in these few short days may decide whether we return home form that battle in victory. Or defeat. Or not at all.

    Going to war is never easy, even for a warrior people such as we. Launching a campaign that may take us far from home even more so. There is much to do before we leave, and I have given the tribes all too little time to do it in.

    At nearly any other time of year such an undertaking would take weeks to prepare for, as I would have to send word to the other clans and then wait for their warriors to travel across our lands and gather here.

    But the Feast of Beltane is a time for not just we Chieftains to gather, but many of our warriors as well. It is an opportunity I must take while I can, for I feel deep in my bones that even if we were to delay a single extra sunrise, we may be too late. And I know in my heart that we must not fail.

    I am still deep in these thoughts when I reach the gate where Caxtos awaits me.

    “You look troubled my friend.” He says, a look of concern on his face. It seems my thoughts are clear upon my face, not just in my head.

    “No,” I reply, perhaps too quickly. “Just thinking of all that must be done in the day ahead.”

    Caxtos will know there is more to it than that. For as long as we have known each other, it has always been hard to keep things from him, as he sees more of what is before him than most men do. But we both know that now is not the time to discuss my concerns. And while Gwydion or Sacrapo would have pressed me on this, that is not Caxtos' way. He knows we will speak when the time is right.

    So the Chieftain of the Hill Warriors simply nods, then turns and walks out of the gates towards the open fields beyond.

    I know what the Nervii of Bagacum do to prepare for war. But it is time to see how the other Clans fare.

    ***

    Authors Notes:

    As some of you will have seen with my recent comments, I've been struggling with this chapter as I couldn't get it right. Ultimately I've decided to try a different technique with this and the next couple of chapters, moving the present of the story forward to the march upon the Suessiones at Noviodunon, while also flashing back to show the preparations for that march. I'll be interested to know how people find it, so as always any feedback gratefully accepted.

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

  4. #104
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Absurdist
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 12th January 2019]

    Boduagnatos' doubts and concerns are conveyed very well. It's good to see he is not an overconfident leader yet also not one who is afraid to make decisions and live with them. In my opinion, the traits of a great leader. The time for festivities is over and a period of grim business approaches. I like Caxtos' approach to things, a man willing to listen but knowing not too pry or force anyone to talk. If they wish to talk about it, the subject will come when the time is right. I'm interested to see how you will deal with partial present time and flashbacks. You're off to a great start!

    Quote Originally Posted by Welsh Dragon
    As for the alcohol, I wouldn't know. I'm teetotal (it really doesn't agree with me... even the tiny amount of alcohol in an alcoholic chocolate gives me a colossal headache.) But it was one of the interesting aspects of the Nervii which got my attention, as the drunken barbarian warriors is rather a trope... so much so I've nearly had them drinking ale a few times.
    I'm the opposite to a teetotal. (I sympathise with you for your intolerance to the stuff ) We Belgians are famous (and very proud of it) for our many special brews and it's just a great part of our culture and like any good Belgian I have a great love and respect for our noble culture. Don't get me wrong I like that you have deviated from the trope for the Nervii as it really differentiates the Nervii from the rest of the tribes with their abstination. It's a very interesting concept that can be used greatly in a narrative sense.

    Chapter XXVII: The Choice
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  5. #105
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 24th June 2019]

    I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties with writing this chapter. I know that that feels like (at least for me), some chapters are easy to write and others are like walking through thick gloopy mud, with a nagging feeling that you're walking in the wrong direction. I think you found a good solution, the flashback works well. I like the last couple of lines before you switch back to the earlier time period, "While others I never could have expected to be fighting alongside now stand beside me / A lot can happen in three days.." - this works well because you provide a reason why we're going back a few days. It seems that the Feast of Beltane, by bringing warriors together, provided an important opportunity.

  6. #106
    Welsh Dragon's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 24th June 2019]

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    Boduagnatos' doubts and concerns are conveyed very well. It's good to see he is not an overconfident leader yet also not one who is afraid to make decisions and live with them. In my opinion, the traits of a great leader. The time for festivities is over and a period of grim business approaches. I like Caxtos' approach to things, a man willing to listen but knowing not too pry or force anyone to talk. If they wish to talk about it, the subject will come when the time is right. I'm interested to see how you will deal with partial present time and flashbacks. You're off to a great start!
    Thank you Turkafinwë. I agree with you on what makes a great leader, if you never doubt you're liable to make mistakes, but if you give in to doubt then you will never do anything. I'm also enjoying writing Caxtos so it's nice to see people enjoying reading him too. Here I'm also trying to develop him (and Sacrapo in a future chapter) as characters in their own right, instead of just relying on them as a duo (or trio with Boduognatus.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    I'm the opposite to a teetotal. (I sympathise with you for your intolerance to the stuff ) We Belgians are famous (and very proud of it) for our many special brews and it's just a great part of our culture and like any good Belgian I have a great love and respect for our noble culture. Don't get me wrong I like that you have deviated from the trope for the Nervii as it really differentiates the Nervii from the rest of the tribes with their abstination. It's a very interesting concept that can be used greatly in a narrative sense.
    I've never really been interested in drinking alcohol so being intolerant to it isn't actually that bad. Also makes for a cheap night out when I do pub quizzes (and perhaps an advantage in later rounds. ) The Nervii are definitely interesting and I hope to do you and your fellow countryman proud with my tale of your (fictional) ancestors.

    *

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties with writing this chapter. I know that that feels like (at least for me), some chapters are easy to write and others are like walking through thick gloopy mud, with a nagging feeling that you're walking in the wrong direction. I think you found a good solution, the flashback works well. I like the last couple of lines before you switch back to the earlier time period, "While others I never could have expected to be fighting alongside now stand beside me / A lot can happen in three days.." - this works well because you provide a reason why we're going back a few days. It seems that the Feast of Beltane, by bringing warriors together, provided an important opportunity.
    Thank you Alwyn. Your description of writing sometimes being "like walking through thick gloopy mud" is very accurate, and brilliant imagery. One of the challenges of telling a story in the present and flashback is the transition between the two, so I'm glad the final lines of the opening scene worked for people.

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.


  7. #107
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 24th June 2019]

    “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR.)
    Chapter 16: March to War: The Warriors


    The present...

    Days pass, and as we follow the road south of Bagacum and into Suessione lands I cannot help but feel a sense of apprehension. I may have an army with me, but the ambush at Atuatuca is still all too fresh in my memory, and I cannot risk such an attack again. Though there is some clear land either side of the road, the trees and the cover they provide are all too close to us. I find myself often looking to our left and right, in case I catch a glimpse of Suessione warriors waiting to fall upon us when we are at our most vulnerable.

    But if they are out there, they are not alone.

    Every morning before first light my scouts head out along the road and into the forests to each side of it, searching for any sign that the Suessiones or anyone else has passed this way. Each night I post guards around our camp, to warn us should a threat appear. And while we avoid villages when we can, some we cannot help but pass through. At least they are not deserted the way the Eburone were.

    One thing is certain. The Suessione will know we are coming....

    *

    Two days before the Nervii left Bagacum...

    As Caxtos and I walk through the gates of Bagacum I look out at the sight before us.

    When the tribes gather together, there is not enough room within the walls for all of us. And so, at times such as these, the open fields that surround our home become an extension of the town. Each clan and tribe sets up a camp, where they may gather to eat and sleep each evening. Some are small, barely more than a campfire. But others are more like miniature villages decked out with the symbols of each Clan, like the warriors of the Angry Beast's who display the skulls and pelts of the great beasts of the dark forests that they test their courage against.

    Each clan of the Nervii brings a small part of their home to us. It is quite a sight, and one I have loved since I was a boy.

    But though each may have their own camp, this does not mean we each stand alone. People move between them, sharing food and drink, swapping stories, and seeking news of friends and family. At times such as these there is also much trade between the clans, as we each recognise the strengths and skills of our brothers and sisters. And though each chieftain is offered a place beside the hearth by right, many, though not all, choose to sleep within their clan's camp instead. It is a wise chieftain who remembers those he has been chosen to lead.

    But today I do not have the time to enjoy this all fully, as there are other things I must do to prepare before we leave.

    As Warlord I must be aware not only of the condition of my own warriors, but those of the other clans and client tribes who will be fighting alongside us. They too will face the same dangers as we, and deserve our respect because of this. As Caxtos and I walk between the different camps, I speak with chieftains, warriors and tribes people alike.

    It is for me a well ingrained tradition. Something I have done since I was first named chieftain. For though some choose to lead their people at a distance that has never been my way. I want them to know that I will stand beside them in battle no matter what challenges we face together. That I still remember the day when I first took up the sword and looked to another man such as I to lead. A man in whose place I now stand. When we leave, I want every warrior to know that as they fight by my side, I fight by theirs. And that we face this danger together, not as Chieftain and warrior, but as brothers in arms. As it should be.

    There are changes here too, and not all of them are for the best. This is not like when we made war on the Eburone one moon ago. Back then every warrior had a definite cause to fight for. We sought to avenge our fallen brother. He who had approached Ambriorix in peace, and been slain by the mad king instead. His head so dishonourably tossed at my feet. For such a foul deed there was only one response and each of us knew that when we marched upon Atutuca we did so with the gods at our sides. They would expect nothing less from us.

    But this time there is no such worthy cause. We march to war not to avenge a comrade, but because I have chosen to take us there. To prevent something we cannot even be certain is coming. I trust Tanco and the other scouts, but not all warriors do. Some see them as weaklings hiding in the shadows, unlike 'true' Nervii. So while I know there are many here eager to fight, I sense others who share the concerns of Cambo and Liscos. That I am rushing into action too quickly and that I may be creating an enemy when there was not one before.

    In truth they may be right. A warrior can afford no doubt in battle. But as a leader I must listen to the doubt and judge it worthy or not. Am I wrong? Could the southern tribes be gathering such numbers to face another foe? But then what of the strange coin that pays so many mercenaries?

    My scouts cannot find a source. The gods give me no answer. What is a chieftain to do?

    As we walk, I also cannot help but be reminded of the camps that Tanco reported in the south. Larger. More numerous. They make ours seem tiny by comparison. I can only hope that we will be enough when the time comes.

    “Warlord!”

    I am woken from my thoughts by a shout and look up to see a small group approaching. They are a motley crew, that is for certain. A mixture of old men long past the age a warrior becomes an elder, and young boys who look to have barely started to grow their beards. All lead by a young man who looks uncomfortable with the burdens of leadership thrust upon him.



    I speak of course of Nimo of the Eburone. Though in truth I would recognise them even if Nimo were not amongst them. Their brief time with the Nervii tribes may have put a little meat on their bones, but all still bear the marks of a life lived on the edge of survival for far too long.

    “Warlord,” Nimo says once again, now he is closer. “Ca-can we speak.”

    “Chieftain.” I smile, trying to put the young man at ease. Though he and I may both be chieftains by title, the new chieftain of the Eburone still seems much like the goat herder he was only months before. But he will learn.

    “What can I do for you and your people?” I ask.

    “We, um,” Nimo hesitates. “My people wish to know where we should march when the tribes head south.”

    It takes me a moment to take in what he says. It is.... unexpected.

    “I tried asking some of the other chieftains,” Nimo adds, rubbing the back of his neck in a nervous gesture. “But I think they didn't hear me.”

    Didn't hear... or chose not to? I think. Though I would like to say the Eburone had been welcomed with opened arms, I am not the only one to have a history with their people. Part of me thinks to be kind, but I will not dishonour Nimo or the others further by giving a dishonest answer.

    “I wasn't expecting the Eburone to provide warriors for this campaign.”

    “Oh,” Nimo drops his gaze, looking suddenly deflated like an empty water skin. I think if it had just been him he would have dropped the matter here. But it seems some have other ideas.

    “Come on. Gives us a chance to fight!” Says a one eyed elder who looks like he is long past his fighting days, leaning on a spear that barely seems to support even his slight frame.

    “Yeah!” Says a young lad who could easily be his grandson, or even great grandson, waving around a stick like it was a sword. “Let us at 'em!”

    I hear similar mutterings and shouts from the others. With their support Nimo appears to compose himself.

    “At the council you called on every tribe to fight. You said that every warrior would march south against the Suessione.” He stands a little straighter and some of the others follow suit.

    “We are the warriors of the Eburone. We answer the call. ”

    “Your people have suffered much already-” I begin.

    “And they would still be suffering if not for you!”

    Nimo's interruption comes as a surprise to us all, including himself. But as he continues, a newfound strength builds in his voice that was not there before.

    “What Ambriorix did to us. To our families. To our tribe. Those of us that survived will carry those scars till the day we die. But you saved us from that. You gave my people a chance when others would take us as slaves or razed out homes to the ground in retribution. This is a debt we can never repay.”

    He looks me in the eyes and there is no sign of the goat herder there now.

    “We. Owe. You. Please let us fight by your side.”

    I admit, I am taken aback. I know chieftains much older than I who would not dare speak to me so strongly or so forcefully. Glancing at Caxtos, I recognise a similar look of surprise and respect in the old warriors eyes. Perhaps Nimo is becoming more like a chieftain than we realised. But still, I have my doubts.

    “Give us a moment. Then I will give you my decision.”

    I hear grumbling from the Eburone, while Nimo's shoulders slouch. I can see it took a lot to stand up to me like that.

    Caxtos and I walk a short distance away from the crowd. Once we are out of earshot I turn to my old friend. “Well, what do you make of them?”

    The chieftain rubs his chin in thought. If there is one person I can trust to give an honest assessment it is he. “Well they aren't much to look at. Either so old that most probably hung up their axes years ago. Or so young that they make even our youngest look like elders in comparison. Not one of them looks born to be a warrior.”

    “True,” I nod. Most of the warriors the Eburone had were either murdered by Ambriorix if they tried to stand against him or killed by us in battle. “But then neither were either of us to begin with. We both earned the right to fight for our clans the hard way, with blood and battle.”

    “Yes, but we also had training. Experienced warriors to show us how best to gut a foe, or parry a sword...” I have to concede, he does have a point.

    “Then there's their fitness,” Caxtos continues. “For what we have planned we will need to move quickly, and we'll need to march from early light long into the evening. A warriors no use if they're gasping for breath before the battles even started...”

    All good points against them. The Eburone have courage, but can they fight?

    But it seems Caxtos is not finished.

    “But we also need every warrior we can muster,” he adds, though it is clear to me he is speaking more to himself. He is now deep in thought, weighing up the pros and cons of the options at hand. He always was the best of us when it came to looking at both sides of an argument and cutting through all the details to find an answer, even if it is one he himself disagrees with. I give him a few moments. Caxtos speaks when he is ready and not before.

    “Give me the time till we leave to take their measure. I won't take a man with us who will endanger the tribes. But I won't leave behind a fighting man just because he's long in the tooth or beardless. They survived Ambriorix and they survived living in the wilderness on the edge of the dark forests. That breeds hardy, resourceful men. Maybe we can make warriors out of them yet.”

    “Agreed,” I reply. “But only if this doesn't take you away from your own clan duties. I need your warriors ready to march.”

    Caxtos chuckles. “The Hill Warriors know what they're doing. They don't need me holding their spears for them.”

    We walk back to where Nimo and the others are waiting. The looks upon their faces range from anxious to defiant. I will not have them wait any longer than they have already. I am not cruel.

    “Chieftain gather any of your people here willing to fight, and have them meet Caxtos here in an hour. Any he deems worthy will join us when we march. The rest will be given the honourable task of helping to defend our homes.”

    “Thank you.” Nimo says, a mixture of fear and pride in his voice.

    “Don't thank me yet. You will each have to earn your place besides us, and Caxtos isn't going to go easy on you.”

    “That's right lads,” Caxtos says with a grin, giving a glimpse of the berserker in his soul. “When I'm done with you, you might wish you had stuck to herding goats.”

    *

    The Present...

    My thoughts return to the here and now, to the Suessione lands we now march through and the warriors that travel with me to a fate unknown. It is times like these, in the quiet before the storm, that a warrior looks to his friends. But Caxtos is elsewhere in the army seeing to his own men. While Tanco ranges far ahead of us, making sure the paths he travelled along before are still open to us. It is a dangerous task, but one he is ideally suited to. And though there are other chieftains and warriors closer by with which I could speak, there are few I can truly call a friend.

    Gods, I wish Gwydion and Sacrapo were here with us.

    ***

    After another hiatus (sorry, health and college have kept me busy,) I'm happy to say this is the first of what I hope to be several new chapters of Toutatis Favours The Brave over the coming weeks. As you can see, going to war takes much preparation and the journey is arduous, but will it lead to victory or defeat? Only time will tell.

    I'd also like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who took part in this years Writers Study Yearly Awards. I'm honoured you chose my humble tale of Nervii and prophecy as the AAR of the Year and I hope this and future chapters will not disappoint. And be sure to check out the other entries for some marvellous tales.

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

  8. #108
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Absurdist
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 24th June 2019]

    Yay Toutatis Favours the Brave is back on the menu boys!

    The true burden of a leader is to be alone for you cannot trust people to be your friend, most will "befriend" you for what you are and not for who you are. Those who were your friend before can be trusted more but not entirely. Good to see Boduognatus still has some friends in the form of Caxtos and Tanco.

    To choose is to lose. With each choice made you at least lose something, the other options are lost forever once a path is chosen. Of course if you do nothing you will in the end always lose. It's a bold move Boduognatus is making yet great risks often hold great rewards. I'm excited to see how things will turn out with the Suessiones.

    Chapter XXVII: The Choice
    #JusticeForAkar #JusticeForCal #JusticeForCookie #JusticeForAthelchan



  9. #109
    Welsh Dragon's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 24th June 2019]

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    Yay Toutatis Favours the Brave is back on the menu boys!

    The true burden of a leader is to be alone for you cannot trust people to be your friend, most will "befriend" you for what you are and not for who you are. Those who were your friend before can be trusted more but not entirely. Good to see Boduognatus still has some friends in the form of Caxtos and Tanco.

    To choose is to lose. With each choice made you at least lose something, the other options are lost forever once a path is chosen. Of course if you do nothing you will in the end always lose. It's a bold move Boduognatus is making yet great risks often hold great rewards. I'm excited to see how things will turn out with the Suessiones.
    Now that's what I like to see, a happy reader.

    Making difficult choices is definitely one of the themes I'm exploring at the moment. As you've just seen, this isn't like the war with the Eburones. It's one thing to defend your home or retaliate to an obvious provocation, quite another to wage war on another's home on the basis of incomplete intelligence (or a prophecy.) Different people and perhaps even whole clans or tribes may react differently, and while the Nervii under Boduognatus will seek to create friends (as seen previously when he sent out messengers to the surrounding tribes,) they cannot avoid creating enemies as well.

    Add to all that the Eburones were only one tribe, while the enemy now may be as many as three (plus mercenaries) makes for a lot of choices.

    Time will tell.

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

  10. #110
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 18th December 2019]

    Another happy reader here! The camp of the Nervii comes to vivid life, and the arrival of the motley crew brings a moment of pathos for poor Nimo, as he stumbles through his offer and receives what seems like a rejection in return. I enjoyed the wisdom of Caxtos and wonder what his decision will be. Congratulations (again) on your success in the Yearly Awards!

  11. #111
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 31st December 2019]

    “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR.)
    Chapter 17: March to War: Sacrifices


    The present...

    It is as the sun sets that my scouts report Noviodunon is in sight... but so too are warriors of the Suessione army. Given our approach, I would expect nothing less.

    After a hard days marching, only a fool would rush to attack in the dark. So we make camp for the final time a half days march from Noviodunon. It is close enough that we may attack the stronghold of the Suessione tomorrow, but not so close that they can approach us without warning. And make no mistake, there will be a battle tomorrow. The Suessiones will not let such an insult to their pride as a Nervii army on their lands go unanswered.

    Our journey here has not been without incident. Small bands of Suessiones have tried to raid our camps and harry our approach. Slingshots have already struck down several of our sentries and a group of warriors who chased one enemy scout into the forest never returned. Fallen victim to a trap no doubt. It is a far cry from the empty fog cloaked lands of the Eburone, that's for sure. Yet I am surprised we have not encountered more resistance as we have journeyed deep into their territory. Do they lie in wait for us, like Ambriorix did at Atuatuca?

    Or do they have some other plan waiting to unfold?

    Only the gods know...

    *

    One day before the Nervii left Bagacum...

    “Keep that spear point up lad,” I hear a reassuringly familiar voice command. “It won't do you or your brothers much good against a charging foe if you're aiming for their shins. Now lets go again.”

    It is the final day before we leave for our journey south into Suessione lands. And though I still have much to do, I take time to watch Caxtos and some of his Hill Warriors training with Nimo and his Eburones. Though it is hard for me to admit it given our history, these Eburones impress me. In truth neither Caxtos nor I expected much from them when he agreed to take their measure. How could a people who had been barely surviving on the edge of the world two moons ago be ready to fight so soon? Most could not. I know that Caxtos had to tell many brave souls that they are just not ready, others that they may never be. It is a bitter herb to swallow, and yet there is much honour to be found in serving the tribe in other ways.

    But some, like Nimo, One-Eye and that lad who challenged me with a stick proved themselves enough to earn a place with Caxtos and his men to train. When the time comes they will fight alongside the Hill Warriors, for they are too few to march as a warband of their own tomorrow. But perhaps, someday...

    After all, as I am learning people can surprise you.

    But I do not have time to stand and watch for long. I am trying to put off a conversation I know I must have with one of my oldest friends. It is a talk I do not want to have. Yet it is one that must be done today, for to leave it till the morning would be cruel indeed.

    I head across the main meeting grounds, accepting greetings or nods of acknowledgement as I go. Though many chieftains are bedding down with their warriors, I know that I will find Sacrapo within the walls of Bagacum itself. He has, let us say, a standing invitation with some of the younger women of the tribe. They value his charm, dashing good looks and other... qualities. It is something he and Gwydion had in common in their own ways. They never did have trouble finding a bed for the night.



    I walk towards one roundhouse in particular. It is set slightly apart from the rest and with a small patch of tended land next to it. Many plants grow in the soil here, though I could not tell you the names of any of them. I have always found the natural world to be a challenge to overcome, rather than something to nurture.

    “Warlord,” the young lady who tends to these plants says in greeting, seeing me approach. A widow of the tribe. A healer as I recall, she lost her husband some seasons back in a fall. Not all of the tribe get to die a warriors death in battle, though his loss is felt no less because of it. It is only as I get closer I see the two young children playing at her feet. A boy and a girl, I can tell that much at least. I am not much for children either.

    I smile in greeting. Youngsters such as these are the future of our tribe. But suddenly that smile is turned into a grimace. A flash of memory comes painfully to my mind. Gwydion's vision of darkness falling across these lands, the plants shrivelling and dying as death stalks our homes. It is as I pictured it the night of his Death's Watch. These children are our future, yes. But only if they get the chance to grow up first.

    “Warlord, are you okay?” The widow takes a step towards me, a hand outstretched, while her children pull back in fear.

    “It is nothing,” I say, waving away her offer of help.

    But the concern does not leave her face and for a moment I wonder whether she can sense there is more to it. The Goddess Airmid has been known to grant vision to the practitioners of her healing arts.

    “He's inside,” she says, clearly guessing (or perhaps knowing) why I'm here. She gathers up both children, then passes me heading towards the market. As they pass the boy, the younger of the two, sticks his tongue out at me in a way that only the youngest would dare to do. As warlord I would be quite within my rights to punish the child and have his mother scold him. But I cannot bring myself to do so. Let children be children, for all too soon they will have to learn the ways of adults.

    It is as if he now reads my mind, for as they leave the boy gives me a smug look of triumph that is all too familiar. One I have seen many times from the man I am here to speak with, usually when he has proved a point or vanquished a foe. Now I think of it, the child seems a little young to be her fallen husbands as well. I wonder... But the boy's parentage is not something I as chieftain need trouble myself with, least of all today. There are more pressing matters at hand.

    I step from the sunlight into the roundhouse, and at first I cannot see much in the shrouded interior. What little light there is, is provided by the doorway in which I now stand. But as my eyes adjust they reveal a scene that is familiar to me. My gaze is first drawn to the centre, where there stands a small fireplace for cooking and warming the home during the long winter nights. As they adjust further I can pick out wicker baskets, woollen blankets, pots of many shapes and sizes, and the wooden poles upon which the thatched roof is supported. I smile and for a moment I am taken back to happier times many seasons ago.

    Before I wielded a weapon as a warrior of my tribe...

    Before I carried the burden of a chieftain upon my shoulders...

    Before I earned the right to lead all our people and take my place in the long house...

    Before all that I grew up in a place such as this. Longing to leave, to fight for the tribe and find my own way. How times have changed. But that is the past and I must look to the future. No matter how dark and dangerous it may be.

    My entrance has not gone unnoticed.

    “Ah Boduognatus,” Sacrapo says with genuine warmth in his voice. The younger chieftain is kneeling upon the ground and takes a moment to finish what he is doing. Placing a sword down into the centre of a woollen blanket, then folding the cloth around it to protect it for the journey ahead. A wise warrior takes care of his weapons, for they can mean life itself in the heat of battle.

    “You know,” he adds, standing up. “I should thank the Suessiones. It has been far too long since we have been campaigning together my friend. That scrap at Atuatuca has wet my appetite for battle and song.”

    Only Sacrapo could call the desperate battle we fought against Ambriorix and his fanatics a scrap.

    “It has,” I say. “But that is what I came to speak with you about.”

    “Oh?” He asks, more intrigued than worried.

    “I must ask a great favour of you. It is something I cannot ask of anyone else.” I say solemnly.

    “No need to look so glum Boduagnatos. You know you may ask anything of me and I will do it if I can,” he says as if it were the lightest of matters. “Ask away.”

    I sigh. There is no use putting it off any longer.

    “When the tribes leave here tomorrow, I must ask you to stay behind.”

    Sacrapo say nothing. I am not sure if he perhaps has not heard me, so I add.

    “You will not be coming with me this time friend.”

    He laughs. “You jest surely.”

    “I wish I were. But I have need of your skills elsewhere. I must use every tool we have to prepare for what is to come.”

    “And is that all I am to you? A tool!” His mood changes in a flash, true anger in his voice.

    "No my friend. Far from it,” I quickly reply. “But we cannot hope to win this if we have to fight every tribe in Gaul. I need someone here I can trust to lead while I am gone and continue to negotiate with the other tribes. We need the Attrebates and the Morini most of all, to guard our western borders so we may focus our attention south.”

    Sacrapo shakes his head. “Well why not leave Caxtos here? His Hill Warriors know how to hold any place and he's not a terrible diplomat.” That last is quite the compliment coming from Sacrapo.

    “I'm sure he would be the first to tell you he does not have the skill for finding peace that you do. And that is what I need right now. Peace. Peace and brotherhood with as many tribes in the west as you can arrange.”

    “You ask much,” he replies.

    “I know. But if this was easy I would not have to ask.”

    I rest my right hand upon his shoulder. “I promise that you will have your chance to fight. Soon enough we will need every warrior, perhaps every member of every tribe to take up their weapons and fight for all that we hold dear. For our homes. For our people. For our children. But for now? You will do more good with your words here, than you would with your sword standing by my side. That is why I must ask this of you.”

    “If that is your decision,” his words are stiff, his tone one of grudging acceptance more than agreement.

    “It is my friend. Be my voice to the other tribes. Bring me allies!”

    Sacrapo nods, but then turns away removing my hand from his shoulder in the process. I know that I have cut him deeply asking this of him. A warriors heart beats within his chest, just as it does mine. But I have no other choice. To lead is to make hard choices. To order friends and brothers into a fight you know they cannot win. To sacrifice the few to save the many. To take one life and spare another. But sometimes the hardest choices are not who to take with you into the fires of battle...

    But who to leave behind.

    ***

    Author's Notes:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Airmid (or Airmed) is the Celtic Goddess of the Healing Arts and so it seemed appropriate for a healer of the Nervii to draw upon her blessings.


    ***

    This marks the final chapter of 2019 and also the final March To War chapter, where I've been experimenting with telling parallel stories in the past and present. Thank you everyone who has given me feedback. It's been a useful exercise in getting past a writers block, though probably not a technique I intend to use frequently in future as it gets a bit confusing to write (though I hope not so much to read.)

    With the next chapter we're back to the usual storytelling in the present. Boduognatus and his friends face the Suessiones, and even if they triumph there are other threats to the south. While the march to war may be over, the war with the southern tribes is only just beginning.

    Happy new year to you all and I hope that 2020 is a good year for everyone.

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

  12. #112
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Absurdist
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 31st December 2019]

    A really well written chapter, I very much enjoyed this one. The jumps between past and present are not jarring or confusing to follow, at least not for me that is (though I can understand it can be confusing to write it that way). I think it's very believable that the majority of the Eburones are not fit to fight bar a couple but as Boduognatus stated, there are many ways one can serve the tribes. It's good to see that Nimo can still have his metal tested in the battle that is to come.

    I really liked this sentence:
    Quote Originally Posted by Welsh Dragon
    Not all of the tribe get to die a warriors death in battle, though his loss is felt no less because of it.
    The warrior's death is one lauded with praise while the man who dies from disease or natural causes is denied such glory but in the end dead is dead.

    A difficult decision for Boduognatus to make and an even more difficult thing to accept for Sacrapo. Noone likes to be left behind. I wonder how he will fare as diplomat while the rest of the Nervii do battle in the south and of course how the war against the Suessiones (and beyond) will go.

    Happy (belated) New Year wishes and may 2020 bring you good health and wonderful times Welsh Dragon!

    Chapter XXVII: The Choice
    #JusticeForAkar #JusticeForCal #JusticeForCookie #JusticeForAthelchan



  13. #113
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 31st December 2019]

    Difficult choices, indeed! Telling parallel stories in different times works well for me, it's not confusing as long as I know when the events are happening (in relation to the other parts of the story). I particularly like the way that Boduognatus finds himself delving into memories (including his longing for happier, easier days, which helps to emphasise the seriousness of the difficulties he faces now). I hope that Sacrapo's mission will succeed and wonder how the Warlord's army will get on at the stronghold of the Suessiones.

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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 31st December 2019]

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Another happy reader here! The camp of the Nervii comes to vivid life, and the arrival of the motley crew brings a moment of pathos for poor Nimo, as he stumbles through his offer and receives what seems like a rejection in return. I enjoyed the wisdom of Caxtos and wonder what his decision will be. Congratulations (again) on your success in the Yearly Awards!
    I'm glad you're continuing to enjoy Boduognatus's story and that the Nervii camp came across as vividly as I hoped it would. Nimo is proving to be a fun character to write for and also a quite useful one. He gives an outsider's perspective of the Nervii and also a younger one, which hopefully provides a nice contrast to the rest of the cast such as Boduognatus and Caxtos who are older and have known each other for years. Which is fortunate, as I lost his in game avatar when I had to switch campaigns, so for now he's existing solely in the story itself.

    And thank you again for your congratulations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    A really well written chapter, I very much enjoyed this one. The jumps between past and present are not jarring or confusing to follow, at least not for me that is (though I can understand it can be confusing to write it that way). I think it's very believable that the majority of the Eburones are not fit to fight bar a couple but as Boduognatus stated, there are many ways one can serve the tribes. It's good to see that Nimo can still have his metal tested in the battle that is to come.

    "Not all of the tribe get to die a warriors death in battle, though his loss is felt no less because of it."

    I really liked this sentence: The warrior's death is one lauded with praise while the man who dies from disease or natural causes is denied such glory but in the end dead is dead.

    A difficult decision for Boduognatus to make and an even more difficult thing to accept for Sacrapo. Noone likes to be left behind. I wonder how he will fare as diplomat while the rest of the Nervii do battle in the south and of course how the war against the Suessiones (and beyond) will go.

    Happy (belated) New Year wishes and may 2020 bring you good health and wonderful times Welsh Dragon!
    Thank you. The Eburones have basically been through hell, so I didn't think it would do them justice to have them just bounce back from that too easily. But at the same time I wanted to show some hope, that while they are beaten and bloodied, now they have the chance of a future.

    Much like Nimo and his older peers, I'm also enjoying the contrast between the two tribes. The Nervii are a warrior people and the place you hold in society is tied heavily to your ability to fight, while the Eburones (Ambriorix fanatics aside) are craftsmen. So while there's some respect, the two have inhabited very different worlds till now.

    The Nervii also expect their clans and client tribes to pull their weight and contribute to the whole even if they cannot fight, so now the Eburones find themselves in a very different place to where they were before, having to appease and earn the respect of honourable warriors, not a fanatical demagog. And will some may be willing to give them a chance to prove themselves, others (like Liscos in Chapters 14 and the unnamed chieftains in Chapter 16,) see them as at best a burden. How that develops? Well we shall see.

    As for Sacrapo, much like Boduognatus I know I've put him in a very difficult position. He's naturally a diplomat, but he's also a quick tempered fighter, so the two are a little at odds with each other. In his heart he's angry, yet in his head he probably knows this is the right decision and may even relish the challenge... assuming he cools down first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Difficult choices, indeed! Telling parallel stories in different times works well for me, it's not confusing as long as I know when the events are happening (in relation to the other parts of the story). I particularly like the way that Boduognatus finds himself delving into memories (including his longing for happier, easier days, which helps to emphasise the seriousness of the difficulties he faces now). I hope that Sacrapo's mission will succeed and wonder how the Warlord's army will get on at the stronghold of the Suessiones.
    Total War, much like life, is all about choices and their consequences, so it's one of the themes I'll probably be returning to every so often in this story. One of the things I've enjoyed about using the parallel stories in different times is being able to play with that cause and effect aspect of story telling, even sometimes showing the effect before the cause as with Sacrapo's absence from the army heading south.

    As for memory, I think one of the advantages of using an older main character is that ability for the character to reflect and draw upon life experience. But at the same time you don't want them to have "seen it all" and have an answer for everything, because that can get boring. Wars between tribes are not uncommon, but at the same time they've probably never faced anything on the scale of what is coming. So there's going to be situations when experience fails and that's when the different characters will truly get to prove themselves.

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

  15. #115

    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 31st December 2019]

    Man!!! I'm so glad to see you're continuing this story, Welsh! Fantastic, immersive chapters. You've definitely still got it! Can't wait for the next one.

  16. #116
    Welsh Dragon's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 31st December 2019]

    Quote Originally Posted by DreamKing View Post
    Man!!! I'm so glad to see you're continuing this story, Welsh! Fantastic, immersive chapters. You've definitely still got it! Can't wait for the next one.
    Glad to still have you aboard DreamKing, and congrats on completing your own AAR. If anyone hasn't read it yet, I highly recommend DreamKing's Aed, Circenn, and the Sea , a fine tale from the wild north of Britannia. He's also begun a new adventure A Polish Coward and a Scoundrel over on the Empire AAR boards so be sure to check that out too.

    Sorry you and everyone have had to wait a while for the next chapter of Toutatis, as ever real life impacts writing time. But I'm happy to say it's now ready and will be posted after this post. I hope you all enjoy.

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 31st December 2019]

    “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR.)
    Chapter 18: The Suessiones


    We rise long before dawn and as the first morning light filters through the trees we are already on the move. An army on the march is not an easy thing to hide. The Suessiones know we are coming, there is nothing I can do about that. But they may expect us to wait till the sun is up to break camp and so arrive for battle later in the day. By leaving earlier, we may gain a small advantage. And I will take any advantage that helps in the coming battle.

    However it is still closer to noon by the time I catch sight of our destination through the trees. Noviodunon, stronghold of the Suessiones. A place I have not seen with my own eyes in a long time.

    I turn to my runners, a small group of the youngest warriors of the tribe. Fleet of foot, agile of wit and given the task of carrying my orders to the warbands. They may be young but there is much weight carried upon their shoulders in battle. They know they cannot fail.

    “Chieftains and warband leaders to gather on me. The rest to form our battleline just past the trees.”

    The runners are off like startled deer almost before the last word is spoken. But even so it will take a little while for my orders to carry all the way to the back of the rough column we have been marching in, and for the leaders to gather with me at the front.

    While I wait, I take a moment to look upon the field of battle and the hillfort beyond. Once past the tree line there is open terrain between us and the outer edges of the Suessiones' capital. The ground has been well cared for and it should provide a decent footing for both sides warriors. But it also exposes them to dangers. The sling shot, arrow or throwing spear.

    A flash of memory. Another battle line not that long ago. Standing before the walls of Atuatuca moments before the Eburones fell upon us from the rear. An omen? I hope not. But unlike Atuatuca, there is no fog to shroud our approach or theirs. Both sides will be able to see who they are fighting today. As it should be.

    Even at this distance I can see Noviodunon has grown since I was here last, many seasons ago. Yes there are the mercenary camps which Tanco reported, though perhaps not as many as I feared. But there is also the hillfort itself, which seems to reach ever higher into the sky as if to challenge the gods themselves. Knowing the Suessiones this doesn't surprise me.

    We Nervii have always built our homes along simple lines. They are places to eat. To sleep. To take shelter from the wind and rain, or the snow that comes in the winter. We care little for what our buildings look like as long as they do what they are supposed to do. We are at heart warriors, not artisans after all.

    The Suessiones have always been different. They take great pride in their homes, going to ever increasing lengths to ensure that theirs is better than anyone else's. They must be taller. They must be bigger. It is not enough for them that a roundhouse keeps them warm and dry, it must also be looked upon and admired.

    Their warriors are no better. No Nervii would spend time elaborately braiding their beards before a battle, that's for sure. But as more Suessiones warriors pour out of Noviodunon to join those already on the field, I know that many will have spent valuable time this morning doing just that. Making sure that they 'look good' in the coming battle.

    And while most will fight on foot like us, their Chieftains choose to look down upon us all from horseback. Each beast is decorated as if to impress Epona herself. And whilst I would not wish to anger the horse goddess, I see little honour in being carried into battle like a merchant.

    Gods I do not understand these people. Yet today we must fight them and I would be a fool if I underestimated them. No tribe survives without warriors able to spill their enemies blood or give their lives to protect their own.

    While I have been watching our enemies my leaders have gathered beside me. Liscos, Cambo and others, all chieftains or seasoned warriors who have earned the right to lead their brothers. I have spoken to many of them as we marched here, as is my way. I know what each thinks of the coming battle and how it should be fought. Some encourage aggression, others advise caution. But it falls to me as Warlord to make the final decisions. Till battle is joined at least.

    One of the last to arrive is Caxtos, his Hill Warriors having guarded the tail of the column this morning. Nimo follows a half step behind him. The young Eburone is still unsure about his place amongst the leaders of the clans and I do not blame him. It is a hard thing to lead others, and this is his first battle as a leader. I pray it will not be his last.

    I glance again at the the Suessiones' battleline, which have already started to advance across the field. They are clearly as eager for battle as we are. Some tribes would stay within their hill fort and force the attacker to fight in narrow lanes. Others would try to ambush us like Ambriorix's fanatics at Atuatuca. But that is not the Suessiones' way. There is no pride in waiting to be attacked.

    I begin to give orders. Swords in the middle, spears on the flanks. The Hill Warriors with their new Eburone recruits held in reserve. It is a familiar plan. One that we have used many times before, most recently at Atuatuca.

    But I am distracted by something. A flicker at the edge of my vision. A nagging feeling that I have missed something. I glance again to our distant foes. The Suessiones are closer now, their advance lead by their Chieftains on horseback. But there is something... off.

    “You see it too.” Caxtos says quietly and as he does it dawns upon me too. The Suessiones are not walking towards us as I would expect, conserving their energy for the fight ahead.

    They are running!

    “What are we waiting for?” Liscos asks, ever impatient for battle and fierce as any wild animal. “Lets get stuck in!”

    I know how he feels. A valiant charge to meet a foe, is there anything more glorious to a warrior's heart? And yet...

    “Let's not be so hasty,” Cambo says, putting words to my half formed thoughts. “If they are so eager to tire themselves out charging across the field to get to us, it would be rude not to let them.”

    The others turn to me. I can tell that some are in favour of Liscos' plan, others Cambo's. But as Warlord it is my decision. For the first time today I smile. I am a warrior at heart, but there is merit in using animal cunning sometimes as well.

    “We hold here-”

    “But Warlord!“ Liscos tries to interrupt but I ignore him and continue.

    “Get back to your warriors and tell them to prepare javelins. I want to give the Suessiones something else to think about as they reach our lines. But we throw on my word and not before. Anyone who throws early or steps out of the line before my signal will have to answer to me after the battle.”

    As I say the last I look directly at Liscos leaving him in no doubt what my orders are. I see the anger in his eyes, but after a moment he drops his gaze. He knows he has lost this skirmish, though there will be others I'm sure.

    Sometimes the best way to deal with an Angry Beast is to stare it down.

    *

    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

  18. #118
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Absurdist
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 31st December 2019]

    This is a wonderful build-up, I'm getting excited for the battle that is to come! It's great to see you continuing to differentiate the different tribes and give humanity to the enemies of the Nervii. Now onwards to victory!

    Chapter XXVII: The Choice
    #JusticeForAkar #JusticeForCal #JusticeForCookie #JusticeForAthelchan



  19. #119
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 23rd February 2020]

    Like Turk, I enjoyed the contrasts between the cultures of the different tribes. (I like flash-back to a similar event in the past, too).

    It looks as if the Suessiones have seized the initiative, but the Nervii commander has refused to let his next move be determined by his enemy.

  20. #120
    Welsh Dragon's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR) [Updated 23rd February 2020]

    “Toutatis Favours The Brave” (A Nervii CiG AAR.)
    Chapter 19: Pride


    Pride...

    It was pride that proved to be the undoing of the Suessiones this day.

    The pride of their elders...



    Who met our offers of alliance and cooperation with derision and laughter. In their arrogance they considered themselves heirs to Divitiacus himself, the chieftain of their tribe who was once High King of all the Belgae. Caxtos's description of the Suessiones, that they were 'too proud to accept any alliance not lead by them' proved all too accurate. And it would cost them dearly.

    The pride of their warriors...



    Who threw aside all thoughts of strategy and tactics in their thirst for glory. In their overconfidence, they charged headlong into the centre of our lines, racing each other for the honour of being the first to spill Nervii blood this day... and were cut down in their hundreds for their troubles.

    The pride of their chieftains...



    Who pranced around the battlefield upon their gleaming steeds. In their hubris they thought themselves untouchable and paid a heavy price to learn the folly of their actions. Those few who survived the battle chose to abandon their people rather than face the affront to their pride of defeat and in doing shamed themselves for ever more.

    Pride proved to be the Suessiones downfall... yet it was also in a way their salvation.

    Not the foolish, boastful pride that had cost them so dearly on the field of battle. But simple, honest pride. Pride in hard work. In family. In putting your heart and soul into building something and not wanting to see it destroyed. For while I believe their chieftains would have seen them all die rather than admit defeat this day, others could see another way.

    The Noviodunon garrison, their army shattered, their warriors pride broken and their chieftains fled could see what others older and supposedly wiser than them had not. That there was more more honour in peaceful coexistence and cooperation than there was in extinction.

    When given the chance they surrendered, putting their people ahead of their foolish pride. For what good is it to have your pride if you are not around to celebrate with your fellow comrades afterwards anyway?

    But pride has never been solely a Suessiones' failing...

    ***

    Author's Note:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Much like the Eburones back in Chapters 8-10, I wanted to have the fighting styles of different tribes reflect their culture as a whole. For the Suessiones' I decided to build upon Caxtos's earlier words about their pride (and ego,) as well as their history as once being a powerful tribe who united the Belgae, to give a sense of a culture where each warrior is trying to distinguish themselves in battle at the expense of fighting as a united force, while their leaders perhaps rely too much on past glory (and expensively dressed horses.)

    As with the March To War chapters, this one has been a bit of challenge to write though for different reasons. In this case it's because I lost the saves and replay when my last computer failed. Fortunately I stumbled across the screenshots in an old backup (including the shot of the Suessiones Chieftain's demise which I doubt I'd be able to recreate) so it hopefully worked out in the end.


    All the Best,

    Welsh Dragon.

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