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Topic Subject: The Shattered Spear Inn
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posted 17 January 2011 05:55 EDT (US)   
Welcome to the Shattered Spear Inn. Grab a table, or a stool at the bar, soldier, and accept this first horn of beer on the house.

You look like hell, son. Been in battle recently? I know, I know, been there myself once or twice. Or forty times. One loses count. So, soldier, have a tale to tell? Start talking. News here comes slowly, so the only entertainment we get these days is from soldiers passing through with tales to tell, or old Hamish there singing. Heard his voice? Rutting bulls are more pleasant.

So belly up to the bar, soldier, and leave us with a fine tale to drown out the bleating of old Hamish. Any short tale of battle may be told here. In fact, any short tale of any kind would be appreciated. Here's a beer to wet your whistle, and to help you get started.

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII

[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 01-17-2011 @ 06:20 AM).]

posted 17 January 2011 05:56 EDT (US)     1 / 60  
Six against Sinope

Hail, innkeeper. I’ve a tale for you. There were four hundred of us Thracians recruited by Marcus Oppius of the Red Romans to garrison Byzantium. Problem was, he didn’t own the place. Within a month he did, and left us to our task. There was the occasional riot or so, but we thumped their thick skulls handily and peace sort of broke out across the city. This went fine then for a while, but then some other Red Roman captured Nicomedia across the water and needed a garrison. We had a rep of pacifying unruly towns, so we got the orders. We loaded onto the boats with a pack of peasants and left good old Byzantium behind.

Frikking admiral couldn’t find the place for shit. It was right there, practically in view, but yet so far away. And the fool let the Pontic navy intercept us. Good bye, Nicomedia, and hello life of a fugitive. At least the fool put us on solid ground before going out to battle again. Last we saw of him were mast-tops disappearing into the sea. Don’t ask whether he was sailing or sinking. We did not care.

So there we were, in the middle of the southern shore of the Euxine Sea, three packs of Thracian mercs, my own Bastarnae, and a pack of peasants. Nicomedia was far to the west, and with the way the war was going there, the young buck Lentulus something would be taking it by now. So we started heading off to Nicomedia by foot.

You would always expect pirates and brigands in that lawless land, so we were careful. Lentulus whats-his-face was not. He got himself ambushed, but within sight of us. Ever seen brigands taken from behind? They evaporate. And we sodomized them gloriously and saved old Lentulus a whipping. Now we can go off to Nicomedia and enjoy the women and the easy life.

Not with a Roman in command. He was impressed, he was, and to him the proper reward was to scout in front of his slow-moving army towards his objective of Sinope. He even gave us a gang of Illyrian spearchuckers as missile support. So we race to the bridge and set up camp. Then we get orders- the spies had infiltrated the city. Naught but a Pontic lord Ramses and a pack of those Bronze Shields was in residence. So? We asked. So, we get new orders. Make for Sinope and start the siege by building some nice towers for the Roman lads.

What? Yes, you heard me right. We Thracians were asked to provide the Roman army with siege equipment. And we being paid well, did as ordered. Nobody can ever say a Thracian does not earn every denarius!

So there we were, Two full packs of Thracian mercs (we cross-leveled our casualties to full up the units), one of my own Bastarnae, a small gang of Illyrian spearchuckers, and a pack of peasants building siege towers in plain view of a city with Epic Walls and a pissed-off prince inside. There was no way he was going to let that slide, but orders was orders as me pappy always said.

Ramses or whatever came out. We knew he would, so we had a plan. I put my Bastarnae on one side, and them other Thracians on the other, with some Illyrian spearchuckers and the peasants front and center. We also made damned sure we were far enough away from the walls that any potshots from the fools inside wouldn’t skewer our own boys.

Well, he came out. His Bronze Shields first, while he himself came out a side gate. Bless the gods for his foolishness! He was so wonderfully inept that we shouted for joy when the spy signalled that Ramses was moving out of the side gate. Why, you ask? Well, that meant that his forces were divided. Never divide weak forces before a Thracian gang, son. We will punish you for it. I think like seventy of those Shiny Shields made it back inside, chased by a pack of Thracians- who capture the bloody gate to boot.

Outside, Ramirez or whatever was charging down on my boys. Warcry and charge was what we did, with the spearchuckers doing their thing on the flank, and the bloody farmed soaking up the force of impact to the front. It was a thing of beauty. Oh, we were dead men alright, but if we could kill Rabinowitz or whatever, his bloody guards would evaporate so that Lentulus could take the city easily.

We finally brought the old bull down. Gods above, what a beautiful moment. One minute he is hacking into Solenis, the next he sits bolt-upright then topples over one way while his head falls off the other. His guards saw that and our smile, and took off like the Furies themselves we after them.

They were. We chased those bloody fools back into the city and fought them tooth and nail in the square, dragging down many. But night fell, and in that area, you do not battle on into the night. So we retired to our encampment.

The next morning, the new Pontic commander finds his gonads and brings his Shiny Shields out to play. We stand there, waving him on, and showing our asses and what we were going to do to him. I think there were seventy of them, and maybe sixty of us. He felt confident, the fool, and marched forward. We fall back, trying to get him to think we are as brave as he is, and it works, He comes farther. Then we gang-banged him.

That was a fight, brother. I may have talked some shit about that Pontic officer, but he and his men fought well. He drove off one of the Thracian packs, and the farmers. And then he reduced my Bastarnae to two men, and the other Thracians to four men. And we reduced him to a single spearman, fleeing quickly to his momma.

That spearman, he came back. There were six of us there. Six men, besieging a city of twenty thousand, guarded by a single spearmen. It was unreal. And that lad, he came out with his spear and faced us down. We were ready to let him live, to admire his bravery in his futile attack, and to capture him for parole for his courage. Yet he wanted nothing more than to die as did his friends. So with little choice, we slit his throat and then marched into the city, which was now ours.

Six Thracians. Six against Sinope, and we made that bitch our own.

You should have seen the face of old Lentulus when he finally got to the city and found our empty campsite, and then saw us waving to him from the walls. He and his army stood there on the plain, while six Thracians capture the city for him.

That’s my tale, bartender. If you think it worth the trouble, I will accept another of your fine beers. That’s it for me tonight, lads. Someone else can come forward now. I have my beer, a dry mouth, and a wench in the back winking at me with bedroom eyes.

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII

[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 01-17-2011 @ 06:50 AM).]

posted 17 January 2011 08:11 EDT (US)     2 / 60  
give me a beer

pretty please
posted 17 January 2011 09:38 EDT (US)     3 / 60  
The price of a free beer is a tale freely told in the inn, young lad.

So, spin us a tale to relieve the boredom, or step aside so that another may.

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
posted 17 January 2011 09:51 EDT (US)     4 / 60  
* * *

Late winter. Tonight is a chilly one, and I know just the perfect place I can go and just chill - I mean, get warm. There’s a new tavern just opened in the Main Circle - the Shattered Shield, or is it the Shattered Window - whatever. I am a Libyan, if you’re wondering, a proud warrior of the great clan of the sands, and if it is battle tales you want to hear from me I’ve got some good ones - but first I need to find that new tavern, if it does lie in the Circle at all. I round a corner and at last, there it is, right next to the Casual War Stories Corner opened a few days earlier by an ass-licking dickwad from the Orient. That place does need a better name, now that the Shattered Spear is opened next to it… Perhaps the name of the ongoing story inside? Not my business anyways, who gives a shit.

Reaching the windswept pavement that is the doorstep, I see a warm light flowing out from the narrow slit in between the gates. Gales of laughter erupt as I enter, clearly a response to the drunken antics of a Getae captain who tries to hump a hole in a table instead of the Nubian prostitute staring at him dumbstruck behind it. There’s music playing too from an area near the middle where a band called the Jukers have boxed themselves a nice little space and just finished playing Superstition by Stevio Wonderanus - an unquestionable classic, but not really my style of music.

‘Hey Jukers in the box! Do me a favor and hit up a Hotel Caledonia, by the Eruroi!’ I call across the room as I take a seat at the bar, and get a few shouts of approval from the other drinkers.

‘A mead. Shaken, not stirred.’ to the barkeep I say. Then I notice a great warhammer someone had evidently stuck on the wall, behind the forty-something northern barman, but decide not to ask about it. He is indeed shaking my drink very skillfully.

‘Your meadini, outlander. Now, a story to liven up our night with?’

‘No problemo. I had the most epic battle today, ’

I am a Libyan. A Numid, some of you might confuse me with, and that is the most insulting error a foreigner can make about us, for we Libyans are much better fighters than the Numids are - at least on foot, which is how I fight, with a spear one-half my height and a trusty body-shield painted with the blue crescent on a white field that is the emblem of Carthage, the greatest nation in the known world - at least the upstart people calling themselves Romans came, that was.

This battle was not the first one between the two of us, but it was one in which glorious victory I contributed the most to. It was fought a few miles south of Mount Etna, the forge of the Greek fire-god, against the Green Romans who normally did not venture this far south to the realm of Sicilia Graecus, the Greek-held portion of the island. We the main army of Carthage on Sicily numbered two thousand, and the Green Romans brought an army of two thousand, two hundred. Heavy infantry filled a large chunk of that superior number, while our army had eight squadrons of round and long shield cavalry, including three generals. There was no terrain advantage to either side, as we faced each other off with the mountainous scenery in the distance, courtesy of Mount Etna.

Our infantry was poor in comparison to the Romans, excluding two corps of us Libyans. Our superior cavalry would seize the day. Hastati and a few principes began the battle by coming at us in a double-line, double-time. We would take out their flimsy flanks of equites first. I was on the left flank, and I watched as our left-flank horsemen charged forth in an arc, coming round to take the two poor corps of equites and a Roman general on their side from multiple directions. Not much of the cavalry fight was seen as I was too busy fending off the mass of hastati and the storm of javelins preceding their charge. Death came close far too many times today. First I was to be missed by a vertically plummeting javelin by two inches, as it thumped emphatically into the earth, a finger’s breadth from my right big toe. The wooden shaft kept wobbling before my nose and eys for two seconds before I wrenched it up and tossed the useless shaft back at a charging hastatus screaming hate. It went splinters-first into his face, and his manly screams of defiance and challenge turned suddenly into wailing, unmanly squeals for his momma. Being in the first line means you get to see the enemy really up-close and laugh your arse off at their pathetic attempts at killing you. I was laughing a lot in the fight. The battle-joy was on me just after that first man fell howling onto the ground, and I met another in a clash of shields that sent jarring sensations up both our shield-arms. He took too long recovering from the after-shock and had his throat punched clean through with good Libyan ironwork. The comrade on my left needed help because he got a Roman javelin stuck in his shield, and had trouble fighting properly with it. The hastatus with the ripped gullet held up his shield, fearing more blows from me - as if the first wasn’t enough to kill him. I accepted his helpful offering and yanked in his scutum on the rim, using my spear-arm. I gave it to the troubled comrade and together we held our own against that corps of attacking hastati, but the rest of our line crumbled as all this happened.

Fortunately and just in time for us, the Roman flanks broke one after the other under the overwhelming power of our superior Punic cavalry, and after a series of rear charges that were made by our cavalry hammers against the infantry who was the anvil, the entire Roman infantry line routed en masse, and the day was ours. And here I am enjoying a well-deserved rest and drink in this nice new place, basking in the bliss of victory - I finish my tale with a triumphant smile, lay back, cross my arms and try to put my feet up on the bar-table - forgetting about the lack of chair-backs on bar stools, and lay into nothing but thin air, to give a frantic yelp, tumbling onto the wooden floor-boards. More gales of laughter erupt, this time at my half-drunken antic.

‘That was a decent tale, Libyan, but did you not mention something about the battle being won because of you?’

‘Did I not tell you about how I gave the comrade next to me the Roman scutum, avoiding a potential crack in our line?’

‘Ah, so you did. Fair enough. A well-told tale of good action, me likes! Do we have another warrior with a great story for everyone?’

* * *

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
posted 17 January 2011 18:57 EDT (US)     5 / 60  
how much for a not free beer?

I have not been in a true manly battle recently as the warlord for who I have given my sword has preferd to fight with scoped sword substitutes and silenced iron bows.

[This message has been edited by Bretty_BoIEEEYYY (edited 01-17-2011 @ 07:00 PM).]

posted 18 January 2011 00:41 EDT (US)     6 / 60  
Respectfully, Bretty, shut up.

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
posted 18 January 2011 00:49 EDT (US)     7 / 60  
Perhaps you got hit a bit too hard on the head, my Libyan friend! We Romans won that battle. Ah, but excuse my rudeness, as I haven’t properly introduced myself. Faustus Septimius, at your service. I come from the Seven Hills of Rome itself, pure Roman blood goes through my veins.

Now that we got that out of the way, perhaps we can get down to the true end of the battle. I’ll start off where our Libyan friend says the battle ended. Our men did route, those that had been sent in against their lines. But that was not the end of the battle, merely the end of your part in it. The Carthaginian general gave chase, all too eager for our blood. I believe that he did not bring his Libyan forces, feeling confident enough to let the Libyans rest.

As the forces that bloodied themselves against Carthage retreated, they went into a nearby valley, forcing the Carthaginians to narrow the frontage of their army. Several units of principes, including the one in which I was a part of, were stationed on the forest-covered hills of the valley. We waited, anxious to kill the Carthaginians, but disciplined enough to await the signal.

At last, as if mourning the Roman lives lost for this chance to destroy the enemy, a horn could be heard. The long, sad note echoed across the valley, our signal to begin the attack. At that moment, the men who had seemingly been fleeing turned and faced the Carthaginians, digging in their heels to stop the pursuing fools.

With a great shout, all the principes yelled, “Chaaaarge!”, and slammed into the sides and rear of the enemy. I slammed into the back of a Numidian, short fellow, with little armor and a funny accent. Well, I think he had an accent, but I never got to hear it on account of my sword sticking out all the way through to his chest. I withdrew my sword from his body and pushed him into his fellows with the boss of my shield. After a few seconds of frantic stabbing as we used up our surprise, it turned into a grinding stabbing match. This easily favoured us, as we had our large shields with which to ward their blows, as well as heavy armor to stop any blow our shield didn't.

Eventually they realised this, but it was too late. They should have thought of that before coming to our lands. "Please spare us! We wish to fight no mo-" one said before my sword cut off his words. A couple minutes in, I decided to let the guy behind me have his fun, and stepped back to enjoy the view. At this point most of the fools were dead, although I believe you can infer that.

I shall skip over the boring parts about gathering loot and such. We eventually came to be camped just outside this town. I asked where I might grab a good drink, and most pointed towards this place, saying I could have my fill for free if I told my tale. And that, you see is how I got to be here. Now, shall I buy a whole round for the house?

"The only one here who could possibly help us is Edorix. Unfortunately, he is busy off killing Romans right now."- GundamMerc (an imagined quote)

[This message has been edited by GundamMerc (edited 01-18-2011 @ 00:51 AM).]

posted 18 January 2011 05:05 EDT (US)     8 / 60  
Rabbits in the Snow

Innkeeper! A wine, and not that cheap mouthwash you keep in view. I want the good stuff, what is under the counter, for I have a tale of a battle fought just recently.

Gaius Julius was our general, and a man of more noble birth you would be hard-pressed to find. But the bastard grew up in Sparta, where his father was governor, and that made him a bitter, tight-mouthed lad indeed. Yet he took us, the III Macedonia just off the boats from Italia and led us up the Greek peninsula and all the way to Bylazora, where the Thracians were holding court these days. He ejected them from there, then took Tylis, the crushed and destroyed them at Campus Getaway up by the mouth of the Danubius. There we thought the lad a god for that victory, and looked forward to chasing Thracian women and seeing if what the rumors said was true about them and promiscuity.

I did mention our general grew up in Sparta, eh? We weren't in town but a few months when a passel of headknockers came to take over garrison. They get to check the veracity of the rumors while we get a new order from our general- March.

So we marched to the river, down by that bridge. There he gives a new command- Defend. So we dig in. And wait. And wait. And wait. Then we start wondering why. Well, we found out from a local trader coming back from across the river. Our squirrelly general was expecting a war- and to make sure he got it, he had hired some tunic-lifting fairy from Phrygia to strike down the Scythian prince. Not that the dark-haired make-up wearing fool had a chance, but we think that was the idea, as old Gaius had a much more experienced assassin in his entourage. So it was war, but the Centaurs did not come.

So we got a new command. March. Tightlipped fool, like I said, and Spartan to boot. Looking back upon it, we should have realized this was coming. We had two units of auxilia trained in the phalanx, but old Tight-Lip bought three merc butt-plugger units as well. Add to that four gangs of bowbenders, and one sees we are going to war against the Centaurs. And we were. We marched to the city and set up to do battle with the Centaur gang outside. Nice, we thought. We plug these, then go for the city. perfect.

Well, you heard the old saying that the first casualty in war is the plan? So was it here. We set up to do battle, and we see not just one, but two full armies of Centaurs coming- one before us, and one to the flank. The first outnumbered us two to one, and the second? Also two to one. We faced odd of four to one when they joined.

We expected Tightlips to order us forward to engage the first gang before the second comes to help it. But no. He stood there, watching the enemy gain in strength, then turns to the onager centurion and whispers "Firepots."

Those Wild Ass-jerker boys earned their pay that day, that is for sure. We could not see much, but we heard screams after every impact. Yet while the firepots flew, that second gang of Centaurs came closer and closer, and joined with the first. We were screwed. especially when they sent their own bowbenders forward, and started cutting down our arrow-fairies.

Gaius Tightlip waited a few minutes more, while our men died, then gave another command, one we did not expect. He said simply, "Attack."

What?, we thought. We were infantry- heavy infantry- and they were light horsemen. Attack what? The spot they were? But we were good lads, the III Macedonia and we ain't ever disobeyed an order yet. So we marched. A spearwall in the front, the legionaries on the flanks, and we marched to death and glory, we thought.

Old Gaius and the cavalry ala led the way- high-diddle-diddle straight-up-the-middle. A suicide charge, we thought, for getting us into this mess where an entire legion would go down. We were dead men, and he was leading us to hell. But we followed. Forward, to death by arrow!

The Centaurs were mostly bowbenders, you remember? A few axe men, but our own archers cut them down long ago, in the opening skirmish. So when old Tightlip gets close to them, they turn to flee. And flee. And when caught, flee some more. Before we could even gasp, half the Centaur force was fleeing the field in a massive chain-rout, with Gaius Julius Tightlip on their ass!

We followed at the run now. The butt-pluggers dropped their tight formation and charged. The Auxilia gripped their spears and charged, and we legionaries held our pila high and charged. It was 'air iron' when the pila were gone, but that was enough. Wave steel in the face of a Centaur, and then you have to run hard and long to put it into them. Those fellows are like jackrabbits, sprinting across the snow. And there we were, a quarter of their number, chasing those rabbits across the snow with glee in our battlecries and adrenaline coursing through our veins.

The whole thing could not have taken more than ten minutes after that single command. We chased and chased, all the way to the city walls, where the survivors hid from our iron. They are besieged now- and you know how Centaurs feel about being locked up into their burgs.

I have a lot of respect for Tightlip now. We thought him a fool for letting the Centaurs unite- but now we see he did that to kill both armies in one fell swoop. So another glass of wine, Innkeeper, I wish to propose a toast. In the way of our general, I lift my glass and say:


|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII

[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 01-18-2011 @ 06:27 AM).]

posted 18 January 2011 09:55 EDT (US)     9 / 60  
I enter the new tavern in town with eager anticipation. Chilling out is in the agenda for tonight - and perhaps getting laid too, if my tale goes well with the tonight’s drinkers.

‘Ave, Roman, what will you have for a drink. Relax, my red friend - first round’s on me for it’s first week of business!’ I am hailed exuberantly by the middle-aged barman, who just tore his gaze away from a scuffling brawl between an off-duty Brutian and a grizzled Libyan, the latter of whom has just began a series of moves which result in his wiping the tavern floor with Brutian pride. The inn-keeper grows impatient at waiting for my order, takes a great tankard from the shelf, and fills it with top-notch Falernian wine - worth as much as a month’s pay for regular legionaries. I have observed the whole process, and as he finishes readying the drink I make to take it from him, but his other hand bats mine away.

‘Nuh-uh, we have a rule here before the free drink, and it is a well-told tale of good action for everyone gathered here.’ his expression is sly, as is his grin.

‘Fair enough, though I consider that price too small for a drink as fine as Falernian.’

I was a member in the General Tacitus’s guard, when he was governor of Transalpine Gaul, seated in the old Greek town of Massilia. We and the garrison had little to do on most days, for as the empire of the Julii grew with new wars being fought in every theater across the Mare Internum but ours, we eight hundred men rotted in the apparent backwater that was Massilia. We were bored and unhappy at the lack of action and the inevitably attached plunder, all of which motivated real soldiers.

It was with this lax mindset that we were surprised then besieged by the devious Gauls of the northern valleys. They came without warning, force-marching across two rivers and past countless guard-towers under the cover of darkness, and we were utterly caught off-guard when one morning of mist and damp saw two thousand of the Helvetii marching over the northern horizon. General Tacitus, then Praetor of Transalpine Gaul, promptly reacted to the hastily delivered news and ordered the peasants of the city’s outskirts quickly herded in and the city be prepared for siege. Luckily we made it just in time, and no civilians died before the ruthless onslaught of the barbarians.

The initial excitement of the unexpected chance for action quickly died down as more and more of us realized the magnitude of the cesspit we were all in. We were caught in the Helvetian spearhead that was the first major Gallic push into the province in twenty years, and none of us had the slightest idea on how to pull ourselves out of it.

No one but the Praetor Tacitus, my sworn commander. He had more than an idea - he had a fully formed plan ready in his head, as if put in by Mars the war-god himself!

So we were all gathered and introduced to the plan, and one Alpine sunrise saw us opening the northwestern gate and pouring out to take the fight to the Gauls.

‘The rest I will tell, but not without a sip of that delicious Falernian first!’

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
posted 20 January 2011 09:45 EDT (US)     10 / 60  

‘Well that hit the spot.’ the wine is too good for mere mortals, yet a more succulent drink than Falernian I cannot imagine, even in the heavens. It is with great reluctance when I set down the half-full tankard to carry on the story of our sally against the Gauls in Massilia...

The sun’s brilliance poured through the widening gap between the reinforced gates that grated and whined as workers in towers either side pulled it open for the eight hundred of us going out to make General Tacitus’s plan happen. I lowered my head to avoid the sun’s radiance, and switched the spear to my shield-hand to better steer my stallion through the throng of footmen also crowding under the gatehouse. Eventually my horse’s bulk managed to force through, allowing him to quicken into a trot as we tried to regroup outside with the other bodyguards who were mustering a quarter-mile out from the walls, on a small hill which provided a reasonable enough vantage point for the commander.

I rode up to take my place at the back - only because I was late to the party, not because of that “weaklings to the rear” crap, mind. I saw a mounted Tacitus all by himself a few feet ahead of his fifty-six-strong unit, gazing at the distant Gauls who were just starting to settle into a firm battleline a mile out to the north. They did not have high ground to make their battleline on, for the terrain around Massilia was mostly grassy flatland with the occasional rise of a gentle hill, and I later learned that the terrain probably helped us win that day.

Tacitus finally tore his gaze from the now settled Gallic formations, and turned his stallion around to take up his position of command on the squadron’s left. I craned my neck and saw that our infantry of mixed auxilia, archers and a couple of ancient hastati had almost finished making their own considerably shorter line. Still, today’s battle depended not on them, and if all went well the only things they needed to do were to provide shelter to us cavalrymen and join in the slaughter at battle’s end.

Another two corps of heavy cavalrymen joined us on the low hill. One was led by a carefree-looking man, recently married into the family, a man who went about his daily business honestly enough, though without signs of much organization or energy. The other man had a more serious expression, and perhaps that was because he was very much aware of his father’s presence and the fact that in a few hours he would have fought his first battle and become a real man - whether a live or dead one was another matter entirely.

Tacitus was vaguely pleased to observe the arrival of his fellow commanders and the guards they brought, and nodded his greeting to each in turn. Now gathered in full strength we had almost one hundred and fifty elite cavalrymen ready to unleash hell on the besiegers. Tacitus did not spend time going over the plan with everyone again, but simply waved us all forward and led us down the hill towards our infantry who marched steadily forward to the waiting Gallic army. The footmen were ready and formed up, and when we almost reached them at a comfortable canter, we changed directions and swerved left to get ahead of them. Now I finally managed to get to the first rank as we turned, and the wind blew in my face - free of other men’s odours or the occasional sliver of flying saliva when men sneezed or farting smells. It was my turn to unleash all those at the men behind now. Refreshed and happy, I was ready and eager to charge into a bunch of Gauls and send them running. My wish was soon satisfied when we rode in a formation of a broad-head arrow, with Tacitus’ men at center, his son’s at left, and the in-law’s at right. We went straight at the Gallic line, the middle of the long and dangerously stretched thin formation. Getting closer to the enemy and farther from our infantry support, I could make out savage, orange-haired warriors naked above their waist and carrying long spears. So we were going to charge onto waiting spear-tips, then. This is not good, I remember thinking to myself, wondering if it was a bad move getting to the front after all.

Tacitus realized that too, and as the Gauls shouted in alarm at our unexpected and probably insane charge, he raised his gladius as the signal and we again swerved as his arm flew to the right. The unit next to the spearmen was a group of swordsmen - this time entirely naked save for a scrap of cloth covering their rusty genitalia, and spiky-haired also. What strange enemies, the Gauls. The stories said one of them great warlords back in the olden days once led an army of them down to Italy and sacked Rome herself. How men such as those before me that day managed such a feat I had not the slightest idea. Regardless we were there and they were ready for death, so we let them have theirs.

I remember seeing one spiky-haired fanatic from around ten feet away in our first charge, and that one crazy warrior turned around to lower his breeches at the last moment and just showed us his big white buttocks as a sign of defiance - and I also remember spearing him right in that hole to receive whoops of pleasure from my comrades.

Oh the joy we all felt in that first charge - the joy of a successful charge into a pack of infantry, the joy in sending the enemy screaming pathetically through the air like acrobats, the joy of spearing an uncivilized man in the arsehole, the joy of shoving that shit-coated spear-tip at more enemy faces, the joy at the sight of bloodied shit fly at the face of a comrade and hear him swear mightily in answer, and the joy of a thunderous, god-like frenzy in the morning. All that happened in the first charge happened again and again for the rest of the day, for we needed more than one charge into the Gallic line to break them, as they stood helplessly against the might of one hundred and fifty of the Republic’s finest heavy cavalrymen. We did not linger long after each charge, for there was always the chance that the enemy might quickly recover from the initial shock and surround us on all sides, cutting us off from our footmen back there watching their cavalry bros doing it all without them having to lift a finger.

The Gallic commander was fresh out of ideas. He knew his army did not have the means to counter our superior cavalry, yet he did not have the sense to reform his men into a less extended line, and just watched on as one after another, we charged each of his infantry units into breaking and running - even the spearmen - until two thousand became two hundred, soon to become two. Our own infantry were finally called forward to mop up the remnant, while we slighyly winded cavalrymen just rode around their flimsy battleline to finish the job from behind.

‘The rest of the tale did not need much telling, I believe?’ my throat runs dry, so I reach forth to take another swig from the tankard of Falernian. To my surprise the barkeeper snatched it up out of my reach. ‘Not just yet, my friend.’ he winked and my hand went to my gladius’ hilt.

‘Here you go, a full tankard for an utterly satisfying and entertaining tale.’ he grinned and handed to refilled flagon back to me. Normally wine is drunk in an amphora, but I am too greedy to care when it’s Falernian.

* * *

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
posted 23 January 2011 12:27 EDT (US)     11 / 60  
A character, too sober for his liking, sat in the corner of the Inn. He emptied his glass down his throat, spilling no less than a third down his mangy beard.

"Ha!" He laughed as he stood from his shadowy seat.

"Your tales of battle and warlords are of gracious intent." He bellowed as he staggered towards the bar, all eyes upon him as his feet stepped, snaking across the scarred wood of the tavern floor. One foot in front of another, wobbling precariously as his hefty weight shifted from one to another, clearly not as sober as he once thought.

He propped his elbow against the soaking wet surface of the bar, almost missing entirely and sending his lumbering frame crashing to the floor.

"But good - and equally, bad - men of the Shattered Spear, you have not heard of any man like Demetrius of Damascus!"

A hiccup.

"A man said to be so fickle, he once killed a Shepherd for tending to his flock!"

The large man was suddenly aware of all the pairs of eyes focused upon him, eagerly awaiting a tale of the infamous Demetrius. What worried him more was the eyes dotted around the room he could see without a counterpart! The crowd was obviously a grizzled and war-torn bunch. He needed a drink to settle his nerves, so he picked up a mug from the bar surface, clumsily studied it's contents cross-eyed and tipped the dregs of the abandoned ale into his open mouth, spilling no less than all of it down his beard and chest.

Still, he slapped his chops together as if his thirst was satiated all the same.

"Demetrius of Damascus! Where to begin! He is the son of Antiochus of Seleucia. His legend would only begin during the first battle of Damascus. See, old man Antiochus led the largest portion of Seleucid forces into Anatolia to do battle with the rebels at Halicarnassus and claim the great Mausoleum for himself. This left young Demetrius of Damascus with a paltry force of peasants and militia hoplites.

The greedy Egyptians marched to war and sought to take the Camels of Damascus for themselves, to further strengthen their eternally sandy-sandalled army. Demetrius soon heard of this aggression and pressed more Damascus peasants into service, for if they wished to live in his city, they would pay the price of blood for the privilege. Having armed several hundred peasants with little more than bread knives he marched them out to meet the Egyptian aggression.

He stirred up the passion of his small, poorly trained and ill-equipped army by bellowing a grand speech from his mount. In it he declared the brave Seleucid men should not fear an enemy who worships an Owl, for their divine god has only the ability to rotate it's furry head 360 degrees. Nor should they fear the Egyptian God Anubis, for a man with a dog's head cannot look up, as with any hound, he bellowed. The Egyptian inferiority is clearly displayed at Giza, where they invented the word 'Pyramid' to describe a solid cube which they had failed to complete construction of! He shouted, for never would an ongoing Seleucid construction run out of bricks.

The Egyptians brought more men to the field of battle. Mostly Nubian tribesmen, their spears clattered on their animal skin shields with ferocity. The slingers tossed stone and rocks into the thick Seleucid ranks, from the barrage a peasant was lucky to emerge with merely a bad mood and a headache!

Demetrius of Damascus, did not waver however. Staring down the Egyptian mobs as they approached. He ordered forth the uncountable crowds of peasants, their knives eagerly raised as if preparing to butter their bread. The Egyptians could not resist a full on assault on these citizens of Damascus, easy prey for their spears, clubs and pitchforks. They washed over the peasants like a swarm of angry - or at least, moderately irritated locust.

But surely the Seleucids were doomed! Their men outclassed and their peasants decorating the Egyptian weapons with their flesh. But Demetrius of Damascus was a tactician unrivalled on the battlefield. The Militia Hoplites sprung from his side and presented their spears to the thick and frantic crowds of Egyptians. Pinned between the points of the pikes - if you, gentlemen, will excuse the term - The greedy and impatient Egyptians were trapped.

Next, Demetrius rushed forth his Peltasts; men who's only battlefield skill worth note is hurling a sharp stick with all their might. And that they did, their javelins rained down on the heads of the Egyptians, eviscerating many, impaling others. The Egyptian's solution was to carve their way through the Damascus peasantry, and I cannot stand before you and lie. The peasantry was decimated almost to a single man. Just as that man, (incidentally, the very shepherd who Demetrius would later murder as I mentioned earlier.) turned and fled back to the - all things considered, rather ironic - 'safety' of Damascus, Demetrius and his bodyguard charged their strong greek stallions into the thick of the Egyptian ranks.

So terrified they were by the vicious attack, and so disturbed they were at Demetrius' willingness to use his own commoners as a 'meat shield', that they fled the battle.

As they did Demetrius was not one to want his name forgotten, so he charged his men after them. Swiping, clashing and running down all he could as he screamed "Tell your Pharoahs, Owl and Dog that Demetrius of Damascus sent you to the afterlife here today!"


A burp, from somewhere in the crowd.

The man realised he was standing, both arms spread outwards as if he were an Eagle. He enjoyed telling the tale far, far too much. But he had achieved what he wanted. The bartender nodded without saying a word, and filled a rather dirty looking glass full of alcohol for his consumption.

"Perhaps more later, when my glass is empty and the gods do not beckon me to unconsciousness!" He uttered, chuckling, as he returned to the murky corner of the Shattered Spear Tavern. Eagerly awaiting the next tale of battle, war or love.

A f t y


:: The Sun always rises in the East :: Flawless Crowns :: Dancing Days ::

"We kissed the Sun, and it smiled down upon us."

[This message has been edited by Aftermath (edited 01-23-2011 @ 12:58 PM).]

posted 24 January 2011 05:04 EDT (US)     12 / 60  
The Battle of the Big Rock

“Innkeeper! A wine, red if you please, like the blood my boys shed this past week,” called a centurion who walked into the Shattered Spear. He looked up at the tavern name emblazoned above the bar counter and grimaced. “Shattered Spear, eh? I’ve seen enough of those this past week, I’ll tell you.”

He accepted the goblet and drained it in a single gulp.

“That hit the spot. Now for the price, my tale. I am Gaius Acilius, cohort commander of the II cohort, X Fretensis, the hardest-fighting legion currently serving in the east. We were one of the two legions sent to Armenia to crush the hill-buggers and bring them into the fold of Rome. Four cities they had, and six months later there was but one remaining- Arsakia.”

He paused and noted that few men reacted to the name. “It was a little shithole south of the big lake to the east, over by our long-time and faithful allies, the Parthians. Our general, Lentulus the Consul, peeled my boys and another cohort off and went after it. He also took four cohorts of auxilia- the only spearmen he could find, and three cohorts of bowbending fags from Syria, a band of Galatian sell-swords, and one gang of horsemen. Enroute he hired a bunch of horse-fairies and other surprise additions to our little force and pitched camp up next to Arsakia to besiege the place.”

“The Armenian King did not find this too appealing, being besieged in his capital by such a paltry force. He had lots of those worthless Eastern spearmen, a few bands of hillmen, and some horse-fairies of his own. His pride was a band of Heavy Spearmen. In all, he outnumbered us by two to our one, but he was Armenian and we were Romans. He forgot that little detail, and decided to come out and play our game, by our rules. The fool.”

"Lentulus pitched us out by the Big Rock. Ever been to Arsakia? There is a huge outcropping of rock before the city. Lentulus put us to the right of it, the auxilia in a spearwall to the front with the bowbenders behind them. My legionaries and those of Nennius he put to the far right, with the horsemen to our right- hidden in a patch of woods no larger than that bar counter. To the left of the rock, however, in the forest, he put his mercs. We sat there upon a ridge of lovely high ground and awaited the Armenian attack."

“Artoxas came directly at us, then stopped to examine our lines looking for weakness. I tell you, it was hot that day, and the heat shimmered and made vision blurry. The dust they kicked up could be seen for miles- and there were a whole lot more of them then there were of us. So what does Lentulus do? The fool ordered us off that lovely ground and into the faces of the enemy.”

He swore softly, then laughed as he lifted his grizzled face to the crowd. “I should have known a man who was once Consul of Rome was a better general than a lowly centurion who fought his way across the mountains of Asia. I thought those spear-toters and bow-benders dead men for sure, while myself and Nennius were hung out to dry. But the forward motion of the auxilia caught the eyes of Artoxas, and gripped his attention. The whole weight of the Armenian horde moved forward to meet them.”

“They came to grips by the big rock, which Artoxas foolishly thought would anchor his right flank. What a moron. He paid no more attention to the right, but concentrated his attention on our right- trying to get around the spear-toters to gang-bang the bow-benders. Now I saw the genius of Lentulus. Nennius and I were in the perfect position to screw that move to shit. We launched our pila then drove in hard- swords and boards, into their flank and rear, while the horsemen behind us kept our own asses clear.”

“Artoxas did not like that at all. He charged forward then, and threw half of what he had at us, while the other half went forward against the spearwall defending the bow-benders. He basically played directly into the hands of old Lentulus, who chose that moment to unleash the surprise he hid in the woods to our left.”

“Three squadrons of Sarmation Mercenaries, armored horsemen, and four bands of Centaur horse-fairies launched unseen from the woods and went around the big rock to fall on Artoxas and his men from behind. Ever seen what three squadrons of heavy horse could do to a line?” He cursed. “I tell you, it was a thing of beauty. I never saw those swarthy Armenian buggers turn pale so quickly in my life! One minute they are on the verge of breaking through our spear wall; the next they are ghosts in the wind.”

He chuckled cruelly. “Counting the general, we had nine squadrons of horse on the field that day. Artoxas had but four, including himself, but he was tied down in the spear wall. He died a few minutes later, and Lentulus let loose the legion. We chased those broken buggers back across the field and slaughtered them all in a huge, running carnage. The bloody Galatian sell-swords never even got to wet their blades.”

He drained a second goblet, his throat as parched as the desert from which he so recently came. “Arsakia was naked on the sands, a plum ripe for the plucking. And old Lentulus- he plucked it. He then gave us three days to rape and pillage before calling us back to being soldiers. A just reward, for the fighting we had done. We had lost a hundred spearmen total, wiping out three thousand Armenians- our reward was well-earned.”

“And Lentulus? He was laughing. The day after his conquest, he heard from the Senate in faraway Rome. A Senate Mission, if you please. Take Arsakia. Well, we did, and now our clan rules seventy provinces, our people think our general Romulus reborn, and even the old women of the Senate still pay us a fair due of respect.”

“Now my thirst is slaked, and your ears full of truthful battle,” the centurion said as he headed for the door. “And remember this, people. If Lentulus appears to do something stupid, look to your aces. He has probably already neutralized them and is lifting your tunic to give you a good buggering.”

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
posted 24 January 2011 13:55 EDT (US)     13 / 60  
You will have heard many a tale on battles gone by, have you heard of the battle of Eastern Spartan Shore, I am only a traveller and my story may not be up to the brilliant standards that you fine warriors have & will inevitably tell to all but if you have not then here is a tale that will keep you going until some battle hardened warlord tells again....

(actual battle) Greek shore - 2 units of spartans (yes, gold chevrons etc.), 20 units eastern infantry, 5 units cataphracts, 10 units nubian calvary, 5 units nile calvary, 15 nile pikemen, 2 units hevy chariots (the list goes on basically full armies for factions of Gaul, Egypt, Parthia, Armenia, Scythia, SPQR & Britannia

"They send mere fools to take on the best of Sparta" - Captain elite spartan guard
"Were surronded sir" - youngest member of Spartan phalanx group IX
"More to kill then"

Parthian leader of royal cataphracts corps - "Your men shall lay down your weapons & surrender to the east & west alliance, you will not live if you decline"
"Never you Parthian Scum"
"So be it"

War horns sounded throughout the fields as floods of enemys closed in around the spartans, at least 5000 enemy's to 81 spartans - close call
"Form phalanx"
"Chaaaaa (etc.) rge"...

Screams went through the air, cries of enemy wounded, warcrys of spartan warriors
The first persian militiamen was thrown over a spartans shield (equiv : Srgt Aleondias) and sword swept up into the mans gut, tearing down his body. Others were pierced on the spears of the spartans, some spears weighed down with 2 or 3 persians. when it came to close fighting, swords were used. One spartans shield was dented "youll pay for that" His sword swept down onto the mans head, no time to scream, his head & neck waned as he sank to the floor blood coated the grass. The persians showed signs of routing, this was spotted by one spartan, "make them run!", everyone charged in one mass, hacking & slashing & thrusting, close quarter fighting was grim but the spartans were used to it. A persian screamed at the stump of his hand, his shield dropped and spear lost. A greek crouched to the side of him & slashed his neck....

The field was littered with bodies, guts & blood turned the grass red & liquidised the very earth, so far 2 spartans dead (only after taking at least 15 men each with them) 1 wounded.
"Like war then" Aleondias said to the youngster
"I was trained for this, & im not going to die uselessly"
The captain strongly smiled at this, all spartans were once like him, then they became the best warriors in the greek world.

Nile calvary charged down the small hill at the spartans the few with sassirae instantly braced, the horses sensibly stopped in their tracks, there riders flew forward, some straight into the ranks of spartans, they were butchered at sword point, limbs hacked off (etc.). one nile captain tryed to beg mercy as he landed at the foot of the spartans as he reached for his axe. It was met with coldness, a sassirae pierced his leg & a sword pierced into his stomach & twisted the sword tearing through vital organs, he screamed then went silent.....

Then the romans charged down the hill. A few javelins arcing & piercing the air came from the spartans, using the spears of the dead, every one made its mark, a man groaned & pitched forward here, a javelin went straight through the light shield of a roman auxilia infantryman, causing him to throw it down. When the last couple got their mark with sheer luck the roman militia commander was hit full in the chest, it pierced through the leather breastplate & he gave a shrieking cry as he fell foward but as he hit the floor the javelin protruding from him went straight through his back. the first romans to charge were hit back by the shields of the spartans, the men who staggered back encountered the thrusts of the spartan swords, blood was spilled, they toppled back into the soldiers behind, these men were only light infantry, a combination of allied infantry, militia troops & hastati. the militia broke, "why do they always break so fast" a spartan said, another spartan laughed "we are the best, if you want a good fight, why not fight the immortals....""though we better not fight eachother for a really good fight" he said this after he delivered a downward strike on a roman, severing his arm. His next strike bit into the romans soldier as he crumpled. "run you fools" said a spartan as he bounded forward and his word went straight into the mans lower back. He then stood over the man as he flipped onto his side & reached for his dagger "too late fool" the spartan lowered his sword into the mans lower neck. the sound of flesh sounded as he withdrew his sword.

The other armies started to withdraw their forces from the field when one spartan snatched up a bow & an arrow from a persians back. "wheres that persian" (meaning the captain of the cataphract corps". luckily he was only 150 metres away trying to rally his forces. "you wont do it" said Aleondias. the spartan tried he pulled the bow to maximum strength and let fly, the arrow flew true & hit the mans weak joint armour, it pierced his side armour, "it is probably only a light wound but he will remember it"

The spartans took part in more battles, some died, some lived, the dead took enemies with them. the rest lived until the final fall of sparta.

(please don't point out the many mistakes made in this story)
In the end (my own battle the spartans won with moderate casualties)

[This message has been edited by Alpha211 (edited 01-25-2011 @ 01:03 PM).]

posted 30 January 2011 07:28 EDT (US)     14 / 60  
The Shattered Spear still had a great warhammer stuck on the wall behind the bar, and a drunken brawl between two men was just starting as I entered. The bartender noticed it, and immediately turned to retrieve his fearsome weapon to maintain order, only that it had been stuck dead and would not budge one bit. Only the gods knew who the mischief-maker was. He stopped trying as I sat myself at the bar.

‘Greetings, Spaniard. What’ll you have?’

‘Ale is always nice. I have a story for it, of course.’

I am a cavalry officer, one of the hundred in service of Carthage posted across the growing Empire. Others have been posted to Spain, Numidia or Italy, but I remain in Africa to keep the capital city safe. Life in Carthage was easy. There never was much to do except riding around the city in bands on patrol, and riding was never actually limited to horseback... though not necessarily also around the city. The pay was good, the women were fit for the gods, and there seemed to be nothing to stop us from spending the rest of our lives in this eternal bliss, until one day - yes you knew I was going to say that - until one day a rebel army sprung up in the western hills. All the scouts we sent either did not get close enough or were killed in trying. We only knew they numbered some three hundred men, and we Round Shields numbered exactly two hundred.

I did not want to ride out and take the fight to them, but I had no choice for the brigands had secured firm control of all our trade routes out of Carthage to the western provinces, killing commerce and sending many of our traders into bankruptcy, while traveling nobles were captured and held for ransom. The city was terrified. We had to do something and see to the bandits who plagued the western hills, and we had to do it fast for part of the unruly populace could rise up in our absence.

So I mustered the city’s two hundred Round Shields and we rode out on the main road that stretched along the North African coast, leading all the way to the Numidian capital of Cirta, which had been recently captured by one of our armies. I was not happy, because I did not like riding to an unknown enemy. I needed to know what kind of men we faced. Were they raw recruits or seasoned warriors? Spearmen or swordsmen? Or maybe cavalrymen like us? The questions filled my head and each day I brooded on the coming fight.

Then we found them at last. One late morning we rode to meet one of my scouts who reported the rebels to have formed themselves at the top of a steep rise three miles away to the northwest. Surely enough, we came in the early afternoon to find the hill in question occupied by a bent line of infantry bristling with spears and swords in equal count. I mulled over how best to attack the formidable position, and I spent a long time deep in thought. A sign, I needed a sign from the gods.

As if in answer to my plea, a pair of ravens flew overhead towards the rebels’ hill. The two abruptly parted. One to the left, the other to the right.

And I had my plan.

We divided our forces, and I put half under Aqhat’s - my second’s - command, telling him to copy my maneuvers. My one hundred went right, and his went the other way in a sweeping arc just like the birds’ flight. Eventually we began closing in on the hill from two opposite directions. The bandit leader responded well, for he too split his men, sending the swordsmen at me while the spearmen went at Aqhat. Both charged down the hill at their respective quarries, who let their charge connect. For a few seconds they seemed to be winning on both ends, so we both pulled away and Aqhat’s men, being closer to the hill, galloped straight up its steep slope with the spearmen hot on their arses, while I led my men around the slow swordsmen and also rode for the hill to join up with Aqhat again, leaving the swordsmen to eat our dust. Now at full strength, we turned on the pursuing spearmen and made a thunderous downhill charge, breaking them completely within a few instants. A bandit flew so high and long that I remember laughing in pure battle-joy at his misfortune.

The swordsmen were easier to kill, especially when they saw their buddies lying dead in the sand. Our combined charge sent half of them to the afterlife, while the other half just ran, as if resigned to their fates already. We killed them all soon enough. No prisoners, for Carthage had to send a message that brigands and murderous rogue soldiers would not be allowed any mercy.

I returned to Carthage at the head of a victorious army, promoted and adopted into the ruling elite. I was happy, and now even happier because of this excellent ale.

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
posted 30 January 2011 08:00 EDT (US)     15 / 60  
Then surely you shouldn't be mixing with us lowers in a place like this, then?

I've never been in battle. Truth be told, I'm barely out of training. I'm just a "beardless youth", apparently, only now able to call myself a member of the Second. My optimo, though, keeps telling me that even a recruit of the second is a harder man than the veteran of the Egyptian legions. He seems to have taken a liking to me- I make him laugh, apparently. I don't know if he's talking about my wit or the time where I fell over in front of him, unable to shoulder all the packs and crap that they make us carry. Helped me up, which is more than what other officers would have. Although, aren't they not supposed to? He did have a weird look in his eye when he helped me up- and his hands wandered. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do about this- he's my superior, isn't he? Very popular with the other men. Gets the job done.

My centurion, though, Gods is he a hard bastard. I thought the old man who trained us was bad, but no, this one finds specks of mud that I swore weren't there before he inspected us, and puts us on charges. The older men don't seem to get them often- it's just the recruits and the backchatters. The optimo told me that he does it until we've proved ourselves with him, then lays off. I'm assuming he means in battle.

We're packing up, though. Heading for the frontiers again. March after march for a couple of months, don't you just love it? It's easier than how it used to be, though- I barely finished the training march, and many of the others fainted or sprained ankles. I'm worried about my ma, though. You see, I don't actually want to be here- my Dad would be proud, he was in the Thirteenth, and we all know what happened to them, but things got... wrong at home. It's a long story. Perhaps I'll be able to tell you one day, but not this one.
I feel a long way from home. Let me drink in peace.

And I shall go Softly into the Night Taking my Dreams As will You
posted 31 January 2011 07:53 EDT (US)     16 / 60  
The Scouting Party

“Hail, Innkeeper, bring me some beer, and be quick about it!”

The grizzled man in Roman chainmail and a helmet crested with a crosswise fanfare of red horsehair stood at the bar and instantly grabbed everyone’s attention. He drained half the beer in one sip, then turned to the patronage. His armor was still spattered with blood, as was his helmet. The shield he leaned against the bar was notched and bloodied. Only his gladius, in its scabbard, looked pristine.

“I am Sextus Vocula, pilus prior of the VIII cohort, I Minervia,” he announced, as if the name would be greeted with cheers, or at least reverence. It was not, but it soon would be. “My cohort and two others were assigned to establish an ambush position in the thin scrub forest northwest of Alesia, which we had bought from the Tattoos not long before. I was given three auxilia cohorts to guard my flanks, and three bands of bow-bending fairies. A little while later, Gaius Asinius, a cavalryman, shows up with two squadrons of horse and another two gangs of archers, saying our mission had changed.”

“It was war,” Asinius said. “The Tattoos attacked Marcus Julianus near Lemonum. Curtius, our commander, is to take Samarobriva. He wants me to take your ambush crew under my wing and scout the road for Tattoos.”

“I did not like that at all, I tell you,” Vocula continued. “Infantry under cavalry command? It would never work. The minute it dropped in the pan, those horseborne pansies would hit the wind, followed quickly by the bow-benders as fast as they could run, leaving us legionaries and the auxilia huffing and puffing under almost a talent of gear to catch up. But Asinius re-assured me that it would not turn out that way.”

“Prove it,” I demanded. Asinius showed me his ring- a nice signet of a bull on it. I knew that ring- given to veterans of the X Gemina, a good outfit. Asinius had been a mud-slogger himself, before earning a horse and thrice the pay. I believed him.

He set us out good enough. His horsemen went first, ranging wide, with our spear-wielding auxilia leading the pack, the archers tucked in behind, and we legionaries bringing up the rear. At first I objected to this, but Asinius pointed out that anything his horsemen find would come after him, and he would retreat to where the auxilia formed a line. Those boys would move slow, thus they were up front. The bowbenders were also no class act when it came to deployemnt, thus they could form up behind the line of auxilia.

He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Sextus, your three cohorts of legionaries are my ace. You can deploy the fastest, which is why you are at the end of the line. And if we are hit from the rear, your boys can spin about and fight faster than anyone. Or would you rather the auxilia be cut down while trying to spin about?”

He had me there. His deployment was wise- and better than what I would have done. I acknowledged his command with a curt nod, and in that instant, any doubt as to his leadership was removed. The decurion would command, and my boys and I would obey.

A few days later Asinius came flying back.

“Tattoos ahead,” he reported. “A full warband. Turn your men about and head back towards Trier.”

So much for his fine disposition. “There is no way we are going to make it back to friendly territory.”

“Curtius and the army are back that way,” he replied. “We are his eyes. Well, we saw. Now to get the word back. Move it, centurion.”

I saluted. “We who are about to die salute you,” I said. “We will all be dead long before we find the army.”

He nodded. “I am not looking to head all the way back to the army. They have onagers. They’ll be moving at the speed of poured molasses. But a day’s walk in that direction was a clearing in the forest. If we make it there, we can maybe catch the Tattoos in the open where the bowbender’s ca whittle them down somewhat.”

That made tactical sense. Got the men turned about and we hot-fotted it to that clearing. There we set up. Already we could hear the inked fiends already found our trail and were coming hot.

Asinius set us up across the clearing, giving his bowbenders the maximum clear field of fire he could. In front of them he placed the auxilia in a spear wall, with us legionaries to the far left. His companion horsemen he placed to the right, and he himself took up position near the bowbenders, to lend them morale support- and to ride down any who thought of fleeing.

The Tattos came onto the field in their typical long line. I had never seen so many of the painted fools in one spot before. It was an array of inked skin from foret wall to forest wall, with battle-buggies and all.

“Archers!” Asinius cried. “Concentrate your volleys onto the chariots. Use fire! Loose!”

The sky was filled with flaming brands. The Blue-face leader, some battle-buggy boss named Drustan, caught one of the first volleys as over six hundred flame arrows pierced the sky to fall among his bodyguards. Two more volleys, and the battle-buggies were out of commission. Asinius then ordered the bowbenders to concentrate fire on the swordsmen creeping forward, then on the warhounds in the rear, then the Chosens beating their chests in ire.

That was his thing, Asinius. Concentrated archery on a single group at a time. As the Blue-faces learned its deadly efficiency, they began to charge en masse. Don’t ever do that against legionaries, fellas. We stopped them cold with pila, then drove into them.

Asinius and his fellow horsemen picked that moment to charge into the embattled and riddled ranks of tattooed men. That, and the fire, and our steadfast determination to kill as many as possible broke them. They tried to stream from the field, but we chased. Asinius must have an arm of iron, I thought, as he chopped one Tattoo after another. Very few got away.

“Report!” cried Asinius when the cavalry returned from the chase.

We had gotten off lightly. That fire barrage.... Man! I would not want that on my ass at any price. Even in testudo! It was brutally efficient, a literal wall of fire erupting from our ranks to bathe the target in fire.

We spent the night tending our wounded, then made ready to evac back to the army. The horsemen had found two other warbands, and possibly a third. We had done our job- find the enemy, now it was time to get helmet and get gone.

Bluefaces run to battle. Did you know this? We did once, but had forgotten. We were barely out of our camp when the fools came rushing in from the forest. Asinius put us in the same formation we had used the day before, but this time we legionaries were on the right- yesterday’s losses came from there when the Blueface charge slipped out paltry rank of spearmen. We legionaries were put there in a two-up, one-back formation to prevent that envelopment.

It worked like a charm. The Bluenoses came forward and halted to dress their line- right in archery range. One unit after another was lit up, causing the fools to charge forward before they were ready. They streamed forward, batting away flaming brands with their shields and waving those huge blades with the other. Come on, fools, we thought, wear yourselves out. And they did. Then we killed them with our short, efficient gladii puncturing their bellies and thighs. Stab, shake him off, stab again. Ruthless, deadly. They could not take such punishment for long. Then they broke.

“Let loose the legion!” Asinius cried.

With a roar of joy we stormed from our formations, every man for himself, and launched ourselves into the chase. We killed them by the dozens in our ranks, now we killed the by the score. Again it as Asinius in the thick of it, using that mechanical chop-slash-chop to rid the world of another Tattoo at every fall of his bloodied sword.

Again we tended our wounded, and made ready to march. And again, the few cowards who got away brought more to die in our Meadow of Death. But this time Asinius had notice of their arrival. He put Stasius, his fellow decurion, into the woods to our far right, while the rest of us resumed our standard- and so far victorious- formation.

Asinius did his trick- first the battle-buggies, then the doggies, then the Chosens, then the swordsmen. One by one each endured a rain of flame, then assaulted. Some Head-Hurlers came forward to engage in a missile duel. Brave men, but stupid. One combined volley and they were fleeing with their diapers on fire.

Then the charge, and again our spears stopped it cold. It was then ‘air iron’ and plunge our swords into unarmored bellies and thighs. The cavalry cleaned up, and a third Blueface army was sent to Pluto in disgrace.

A fourth warband showed up in the night. The next morning, we faced it. It was a good day to diem, with the sun in the east warming our backs- and blinding the fools before us. They had learned from the past, and did not wait to dress their lines. They simply charged.

The bowbenders but some to flight, but we were rather few at this point, and they were many- and in our faces.

“Archers! Draw swords!” ordered Asinius. When the archers hesitated, he added, “Put steel into them, or they will do it to you. Now as one! Attack those fellows giving our legionaries a hard time!”

It was so. We had been pushed back away from the line. We did not break, for to do so would be instant death for all, but the weight of the men in front of us could not be denied. We had been pushed away, and that left a gap- into which the archers poured with their light swords and armor.

It was touch-and-go, but then Stasius hit that pack in the rear. Asinius had ridden around from the other flank and nailed that pack too. It was too much. The Tattoos broke, and again we chased and chased until we could chase no more.

We returned to our camp while the horsemen scouted. Ten thousand bodies littered our once sunny meadow. Our few hundred dead were properly burned- but there was not enough wood in the forest- or men to chop it- to do the same for Tattooed Titus. He would have to wait.

Asinius returned. “No warbands within twenty miles,” he announced. “And the road to Samarobriva is open and clear all the way to the town.”

“Mission bloody accomplished,” I muttered. Asinius just nodded- he was too weary to do anything else.

We met the army three days later. They helped us burn the Blue-face dead, while General Curtius stood by with amazement written across his face. He called us centurions over to hear the tale, and we told it like it was, as I told it to you just now.

“I am going to reward you for this fine display of Roman prowess,” he shouted in joy. “You, Asinius, will lead your men as my spearhead. Your is the honor of seizing the gates of Samarobriva!”

“You want to reward us, lord?” Asinius asked.

“I do indeed,” the general replied. “Fortitude and skill of this magnitude,” he said, waving to the dead still liberally littering the field, “demands its reward!”

“We defeated all four warbands in the province, lord,” Asinius replied with a nod. “We destroyed every warhost within a hundred miles of the town, leaving only its garrison quailing and shivering with fear within its walls. You wish us a decent reward, lord? Let us sit this battle out in the comfort of the camp, while you and the rest of the army that did nothing go take the town. We want a rest!”

“I have never seen a general turn purple before,” Vocula concluded. “But I did at that moment. We had been fighting for four days straight while he and the army mosied along at their leisurely pace, picking flowers for all I know. He thought we wanted to spearhead his attack, but after defeating all of his foes for him, all we wanted was some Rest and Recreation. He gave it to us, too.”

“Now, barkeep, refill my beer, and I’ll be on my way. The boats to Britannia have arrived, and the VIII of the I Minervia is going to be climbing on board. I have no doubt we will return victorious. Asinius is still our commander, and if a scouting party can annihilate all Tattooed resistance on the mainland, there is no way that island can withstand the might of the full army.”

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII

[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 01-31-2011 @ 08:22 AM).]

posted 31 January 2011 14:45 EDT (US)     17 / 60  
The fall of Europe


A man enters from a dark corner. He has obviously been there for some time. He is dressed in clothes of a similar colour to those of the Julii, but he wore no armour, carried no sword, and had a strange contraption about as long as him. Even so, he had many scars on his face, and all noticed he had a severe limp, if only because he sent his drink flying.

"Alas, my friends, if this is all war is to you, then I despair for the men of the future. Innkeeper, wine, if you please! I will tell my sorry tale, if the men near me will only listen, especially the younglings.

"Some of you may have heard of a tribe known as the celts, from the far away reaches of the empire, the edge of the world. I come from there regions, descended from those who dwell in the remote land out of sight and infested with barbarity to the west, known as Brittannia. Long after the falling of your ancient empire, for to us fallen warriors from the river of time, that is what it appears, the land of my home was overrun with many tribes, and darkness swallowed the land.

"But the brave warriors of Angelsy arose! We united before the hero Arthur, Hercules reborn! We drove the barbarians back, and established a kingdom of our own. Long have we defended it, from attacks from across the waters, our pride, our defence, our own. None have seized the crown, handed down from Arthur the great. None have dared land since that treacherous William landed, but he was defeated, and now our land has seemingly impenetrable defences.

"But lo! The great and ancient kingdom of the franks was cast into turmoil! the peasantry were dismayed by the routing of the Ostmark, bastion of Europe against the east. I will now tell this tale.

"Long have they fought since the last remnants of your folk, the Byzantines in the east, were crushed. It was not long ago that the scourge of Europe was cast from our lands, and the retaking of Byzantium was a cause of great joy for all civilised people. The Turks were broken, their lands shared between the coalition of Europe in order to prevent any form of uprising again.

"More wine! Pray, sit innkeeper too, so that this message may be cast into more ears to warn men of the oncoming terrors.

"It was not long after this victory, about 1768 Anno Domini, when the trouble started. Sorry, what? Yes, old man. Gray hairs do indeed show wisdom. That is the internationally agreed system of date keeping, since we all follow the one faith. Do not interrupt me again, however, or I shall silence you"

*flashes knife from hidden sheath on belt as warning. Inn is silent*

"You Romans. If you ever thought that the terror of Greek weaponry, or African ferocity, or Celtic bravery, was a terrible foe, then be thankful to all your gods that you were not born in my time. You barbarians, if you thought that Roman tactics were far superior to anything you had ever see, do likewise.

"Where was I? 1768. The tide of the east approached, unseen, unheard, unheeded. The savages from the east laid waste to the eastern regions of the old empire, the first to gain independence from the crown of Sweden, another northern kingdom, and marched on the frontier of Europe. We had long traded with them, as we did not heed the danger the showed us. They marched on us, unending. Their thousands of slave soldiers threw themselves on the defences of our forts and cities. I was in many a battle. There is naught to tell. They were near 500,000; we were just under 1000 every time. All we could do was get everyone out to Constantinople, and pray we could hold them.

"At last, the Easterners arrived. They were beaten back by our defences, and we both used weaponry that would shock you into death. We have arms that shoot fire[muskets], we have houses that can float[heavy 1st rates], we have walls that can fire thunder[wall mounted cannon]. They had bowls that could shoot lightning[mortars], and they had sticks that could fly and burn[rockets]. We beat off many attacks, and we thought we had won, if only for now.


"However, the barbarians could not be stopped for long. They flung everyone in the empire at us, it seemed, and scaled our walls at every point. We killed many, but more still came. At last, our commander was killed. A great man he was, Douglas Every, but he was killed in their final push. I fled with the rest of the men at this, as he was our only source of hope and inspiration for us. We had to leave behind any civilian who could not get out. The men were killed, the women violated and the children abducted.

"We then regrouped at Europe's next biggest fortress: Vienna. The people of the great plains to the east withdrew from the coalition at this point, as the fort did not defend them and wished to defend their own land from multiple invasions. However, we all fled there to await the next onslaught.

"However, in a message sent in secret, they apparently wished to meet us in battle. They sore on their gods that, if we won, they would withdraw.But if we lost, we must cede. We agreed.

"I cannot recall that battle. It was too terrible. They used monsters from the east to catch our men off guard and trample us to dust. They used floating cities and castles to raid our coasts to starve us off and block reinforcements. The English fleet was the only one capable of defeating them, but they had sabotaged the fleet, so we could not stand. Within hours, the coalition was broken, and Europe surrendered."


"But not us! We fought on! Despite the treasonous Franks we kept on going! We became the new Ostmark, the last nation of free men! We knew they would attack, and were ready.


"They had their general on those monsters I cannot describe to you.[elephants] They had 8 "guns" in two groups of four, each firing a shot as heavy as a barrel of beer. [64lb guns] They had 800 trained men who could shoot [sikh warriors] and 800 warriors with swords. They also had over 4200 slave warriors with no training, here only to kill [levy's] We had our general on a horse with 15 other brave men, and 2440 men who could shoot. [line inf]

"They pounded our walls with shot until they fell; luckily we never bothered garrisoning them. They ran towards the breaches, and started to hack and cleave their way through the defenders. But we were no easy foe, and we shot them down in droves. Still the battle waged on, and we defended too many attacks for a lifetime. However, they unleashed their secret weapon. They had technology that could give anyone frightful burns and scars. [quicklime shells]. We were hit bad. I fled, to my eternal shame, and jumped in the river that flowed through the city to try and douse the flames, but nothing worked. I fell under, and thought I drowned.

"But a voice told me that I was in the river of time, and I ended up here. I wondered aimlessly for days, until I found this inn. I have stayed here for 2 weeks so far, and will leave soon. if you think I am drunk, watch this."

With that, he hoisted his contraption and pulled a lever. An unearthly noise rapped out, and a dark-skinned fellow on the doorway fell down, life gone from his body. The stranger searched the corpse, extracted everything, and left without a word. He was never heard of again.
posted 04 February 2011 09:24 EDT (US)     18 / 60  
Baal Tramples the Dogs

‘You, Sextus Vocula! That was a brilliant tale. Hades, those Britons really failed hard.’

‘Not only that, but their island nation also crumbled so very sweetly fast.’

‘Great job kicking Brythonic butt, then. Now, I’ve got my little story too, and it’s about a fight I was in against Rome, in some place called Bruttium, south Italy, if I recall correctly.’

I am a soldier of Carthage. A Spaniard, you would call me, which is correct. I fight on horseback, unlike many of my friends in the army, the army that had sailed to Italy in the winter of 219 BC, to march on Rome at last, after all those years of failed diplomacy and seeking a way to co-exist. But there could not be two titans in one Mediterranean, and so we would take the fight to Italy, under the glorious leadership of King Bisaltes and General Castulo.

I fought under Castulo, and our smaller army had sailed up the southeastern coast of Bruttium to land a few miles south of the Roman stronghold of Croton. We numbered exactly two thousand - our men were organized in huge units - and we were almost immediately challenged by a numerically superior consular army after the messy landing. They were arrayed for battle, with their left flank close to but not quite protected by the sea, and they stood in silence, a mile away, daring us to accept the challenge.

Castulo said to Hades with the home court advantage, and just lined us up for battle. We were two thousand men, six corps of Poeni Infantry, two companies of the famed slingers of Balearis, one company of Skirmishers, four squadrons of Round Shields - one of which I led - two squadrons of Long Shields, and our General’s Bodyguard of fifty. The Romans numbered close to two thousand four hundred - the Greek historians would tell you anything from five to fifty thousand, but the Greeks also like to run around naked in front of hundreds of spectators, so you should know better to take their version of things. The Brutians had a great line of hastati, principes and triarii, backed by a few units of archers and those lunatic velites wearing wolf-heads everywhere, they had cavalry too, but those so-called horsemen were neither skilled at their trade nor numbered anything close to ours. And they had dogs. Terrible things, those mutts. Each trainer brought three and as soon as the battle commenced we could hear them howling and baying, and I would probably have been scared had I not met the things already back in Spain, where the tribes fighting against Carthage liked to bring hordes of the ugly beasts and have them released the moment battle began. The best way to kill the dogs was from afar, with arrows or slung pellets, or if you’re short on both, an unbroken, overlapping line of spears also works wonders. If that is out also, a good, old-fashioned full-speed charge always gets the job done and runs the hounds down in moments.

Anyway, the fight commenced with their full-scale assault. Typical show of Roman bravado, I thought, as we three squadrons of Round Shields and Long Shields rode out from the left flank under Castulo’s orders to engage and destroy the Roman equites opposing us. I saw their main line of infantrymen run forward as one, saw our own grand phalanx move forth with level spears, saw them raise their wretched pila above their shoulders, and saw the thousand javelins fly in a terrible arc at my beloved comrades. I saw no more of the main lines’ engagement as my vision focused back to the task at hand - kicking equites butt. We three squadrons charged the enemy’s three, man for man, and I remember seeing a man try to ram his spear into my stallion’s chest. My sword could not reach that far to deflect the lunge, so I swerved and ran my horse into his, winding both while I leaned forward and lopped his head clean off with my trusty falcata, leaving a blood-shooting stump whose host soon slumped sideways and tumbled off horseback. The battle-madness had come when I severed the first Roman’s head, and I used it to cause more havoc, slicing my falcata here and there, bashing my round shield at whoever I saw, and I might have killed a dozen in the frenzy, had I not lost count in the excitement. Then I sensed pressure from my right, and heard the sounds of battle intensify there, mingled with baying and yelping. Their dogs had arrived without warning, and we were screwed. Our horses were terrified of the black curs whose eyes seemed to glisten in demonic light, and I screamed for my men to break off and for the others to do the same, but we were too deep in the shit-pit now to withdraw. Instead we sank deeper and deeper into the net, and I thought we must die for we were cut off and there was no one coming to help us.

Except I was wrong.

We all heard it. The rumbling voice of Castulo as he roared his mighty battle-cries and descended on the Roman dogs - by which I mean both the real dogs and their human counterparts - with spear in hand, right like Baal in his war-glory. He and his bodyguard ran the dogs down like they were pathetic worms, causing the Roman cavalrymen to break, and we killed dozens in seconds. Now we were clear to proceed in the task of rolling up the entire Roman battleline which was firmly tangled with our Grand Phalanx bros. The Roman general saw us destroy his right flank, saw his men and dogs die, saw the three hundred of us regroup and turn towards him and his fifty.

And he charged at us.

Perhaps it was Roman bravery being exhibited, but I rather think it was needless heroism. There is a time and place for that sort of display, and it is the moment of a dying people’s last stand, not this first battle of a long war. In any case he would die, and die he did for his foolishness, as did the rest of his consular army, which was probably the backbone of their southern military presence.

We rolled up the main line, and rolled up the battle. We had come to Italy looking to win ourselves plunder and women and fame, and we found it under Castulo’s brilliant leadership, and we also found the first two in the large city of Croton, which we soon put to the sword for a continuous three days - just like how the Romans love to do with every defiant city they encounter.

‘And here I am, spending some off-duty time with you nice people, taking a sip of this - muck… Hey bartender!’

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.

[This message has been edited by GeneralKickAss (edited 02-04-2011 @ 10:35 PM).]

posted 14 February 2011 10:00 EDT (US)     19 / 60  
'Hail, all! Unlike many of you great men here, I shall bring you not a tale of a good fight, but an account of my captain's words to us before it - if the innkeeper doesn't mind.'

* * *

Soldiers, prepare yourselves!
Don your armour,
Take up the sword,
Grasp the spear,
Put on your helmet,
Raise your shield,
And brace yourselves!

Now men, load the catapults,
Ready your arrows,
Hoist your spears,
And unleash hell!

Brothers, there is a debt to be paid,
Blood to be drawn,
Plunder to take,
Glory to be won,
Great deeds to be done,
And women to be humped!

Now is the time!
Remember my words,
And out sword arms shall ache from over-use!

* * *

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.

[This message has been edited by GeneralKickAss (edited 02-14-2011 @ 10:03 AM).]

posted 14 February 2011 11:26 EDT (US)     20 / 60  
Hoe! Listen hear my fellow warriors for i have a tale to tell.

My name is Septimus Rumblus I am a commander of a unit of legoinary calvery under the house of Julli. In those early days of the empire our armies were strong and valient but for some unknown reason me and my deplted unit found ourselves in the middle of dacia with no back up of any kind. We were givin no fresh orders for several months so when a Thracian army under the command of their King strode out and attacked us we gave battle.
Due to the Thracians being weak and little minded all the did was put themselves in one massive line all along the battlefeild and marched to wards us.
Seeing that they had a few units of peasents and skirmishers in their ranks I decided not to waste my mens lives but to even try to dwindpe their numbers as much as I can so I charged straiht into and threw the units of peasonts making thgem roout me and my men laughed as we cut them down.
This threw the entire Thracian army into dissorder, the King sent orders to just wheel around and us the same tatic ....luckly I decided to do the same and when ever the emeny turned or presented an opening i chbarged into it making their army dwindle and dwinlde untill i killed their king in the first few seconds of a charged made by only 20 of us as with every charged we lost 1 or 2 men and so the battle worn on and on and as our numbers declined so did the emenys but alas the faiths spin strange tales for all of my unit apart from me and 2 of my compaiones survived that day even tho we had routed we were brought back to Rome and retrained and re supplyed i was even asked to jion the ranks of Generals and now I am the Faction Heir of the Julli
posted 15 February 2011 11:07 EDT (US)     21 / 60  
Call me a Sell-sword

Hail, citizens. So the price of wine here is a story? Well settle back, lads, and pour the wine. Ignore the sweat and blood staining my armor- it is not decoration. I am straight out of a battle that my boys and I started.

We were two thousand strong. The thirty men who followed me in are the only ones of us not pushing up flowers. The rest of our crew is under the ground, the price we paid for accepting gold.

You see, we were once in the employ of Publius Scipio. We sat around on Sicilia for what seemed like ages while the Julii conquered the rest of the world. We waited and waited, maybe we would be sent east to conquer the Parthians, but no. Scipio shipped us by the boatload to Capua, his ancestral home, to await the Julii onslaught which he knew was coming.

I was recruited in Capua. I joined the legions, and sat around growing old, marching in the hills where I grew up. I had never seen action, nor had any other man in our army in a generation. Still, the Julii held their honor and refused to attack fellow Romans, and made Publius Scipio a laughingstock in the Senate.

Finally he got his chance- Tarsus revolted from the Julii. Creticus, the Senate leader, declared the Julii outlawed- even as Tarsus was retaken. It was to be war.

We marched to the border, ready for action. We saw action, alright, but not as we had thought. No Julian army awaited us. We had feared their veteran legions- we met Decimus Nemmius and a bag of gold. He was smooth, and offered us a way to avoid facing the veterans of Amulius Tullus coming up the road- join the Julians. How did he put it? It was better to be a part of it, than a victim of it.

We took his gold, and shredded our Scipio colors. We were now Julii, and moved to join Tullus, all two thousand of us. But we had forgotten the wrath of Publius Scipio. He sent an army after us. That army caught us and forced us to battle before we could reach Tullus. So we turned and fought our previous brothers-in-arm.

Numerius led the pursuing army. We had beaten him in exercises, and this was no different. He put his boys in line and charged. Our archers cut down his, then began working over the legionaries assaulting our right flank. They broke, and the boys on the right began rolling up the line while the horsemen chased down the routers. They were busy, and so were we. Numerius and his boys died to a man.

Elated, we turned to leave, but Scipio really wanted our blood. A second army was hard on the heels of Numerius. These were the boys of Asinius Caprarius. They came on strong, wary of our archers, and made the same mistake- assaulting in a wave against the Rocks of Capua. We broke their right this time, and our boys rolled up the left to make a huge pocket from which few men dribbled out.

Ecstatic, we turned toward Tullius. We could see his encampment, but a third army came. This we attacked, and destroyed in total by using the tactics of Cannae- I weakened our center and weighted the wings. Victory!

A fourth army came, and this one undid all we had done. They were far fewer than we. We deployed for battle, but these lads- under Scipio himself, moved to our right. We turned to fight, following his moves. We were tired, but cocky. Why should we not be? We outnumbered them by a good margin despite the previous battles and losses therein. We had forgotten in our joy of victory that we had defeated our brothers and the older units. Scipio was leading Praetorians and Imperial cohorts. You might know them better as Urbans.

Those men just would not break! We hammered them fore and after, from flank and rear, but they held their ground and even pushed us back. Our men were dropping like poisoned flies. In the end, we broke, and ran for the camp of Tullus. Thirty of us made it, a man or two from each unit. This annihilation was the price we paid for taking Julian gold and betraying our liege.

And Scipio? He chased us, intent on crucifying us all. But we reached Tullus, and so did Scipio. We had hurt his boys badly in our defeat, and Tullus killed him and wiped the battlefield with his men. Not a single Scipio soldier remained alive.

And us? After this wine, we are headed to Croton to refill our ranks. We are all triple-silver now, mighty warriors. I heard a rumor that we would be spearheading the assault on Capua itself. As a reward, our homes would be spared the sledge of war, and the pillaging that followed.

A good trade, that. Yet still, the taint of tarnished gold still stains our hands. All thirty of us.

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
posted 16 February 2011 09:00 EDT (US)     22 / 60  
“Yo, centurion,” called another Roman in the back, addressing the man who had just spoken.

The centurion turned, and saw another centurion rising. This one wore the trappings of a Scipii centurion likewise overlaid with Julian colors.

“Your downfall did not result from taking Julian gold,” the second Roman continued. “It resulted from hubris. Your comrades died in that fourth battle- thinking that they were invincible due to their previous successes.”

“True as that may be,” replied the first centurion, “the fact is that gold was cursed.”

“Not so,” replied the other centurion. “We too met Nemmius, and took his gold,” and then he launched into his tale as he beckoned the Innkeeper for some wine.

“Like yourselves, our outfit was recruited in Capua and spent the next hundred and forty years there, doing nothing but watching grass grow on the hillsides. We were principes, once in our prime, but time has taken its toll. We had soldiers retire, and newer men take their armor and places in our ranks, but Scipio never disbanded us to reform us as legionaries. No, he recruited men as legionaries and encamped them next to us.

These fools would ridicule us for our old-fashioned ways, and rub in the fact that they earned more denarii for watching the same hills carrying the same gladii and pila as did we. They had a true legate, Gaius Scipio of the ruling family, while we were led by our primus pilus centurion. They had better armor, more training, and more money, and never missed a chance to rub our faces in it.

But what could we do but endure this unequal treatment? We swore oath to the Scipio family to serve, and they chose to put us in principe units and leave us like that. So we endured the ordure, and when the legionaries got retrained and re-equipped with better arms and armor while we made do with that of our grandfathers, we persevered. One day we will avenge these countless insults.

That day came when Nemmius passed our rat-infested encampment. Like my predecessor, he offered us gold to join the Julii cause. We did not even think twice. We took his silver, divided it amongst us, and promptly attacked the legionaries in the camp above us.

Gaius Scipio and his glory-boys laughed when they saw us coming at them under Julian banners. The old II Legio Capua? Those relics, daring to attack the best of the Scipii? Ha!

Asinius was our primus pilus, and had been for twenty years. He knew us and our ways, and what we could do. He also knew what those glory-boys could do, and what they could not. And he knew that while they outnumbered us, we had a bitter pill to force down their throats, while they would fight half-assed, like those lazy whoresons always did. So when they deployed for battle, they did so in their typical half-assed manner.

Asinius put us with four cohorts of principes in the center, three more on the right, with a full six alae of cavalry on our left.

He also had our onager boys in the front line.

That gave Scipio and his boys pause. The onager’s firepots were not very accurate, but that did not matter. We aimed at the center of their bunched-up forces- anything that missed invariably hit another unit. They were incinerated while trying to adjust to face our boys. And then they charged.

Too late for Gaius Scipio. He charged forward directly into an impacting firepot. Burning to death is a hard way to go, but no man deserved it better than did that opinionated sumbitch.

The rest of his boys just could not wait to get within the minimum range of our wild ass. On they came- directly into a rain of our pila when they stopped to throw their own. Dozens fell, and then we were stung a bit by theirs, and then it was ‘air the iron’ and put steel into flesh.

The legionaries concentrated on showing us their better armor; we concentrated in putting holes into that armor and dropping their useless asses. It was touch and go, then the cavalry came. They had drifted left before the fight, as if excusing themselves from the coming dance, and were promptly ignored. Now they returned with a vengeance.

Have you ever seen the impact of heavy cavalry charging into a packed infantry formation from its flank? It is the most beautiful sight an embattled principe could see. Legionaries in that impressive armor were tossed into the air like ragdolls, or trampled underfoot like yesterday’s leftovers.Six times we saw those flying squadrons charge into the fools before us, and six times we were rewarded with flying fodder.

After that, the horse-lads were at it again, dropping lanceae and bringing their spathae into play, hacking down the running legionaries.

They, and we, chased those buggers from the field. Not a single one made it off the battlefield.

“I tell you,” he concluded. “Some may brand me a traitor, but a man can only take so much abuse before he lashes back. Meeting Nemmius gave us our pride back. I serve the Julii now, and do so with pride. And do you know why I am here now?”

He paused.

“Julius Whats-his-name in Arretium disbanded us as soon as we reported to him. And he reformed us as proper legionaries. Three chevrons we have, and the best equipment cold hard silver can buy. Still, had Scipio dished out the silver to upgrade us, we might not have been so eager to take Julian gold. But Scipio shit on us, and Nemmius restored our pride. I’ll take that over the former any day, son.”

There were many nods and murmurs of agreement as the grizzled veteran accepted a flagon of wine and returned to his seat.

In his wake, the previous centurion nodded as well. Pride had caused his fall, but had restored life to his fellow turncoat. There were truly two sides to that particular coin.

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
posted 22 February 2011 09:49 EDT (US)     23 / 60  
Ah, you Romans are so fond of killing each other, and for what? Gold? Reputation?

Anyhow, here's a few trashy lines I wrote in boredom:

* * *

The blacksmith worked late into the night,
Banging sizzling steel into swords, axes, and spears.
For war had come,
Factions prepared themselves.

Soldiers gathered,
Forces mustered,
Hordes appeared to line the horizon.

Armies marched,
Ships sailed forth,
Horses thundered through the land.

Men and horses,
Leaving trails of dust,
Layers of sand in the air,
Blocking out the sun,
Bringing darkness to the land.

Ravens haunted armies,
Carrion birds, overjoyed,
To smell the stink of death in the air.

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
posted 22 March 2011 11:00 EDT (US)     24 / 60  
‘Who goes there?!’

‘Salve to you too.’

‘A customer, at last! Was wondering when I’ll have to take my hammer down from the wall and close this place…’

‘I have travelled far and fought hard since coming to Italy, and only want bread, cheese and ale. Nothing more.’

‘Ah, but your lordship knows the rules here, yes?’

‘What rules?’

‘That we offer premium ale in return for good stories!’

‘You don’t take coin?’ I gave my bulging pouch a little jingle.

‘No, lord.’

‘How about a couple of girls? I can easily get you a pair from the long slave-throng coming through outside. We captured thousands in Italy.’

‘What? No! But Italian girls, you say? Hmmm… Oh no, I still can’t take advantage like that. No, a story - perhaps on how you and your warriors took that country from the Romans, lord?’

‘Alright, alright. It’s not like I’ve got much to do right now. But I want food and ale for the rest of my men as well.’

I am Geberic, Gothic Warlord under King Vithimer of the Visigoths. It has been twenty years since we have left our old kingdom back in Dacia, twenty years since the day old King Ermaneric led our people in four large hordes from Colonia Dacia south across the Danube, past the great cities of Sirmium, Thessalonica and Salona, until we came before the high walls of Ravenna, largest of all cities in Italy. There our armies split in two, one staying to besiege Ravenna, the other going towards Mediolanium, chief city of Aemilia.

One after another, the weakly garrisoned cities fell just like their brother cities in the east, as Roman Italia gradually became Gothic, and Paganism gave way to Christianity. Not long after, Rome and Tarentum also changed hands, as we re-united Italia under a new banner, working hard to establish prosperity and fame for the new Gothic Kingdom of Italy.

But now new hordes freshly arrived from the east threaten to undo all that we have achieved, just like they had first forced us to abandon our homeland two decades ago. The pitifully few Roxolani came first, to give our high walls and strong garrisons a few wary glances before moving on through the Alps to Roman-held Alps Maritimae. Next came the slightly more numerous Vandals, whose leader and warlords decided to fight us for the ownership of Italy. Being honorable men and brave warriors, we eagerly accepted their challenge, and met their one army at the River Po in a warm summer morning.

There, King Vithimer and I, with our mobile and formidable force of Alan Horse Archers, Goth Lancers, Goth Noble Warriors, Goth Horse Archers and another warlord - whose name I forget - awaited battle with the Vandal King as his warlord-heavy army on the other side.

The sun shone bright gold, carrion birds sing overhead, the river roared and heaved beneath the bridge, and men from both sides filled the air with their battle-cries, threats, and insults.

As we prepared to send the invaders screaming to hell.

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
posted 24 March 2011 13:28 EDT (US)     25 / 60  
“Greetings innkeeper”

A large cloaked figure came from the shadows and settled in at the bar. Several pairs of eyes ogled him as they hadn’t seen him come in and even old Hamish held his tongue, as he tried to make out the man’s features hidden under his hood.

“I have been roaming around these circles for quite some time now and have learned much from the epic tales told here. Now I think the time is ripe to sit down and wet my whistle. I have a story for you of blasphemy, bloodshed and glory. I shall tell you this frankly and do not fear that you will smite me, as I know that young upstart nailed your hammer to the wall.
I’ll have an ale for my story.
‘n Vaasje

The innkeeper raised a grey eyebrow as he seemed to recognize the stranger’s heritage. He also fretted whether this man’s plot development was going to be up to par, but figured as long as the guy adhered to his rules; he was welcome at his bar. After all, having dealt with arrogant Roman generals, barbarians, deserters and young pranksters, a patron with a god-complex would look nicely on his smorges bord. He served him his tall glass of beer and sat back to listen to this newcomers tale.

The man pulled back his hood, revealing some distinctive features.

“For obvious reasons I go by the name of The Bald Eagle. There are also some lesser obvious ones, one being the eagle being highly revered by the Romans. And when taking the role of a god, I didn’t just want to trust on a leather band and a gold necklace.
Not so long ago my nephew brought to my attention that these Romans are very superstitious and that all I had to do was install a shrine in my home and they would heed to my every command, as if I were their god.

Though young in years, the boy was right. It only took a few moments to install the shrine and lo and behold: shortly after a proud Roman faction named the Julii came bearing gifts and offered to do my bidding.

It took me some time to fully grasp the magnitude of what this meant. (Because of my years, I’m a bit slow with these kinds of things.) But after some years these red clad Romans had dominance over the known western hemisphere. All of Rome was praising their exploits, except one faction that saw green of envy.

This came to a head in Asia Minor.

The Brutii had cut off the path for the Julii in southern Greece and the land across the Aegean, leaving the Pontic cities along the Black Sea to be pillaged by the Julii. But this was not enough. After Mazaka was taken, the only route left was that of civil war.
One of the young Julii generals, ironically enough named Appius Brutus, had been given a potent cavalry force to lure out the green Brutii legions that had been grouping around Sardis.

On a warm spring morning, 804 men on horseback overlooked the dusty valley to the south west. The Brutii were marching a full legion down the slope on the other end. Appius felt exhilarated, finally having the chance to prove himself in action, against a worthy enemy at that!
The other green banners slowly approaching behind the first legion didn’t bother him, at the moment.

He had the command over fifteen turmae of cavalry, next to his personal bodyguard. The six auxiliary cavalry would harass the legion with arrows as they crossed the plain to his elevated position. Here he had four battle hardened turmae of heavy cavalry that had fought their way there all the way from Mediolanum. Three freshly recruited units of heavy cavalry and finally two praetorians that would act as hammers on those Brutii principes.

Although the arrows from horseback didn’t cause much damage among the well armored principes, the Brutii were quickly fed up with it and sent their own cavalry in chase. By switching targets the auxiliaries managed to stay out of harm’s way, tricking them to the bottom of the slope where the fresh recruits couldn’t wait to wet their spears.

The downhill charge was a thing of beauty. The auxiliaries broke left and right, leaving the equites exposed in the middle. The horns started glaring; the men spurred their horses and gave their best war cry as plunged down the hill, striking the Brutii in their flanks. Within moments the equites started to rout, to no avail. Only six horses escaped the onslaught to tell their commander how the sand had colored red with their comrades’ blood.

The celebrating recruits were ordered up the steep hill on the left flank, joining one of the praetorians how had taken position there. From there they could see how the Brutii split their forces, with their left flank proceeding towards Appius’ position and their right flank seeking revenge on those who had slain their brothers.
When the Brutii right flank was half way up the steep hill, the four turmae simply set in a slow canter, moving further to the left. Wearing the Brutii down and breaking up their ranks even more.

On the right the game was up for the auxiliaries, they just didn’t have enough room to maneuver anymore. (And somehow they didn’t get the concept of shooting arrows from the rear.) It was time for a cavalry charge straight into the infantry lines, first into their soft spot. The second cohort from their right was some bareback Thracians, just begging for it.

I sent in the most experienced war dogs, as I anticipated that the two cohorts of principes would quickly fold up on them. The charge sent the first two lines of men flying, but then they got bogged down. The principes who were half way up the slope, quickly turned to annihilate those valiant horsemen. Immediately I set my praetorians charging down on the right, to slam them senseless and sent two veteran turmae to fold up the flank. The last veteran turmae headed right, kicking up a dust storm, trying to keep the attention of the Brutii’s left.

In the meantime on the left, I thought the four turmae had toyed long enough with Brutii. Their lines had become jagged and one cohort had already almost dropped from exhaustion. They were ripe for the picking!

The praetorians led the charge from the left, with two cheering recruits in hot pursuit. The last one made a wider arc, in order to slam the hapless Brutii from the back. It was a good thing I did, because those principes didn’t just crumble. As a matter of fact they put up a brave fight against the praetorians, inflicting severe casualties. When I saw that, I quickly had the fourth squad attack from the rear. It was just in time, only 33 praetorians managed to scurry away after those principes had been swarmed. I had expected more from them.

Instead, more principes were coming for them. The stragglers from the Brutii right had caught up and saw an opportunity to strike at my four turmae blotched together. I quickly sent them back up the hill, under a rain of pila. As they caught their breath I counted almost eighty men that hadn’t made back up the hill. They had finished off three cohorts to a man, but the price had been high. I would repay them.

As you might have guessed by now, my proud praetorians on the right weren’t doing much better. In fact, with half of them already cut down and trapped between Brutii shields, they were already wavering. Only Appius could save the day!

Sounding his horn he rallied the troops and dove into the fray. The Brutii to the left began routing, freeing up the other turmae to join in and save the praetorian hinds.
The battle lines were now completely scattered, perfect for my fast moving cavalry to piecemeal the rest of the Brutii legion. Two turmae broke off to the left, to strike the pursuing Brutii from behind and let the fresh recruits finish them off. The fresh riders I had sent to the far right had circled round and gave the two cohorts advancing on Appius a nasty surprise.

But what I hadn’t counted on was the stupidity of the auxiliaries. Instead of taking a breather, they were firing at will, from a distance, at the left side of the principes that were engaged with Appius. A total waste of ammo! And to top it off, one turmae had been so engaged at taking useless potshots, they completely missed the last Brutii cohort that had made it up the hill. Five men were chopped off their horses before they even realized that they were in danger.
Once I noticed that, I dispatched Appius and some heavy cavalry immediately, to do some damage control. But before the first principe could feel the steel of Appius’ wrath, the auxiliary already routed. Eventually they didn’t completely disappear from the battlefield, at least Roman discipline counted for something. They actually would play a nice role in the second part of the battle, now that the second Brutii legion was coming over the ridge across the valley.

The remaining Brutii were routing, making a desperate run at those green banners at the other end of the battle field. As my troops regrouped on top of the hill, Appius and some of the recruits gave chase, hacking into the necks of the fleeing soldiers. Not one made it to the reinforcements the hated Brutii had sent. At two hundred paces from their first line, Appius cut down the last one, sending a clear message to the advancing army.

“Come and get me, but no quarter shall be given! All you have to do is follow the trail of corpses”

If you want to know how Appius earned his laurels and how the fleeing turmae of auxiliaries played their part in it, I need another beer. “
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