SPQR Test

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SPQR Test

Post by Offensive Bias on Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:17 pm

Hello, for those who were in the CB when I talked about the research I was doing on a historical story, well this is the penultimate culmination of that. This will be my final test. A short story detailing the military career of Postumius Crito, as he looks back on his life, just hours away from the Battle of Pharsalus. I hope you guys enjoy, stay tuned for updates.


Legio XIII Gemina




I was only 19 when Caesar levied Gemina. Thinking back, about everything I went through, it all seems unreal. I was part of that great change that came about with Caesar’s war. The Republic was done; this marked a restoration of the Roman Kings of old. Now, here I sit in the soldier’s camp at Pharsalus. At the age of 28 I am to die, here in Pharsalus. Pompey has gathered his last army, and it seems Caesar’s luck has run out. They have double our numbers, and the superiority of the cavalry. This is why I sit here, within my own tent, writing my final memoirs. I will start with my life before Gemina, and what happened to me during these times.


I am called Postumius Crito. I was named Postumius by my mother, because my father was killed before I was born. He was killed in 678 Ab Urbe Condita, during the Third Dalmatian war, took a skull cracker. Right between the eyes. (Skull cracker: Sling shot ammo). He got his ticket home, but not the way either he, or my mother wanted. I was born 2 months after his death, Postumius was my name given in honour of him. It was fine growing up without him I suppose.

When I was 9, my mother took me to my first gladiatorial game. It was at the small arena in my hometown of Ravenna. I remember it was a one on one fight to the death, with one of the fighters being a black skinned man taken from Africa, and the other was Greek. The Greek had a very lethal looking short sword, while the African had a very brutal looking mace, and a small metal shield. I joined in the cheering; I drove them on, yelling my little lungs out. I laughed whenever one fell over, cheered when one took a cut, or almost bought it.

Now, I am ashamed. I watched these men, condemned to fight until they died, and I saw them as entertainment. Being a soldier really grooms out of you the love for blood sport. You identify with the foreigners and home grown boys fighting for their lives. The fight ended in a shower of blood, and a last, deafening roar from the crowd. The Greek stumbled, the African lunged, bashed his head in repeatedly. “What a sight!” I thought, “I want to see another one!” I said… I hate myself for that now.

When I was 11, in 689 AUB, I took a visit to Rome. I went past an Orator, who was giving a public talk about Pompey’s war against Tigranes. Ever since my fathers death, mother always seemed to take more of an interest in the Roman wars. She made me stand there and listen to the Orator, who gave a gloriously endowed retelling of the capture of Tigranes.

Despite my earlier protest, and my prominent cuffing, I became enthralled by the telling. Now I know war is far from glorious, it’s dirt, blood, bad food and death. But the tale of the battle had me completely rooted. After he finished, I continued to stare at him, daydreaming about far away battles and victories for Rome. It wasn’t until my mother shook me that I came back to earth. She said to me, “I never knew you’d be so interested in the supplies of grain, Postumius.” The Orator had indeed switched to this topic. I turned red in embarrassment and the day continued as normal. Except now, I knew what I wanted to do…

689 AUB was also the year that Pompey levied the first Legions, the news was reported everywhere, and now I paid very close attention to military matters. Just like my mother. One could sign up for a unit once they turned 16. I told my mother, she scolded me; hit me round the side of the head. She screamed at me, “No! You are not going to go out like your father!” I hated her for it afterwards. One day, when I was 17 in 694 AUB, I managed to sneak off and apply. I found out the news that Caesar had just conquered all of Lusitania, and maybe they would need the reinforcement for depleted cohorts. This bolstered my hope to massive amounts.

I was turned down. A week after, I received a message saying that they had considered me, and that I was not fit for service at the moment. I slipped into a kind of week on, week off depression. It took me until I was 19 to apply again… This time, I was accepted. The recruiters came in the middle of the night. Banged on our door with the handles of their swords. I was in my bed at the time, and when my mother opened the door, I heard them call my name. “Postumius Crito. Your application was accepted, come with us if you still wish it so.”


Chapter One

I jumped out of bed, and met them at the door. One quick glance at my mothers face wrenched my heart. Her eyes sparkled with tears, her mouth agape in shock. She breathed in sharply, and before I could say anything, one of the recruiters grabbed me by the arm, and hauled me through the doorway. Without a word, we shot off into the night; I looked back at my home. My mother had collapsed to her knees, and then she emitted one loud, wailing sob… That still haunts me. Even now 9 years on.

The remainder of that night is a blur to me. I was too stunned. I was happy I was accepted, but the sight of my mother had counteracted the amazement. I felt somewhere between misery and glee. I remember a camp site, small but crammed with around 2,000 men. All replacements. Caesar had fought a battle, by the sounds of the rumours. One legion needed replacements more than any other, Legio XIII Gemina, the newest Legion levied. At dawn the next day, I was kicked awake by an irritable Centurion.

Some time in the night, baggage animals and carriages had arrived with our equipment. I stumbled outside, to see scores of the men awake crowded around a large pile of sacks, and strong boxes. There was a man of impressive rank stood atop a small wagon. He bore a large scar down the left side of his face, and he moved his arm awkwardly on occasion. His plume was coloured red and black, his belt adorned with various awards for gallantry. He waited until enough of the recruits were gathered round, before he spoke.

“Listen here children, I was pulled out of the 1st to come and babysit you lot. I was having a good time up there with Caesar’s victorious Legions. But, when I heard there was a bunch of men eager to get bled up in Gaul, well… I thought it may be worth my while to train you all into a bunch of hardened killers. Because that’s what you’ll be up there… Killers.”

“I have the honourable rank of Principales. I serve a multitude of roles, mainly combat. I have been in service for 14 years. More men have I killed than craps you’ve taken. During your training, you will be given the necessary equipment and skills to take down a Gaul as he tries to spit you on his spear. You will learn to fight as a unit! The Gaul’s place personal honour and glory in battle above all else. And that is why they lose! The difference between us and them is this: Julius Caesar can give us an order, and KNOW it will be carried out. Vercingetorix can give an order, and HOPE it will be carried out!”

Next, he handed out the equipment. He called men forward by name, and shouted out their ranks. Three quarters of the recruits were ranked as “Miles.” I included. Miles were the lowest rank of Legionary available. There were some who were bumped straight up into Legionary and one or two who were given Centurion. But it didn’t matter… He still outranked us all. I was given my Lorica Hamata, (Torso armour) a Gladius, (Short, stabbing sword) Scutum, (Large shield) two Pila, (Very powerful javelins) a belt, a Galea (Helmet) and finally… A small dagger, but very sharp. Called a Pugio.

After that, we were given free roam of the small camp. I didn’t talk to anyone though, kept to myself. I drank the wine I was offered, I fell asleep soon after. The next day, we were awoke at the same time. Dawn. This time, we were given our equipment to carry, 45 pounds of weight, along with the armour you were wearing, your pila and your weapons. We each had 9 days of food. The forced march would take us from our camp, to the conquered lands of the Nevii. The Nevii tribes were the first that felt Caesar’s blade, and in the year that had passed since they were defeated, little had changed. Roving bands of Nevii warriors still roamed the wildlands around the towns. We were ordered to march with our weapons drawn, in case of attack. Half a Legion’s worth of reinforcements murdered would be a great achievement for an ex Nevii warchief.

We marched into one of the Roman military towns. It was comprised mostly of Nevii peoples. But the garrison was entirely Roman. 4,000 men defended the conquered Nevii region. 1,000 of them defended the military town. We came in, and were ordered at ease. Tomorrow, we would begin our training.


Chapter Two


The night passed slowly, I was apprehensive of the training, frightened that I would show myself up. And yet excited at the prospect of learning how to actually take another mans life. I remember having dreams about a burning wasteland, it resembled Rome. Except, the streets were red with blood. The dead were piled high, and I was the only one alive. The vivid dream turned from its bloody prophecy, to daylight streaming into his wide eyes, immediately. He gasped in shock, and groaned as the light burned into his retinas.

The Optio smiled at me, as I quickly lifted my hands to shield my eyes. He then laughed, and said, “God help the recruits. They’re all soft as fucking shit.” He left the soldiers tent, the jingling and clinking of his armour fading away, to be replaced by the hustle of the morning activities. I sat up in the flimsy tarp that was given as a sheet, and rubbed my eyes, yawning at the same time. There was a call outside. “Get your asses outside, now!” I didn’t wait any longer, as I recognised the owner of the voice.

I hurriedly rose, mumbling “Shit, shit, shit.” repeatedly as I grabbed hold of the red dyed soldier’s tunic. I flung it on, quickly grasped my discarded helmet and placed it on my head. I pulled on the Lorica Hamata, and tied my belt around my waist, with the scabbard attached. I feel a sense of triumph at my quick dressing, but it soon turns to despair, as I look around for my shield. The Scutum is gone. I overturn the small bed, I look everywhere. Nothing. My heart is wrenched with fear of what that bastard Principales will do to me.

I steal a look outside the tent. The grey light of early morning indicates the time, while in the centre of the fort, a large gathering of soldiers were listening bleary eyed and yawning to the loud voice of the Principales. His name was Amatius Petronax; no one knew anything about him. And as I had sat on the outside of the veterans circle in the dark the previous night, I had heard them say things about Petronax that was less than comforting. What could I do?! I couldn’t go out there; Petronax would nail my balls to a cross! I swallowed my fear, and marched out of the tent.

Petronax lined the men up. The first part of the training was the inspection. I was visibly sweating. I straightened up, like the men around me. I held my pilum, butt first into the ground, and where my shield should have been rested against my side, I hung my arm limp. Ahead of me, sitting on a low wall, were three Centurions. One of them pointed at me, and nudged one of the Centurions. He looked at me, and the others around me, before he cracked into a wide grin. The Centurions burst out into laughter, as Petronax marched down the line of soldiers. He stopped at the soldier to the right of me, my eyes flicked nervously right, and I could make out Petronax lifting up the chin of the soldier, checking his helmet was tied. Petronax grunted satisfactorily, and stopped in front of me. “Oh fuck…” I remember thinking.

The Principales looked me up and down. The look of annoyance on his face being replaced by a slight curve of his mouth, as he struggled to contain his mirth. He stared me in the eye, causing me to shrink down a little. “I was hoping there would be one of you idiots stupid enough to fuck up their easiest training. Now I get to have Virgil beat the shit out of you…” I made a grave mistake then. I opened my mouth.

“What do you mea-” I got no further. His fist uppercut me hard on the chin. My head snapped back, my loose helmet flew off; I twisted in shock, and fell face first into the dirt. I gasped in the mud, and almost choked. Before I could move for myself, a rough hand seized my hair, and pulled me up. Petronax’s face sneered close to mine, his nose inches from my nose. “Who the fuck?! Gave you permission to speak freely you stupid cunt!?” I just spluttered in reply, still too shocked to speak. “At least that put a stop to your big mouth.” Petronax thrust my head back down into the dirt. I leaned on my hands, breathing heavily, my head throbbing. Behind me, Petronax addressed the troops.

“See here, his small beating at my hands, as punishment for his undermining of my authority, will be nothing compared to what awaits him this evening. Everyone take notice of this fucking imbecile. He has no shield. His helmet is not tight. His armour doesn’t gleam! See how he eats dirt? Like the common fucking worm he is! Let this be an example to the rest of you! Anyone I see in such a piss poor state will be getting ten times the beating I gave out today. I want all of you, back to the tents. Training will commence tomorrow, after you see what happens to him later, you will all obey me like I was Jupiter himself!”

I was dragged from the dirt, and taken into a large tent. There was a large wooden table at the end of the tent, with parchment and wax tablets spread across it. Seated there, was a Centurion with several small scars on his face, and one, long scar scaling the length of his right arm. He was wearing his red tunic, and his crested helmet lay on the table next to a bowl of grapes. He had his arms resting on the table and was staring fixedly at me. I had to avert his gaze and instead ended up looking at the large white sheet that constituted a floor in the soldier’s tents. He spoke suddenly.

“Postumius Crito? Is that your name? Speak!”

“Yes, Sir!” I replied hastily, still avoiding his stare.

“It says here you are to be punished for dereliction of duty? What did you do?” I hesitated a second before speaking. Choosing my words carefully.

“I did not appear in full kit at the first training session, Sir!”

“What was wrong with your kit, Miles?”

“The helmet was loose, the armour not shined and my Scutum was missing, Sir!” I risked a glance at the Centurion as I spoke; he nodded carefully as my words came and snapped his head up at me when I mentioned the shield.

“No Scutum? By Pluto’s balls, he should have caved your head in with his own Scutum! You fucking idiot… How could you forget the most important part of your uniform, Miles?”

I swallowed before answering. “I have reason to believe my Scutum was stolen, Sir!” The Centurion chuckled, almost silently.

“I have seen this happen before. I can get you a new shield, but there is one problem. I still have to carry out your punishment. I will go easier on you, but you will have to face it like a true Roman. The men over there will escort you out, to the forts middle.” At that moment, two men had appeared either side of me. They pushed me towards the tent flap. I could do nothing but move in the direction they prompted. I was stricken with terror and adrenaline. What would they do to me?



Chapter Three


I was taken to the middle of a large clearing between the tents of the common bastards and the officers. There, I was booted roughly in the back of my legs, forcing me to kneel. My hands were tied behind my back to ensure I didn’t try to avoid my punishment. As if I could run anywhere, anyway? The fort was walled, with towers defending each gateway, that and the 1,000 troops in constant readiness put a stop to any wild hope of escape I had. The two men walked off into the midst of the Officers tents. During their absence, I did think of escape. But the patrols of armed men marching up and down were the final bucket of water on his match. They returned carrying a large crucifix between them.

My heart sunk, I would not suffer a fate like this. I thought they meant to nail me to it at the time, and kill me. A little foolish of me to think that, but I did. I rose from my knees, and tried to sprint off. One of the guards shouted at me. “Come back here you twat!” My way was barred quickly by a small group of legionaries, and as I turned back around, the first thing I saw was the fist sailing towards my face. There was a thump, and darkness.

I awoke, with the breeze whipping at my hair. My eyes fluttered open, beholding the change of light that had come. How long had I been asleep? Then remembrance hit me like a wave, along with the searing head pain. I realised I was looking down at the camp, and I turned my head quickly, from side to side. I was tied to the crucifix. Thank the Gods; they hadn’t nailed me to it. Just tied. I struggled against the bonds, grunting with each effort. To no avail. I looked down at the soldiers walking by. I shouted to them. “Help me down from here, please! Have mercy on me! Cut me down, I will pay you!” I said everything to everyone. It took me a while to accept my fate, and just hang there.

Eventually, a horn blast sounded in the camp, and the soldiers flocked out from the kitchen tents, and their own tents, to stand around me. Officers and the common muck alike. A figure shouldered his way through the crowd in front of me. I was breathing harder, starting to feel a new wave of panic sweep over me. I then realised, for the first time… I was naked on this crucifix. I instinctively attempted to move my hands to cover my shame, but the panic just grew when they pulled against hopelessly tight ropes.

The figure stood before me, with a scroll. He cleared his throat, as if to quieten down conversation that wasn’t happening. “This Miles of the XIII Gemina has shamed himself today. He has lost his shield, his most valuable piece of equipment, and has neglected his soldier’s kit. He has been sentenced to 20 flogs! Let those who have any evidence that Miles Postumius Crito is not guilty of his crimes, step forward immediately, or forever hold guilty in the eyes of the Gods.” I looked hopefully among the crowd, my eyes pleaded with them at a distance. Not a single man came forward. I slumped my head once more, as the soldier sealed the scroll, and stepped back into the crowd.

The Centurion I had spoken with earlier stepped through the crowd. He held with him a small whip. Thankfully, it had not been tipped with metal or bone. He was preparing to whip me from the front, and not across the back like usual. I closed me eyes as I saw him approach. I hear the sound as he drew back his arm. And then the first lash cut across my chest. I clenched my teeth, groaning heavily, sending waves of spittle out of my mouth. There was the drawback again. A man shouted. “ONE!” The second lash hit me in the stomach, and sent a great, painful shudder through my entire body. I clenched and unclenched my jaw, working myself not to yell or call out. “TWO!”

The Centurion, Virgil drew back again. He lashed a third time. Despite my vow not to scream, I let out a sharp yelp, and groaned as the aftershock of pain ripped through my torso. “THREE!” I looked among the faces of the crowd. They were grim, determined to watch and learn. I was their example of how not to behave. Why had I signed up for this shit? “AGH!” I screamed as the fourth lash hit me.

“FOUR!” I felt a warm trickle down my chest, and I looked down to see a thin trail of blood leaking from a small cut above my nipple. I took every lash after that like a fucking woman. Screaming every painful sting of that whip. Blood dripped off me slowly, as welts and cuts opened over my torso. Eventually, after what seemed like years, the final lash came. “FUCK!” I exclaimed, accompanied by a shrill scream as the pain travelled around my body. “TWENTY! Halt the punishment!” I dry sobbed, prayed thanks to Fortuna, Jupiter, and Neptune. Whichever bloody God was listening. Centurions untied me, and carried me to a small tent. The crowd began to disperse, and I felt my eyelids start to drift closer and closer to sleep. I was weary from the beating, and the crucifix. I just wanted to sleep.

I was laid down on a small bed, and sleep quickly took away the images and sounds of this hellish fort. I had finished my first day of training… Barely.

Chapter Four

It was a hot day in the barbarian land when I finally awoke. My sleep was that of an exhausted and wounded man. Troubled, sweaty and cold. Even in this, the summer heat I felt freezing as I started awake. The Centurion, Virgil had let me sleep, as the heat of the day suggested. It was well past dawn. Virgil seemed like the kind of Centurion who was tough on the exterior, but was fair inside. I felt no hate or malice towards the man. He was acting on orders… But Petronax was a different story. The man was a tower of hate and misery. Even though I have now come to see what he did as a benefit not just to me, but to every man present at the fort, I couldn’t help my feelings. I was young, and foolish.

It was as I was rubbing my eyes, that the cuts began to prickle. I gasped at the sudden pain, as the memories of the dreadful punishment flooded back. I resisted the urge to jump out of the uncomfortable bedroll. I slowly pulled away the thin sheet, and slowly swung out a stiff leg. Hanging on a cross would do that to you. I stretched my aching limbs, the cuts on my chest stinging the whole time. I shuddered at the thought of my armour rubbing against them, as I slid the tunic over my body as gently as I could. I heard footsteps approaching outside, and the tent flap was pulled aside by large, rough hands.

“Here’s your shield. It was found at the back of the grain shed. Had a note on it. Don’t know if you want to read it or not.” Virgil placed the shield against the tent wall, and held out the small scroll in another hand.

“Thank you, Sir.” I walked over to the Centurion like I had saddle sore. His face broke into a grin, which turned into a deep chuckle.

“Bloody hell, you’re walking like an Equestrian after a campaign season!” The Centurion gives in to his inner temptation, and laughs heartily. Even against the stiffness in my joints, and the pain of my cuts, I join him as I shamble towards him across the small tent. Eventually, I reach him. He claps me on the shoulder, slapping a cut. I wince, and he swears and apologises. He is a good man, Virgil. After he leaves, I stroke the surface of the shield, wiping away a spot of grime. It still has a shine, reflecting my face in its elegant and awe inspiring pattern. The majesty and might of Rome, shown in one image. The image of a Legionaries shield.

I unroll the scroll, and scan the writing. It read: “Hello friend. Thank you for letting me borrow your shield. Mine was lost in a river but I managed to replace it now. Cost me damn near a months wages. Hope your cuts heal soon. Under the service of the Senate and People of Rome, Legionary Gallus.” I remember thinking it was stupid of him to sign that note. But then it occurs to me that after I’d already been punished, he was free of punishment. As far as the others were concerned, the blame lay with me, and me only. The bastards.

I was wondering what I was going to have to do for the day, when Virgil reappeared in the tent. He came with my armour and sword. He tossed the gladius on the bed casually, and dropped the armour down on the ground. “I spoke to Petronax. He says you are to suit up and be ready for training. You’ll be doing fitness he said. Try not to fall behind or fall or anything like that. He’ll kick your balls into your head otherwise.” I smile at the joke, and salute him as I was taught. He salutes back and walks out of the tent, leaving me in privacy. A good man for an Officer.

I tie the final straps on my helmet after I polished it. I give my shield a quick going over with some spit and cloth. It’s the best I can do for now. As I suspected, my Lorica Hamata is very uncomfortable on the scratches, but I do my best to ignore the itching pain. I put on my belt and clip on the scabbard. I check the sword isn’t loose, and heft my shield. The weight reassures me that there will be no more acts of discipline. I breath deeply and walk outside into the sun. Despite the heat outside, it is actually a lot cooler outside than inside a thick goatskin tent. I welcome the change in temperature.

I am confused as I look around the fort. There are none of the replacements or Petronax anywhere. I finally see Virgil enjoying the sun. He is sitting with a group of other Centurions, laughing and sipping at a goblet of wine. I march towards him. He seems to know why I am coming. Without speaking, he points towards the Western wall. I nod my thanks and proceed that way, passing garrison troops laughing and chatting. I catch a brief smell of roast pork, that inflames my hunger and moistens my mouth. I ignore the promise of meat as I hear the deep roar of Petronax’s voice. As I round a corner of tents I find him at the large space cleared for runs and training. He was with him all the men. They run around the track, while Petronax shouts his unique brand of encouragement at them. Red faced, sweaty and panting louder than groans, the others are beat.

I approach Petronax from behind, his gleaming armour and finely plumed helmet reflecting an air of experience and power. He hears me approach. Turning his head quickly, he catches sight of me and yells to the rest. “Get lost you lot! Get some refreshment from the cook!” As the first of them began to traipse past, sweat glistening on their flushed faces, some of them took off helmets that dropped collected water, while running hands through their wet hair. I stared ashamedly at them. Many went past without looking, but some gave me looks of pity. They’d rather run miles than face a flogging. But there was one who smiled and waved at me as he breathed heavily through a crescent shaped mouth. I stared suspiciously as Petronax was the last man there.

He was shorter than me. I was a rather tall youth, but that didn’t stop him from being a hard arse. He jabbed a finger into my chest hard, “You’re late, Miles.” I saluted immediately.

“Sorry Sir. I was given time to rest.” He shook his head and chuckled to himself.

“That damned Centurion is going soft. Two weeks ago he’d have skinned you alive for loss of kit.” I had nothing to say to that. The silence dragged on while Petronax seemed to be lost inside his own head. Eventually his eyes blinked suddenly, and he shook his head sharply. “Miles. While your comrades drink and eat, you are to run around this track. I’ll check back on you every ten minutes. If you aren’t sweating, I’ll kick your fucking teeth in.” The threat was delivered bluntly, but I had no doubts that Petronax would resort to an old fashioned beating. I saluted and broke into a steady jog.

True to his word, Petronax had been checking back. Two hours had passed, and despite a small 5 minute break, I hadn’t been allowed to stop. I was no longer running. I was just placing one foot in front of the other, barely able to keep a straight line. The weight of my shield, that I had grown used to, was beginning to feel like a boulder strapped to my hand. My scabbard and armour jingled with every movement of my legs. My breathing was ragged, and my face just as red and sweaty as those who had passed me hours ago, why by now were full of wine and pork. I suddenly fell.

My foot caught something, and I fell headfirst to the ground. My helmet bounced off the dirt floor, and I somersaulted across the ground, landing hard on my back. The impact drove the breath from me. I gasped a dry choke and rolled on my side, clutching my burning ribs. My cuts seared, but they were nothing compared to the physical agony of my joints and breathless lungs. I got to my knees, blinking sweat out of my eyes, until I felt light headed and sick. I dropped to my hands and knees, and dry heaved on the spot. I had nothing to throw up, and the discomfort of retching dragged on. I eventually heard a voice behind me. My heart was beating in my ears, and I barely heard him.

Hands gripped my armour and lifted me up. I tried to concentrate on the voice, that sounded nothing more than a muffled echo. A hand slapped me, and I could hear again. “Are you alright lad?” I tried to speak but began retching again. “Oh for fuck sake!” I was in paradise for seconds, as the amazing texture of water cascaded across my face and down the holes in my armour where it seemed to condensate instantly. I opened my mouth to let drops of the sweet liquid flow in. A face settled in front of mine. Virgil again. He sat me down in the sun baked dirt and handed me a canteen of water.

“Petronax was dealing with a drunk recruit, he sent me down to check you weren’t slacking. I brought you some water. I went through the same you did, Miles. I know what it’s like.”
I nodded my thanks and raised the canteen to my mouth. I gulped the fluid within, savouring each mouthful as it passed through me. It did little to sate my burning thirst however, and when the last drops had gone, I found myself desperate for more. I handed the canteen back to him, and he placed a hand on my shoulder. “Can you talk yet?”

“I can. Thank you, Sir.” Virgil grunted and took his hand off me.

“Just don’t mention it to Petronax. Don’t want him thinking I’m going soft now.” We both smiled, and he helped me up. “Come on boy, I’ll get you off this. You’ve suffered enough.” I smiled gratefully and began to walk, each footstep a chore, each time my foot hit the ground I had to steady myself before I fell. I had begun to cool down, and my limbs began to ache worse than before, and my legs shook.

Virgil sat me down outside the small tavern. The smell of meat was incredibly tantalising and close, and it was a struggle for me not to wander towards the smell. In front of me, Virgil was talking to Petronax. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but Petronax seemed fairly pissed off. I heard Petronax roar over the ruckus from inside the tavern. “It’s his own fucking fault!” Virgil said something, to which Petronax lowered his head, furrowing his brow with one hand. He nodded slightly, and then promptly turned and walked away. He stopped to kick at a soldier on the floor. He looked sauced out of his mind, and a freshly bruised eye stuck out like a wound on his face.

Virgil returned to me with a wide smile. “You’re cleared, Miles. I made him see reason. Anyway, get in there. Grab some wine, eat. You’ll be doing a few miles run later. Better prepare yourself.” I smiled at this Centurion, who had taken such a shining to me.

“Sir? Before I go, I have to ask you something.” He frowned and straightened his helmet.

“What is it, Miles?”

“Please, Sir. Will you call me Crito from now on?” His frown turned to a smile.

“Certainly, Crito. Now get drunk for fuck sake!” With that, he left and I moved into the tavern. I can’t remember much of the next three or so hours. I do remember drinking more than I should have. And then I remember Petronax shoving my head into a huge barrel of freezing water. And then we began our run.

Chapter Five


Six months had passed, and it was now 698 AUB. Months of constant drills and marching had worked their effect on me. I now had amazing stamina, and I was well drilled in using my weapons. Today, we would be leaving the lands of the Helveti and marching straight to Caesar himself, finally. He was wintering at a large camp in the North Western tip of Gaul. The edge of the world. Our three Cohorts assembled on our final day in the camp. Virgil and Petronax would be marching with us back to the legions. Virgil was my Centuries Centurion, and he had picked me as his Optio. I held second in command of a Century, and I was beaming with pride. We stood in ordered ranks, our standard bearers and officers in their right places. I took my position behind the Centurion, my plumed helmet standing out amongst the rest. The camp Prefect was stood in front of us, patrolling up and down. His speech echoed along to all the men in the line of legionaries.

"Good morning, men of the 13th Legion. You are no longer raw recruits from months ago. I have watched your progress, seen you sweat under the harsh sun and and glare from your superior. I have seen men punished and men become hard and tough. You are legionaries of Rome now. Caesar will be expecting these three Cohorts for his depleted 13th Legion, and you will arrive there safely, under the guide of Petronax. I know that with the aid of men like you, the Gallic campaign will be over shortly, and much new territory will be awarded to the Republic. You are seeing Rome become the mightiest of all nations right now, and you all have the honour in making her the great nation she is destined to be. Now, at the sound of the horn you shall march from the gates of this fort. And then you will be Rome's most fearsome warriors. Men of the 13th, Salute!"

The Prefect saluted and walked off out of the path of the the Cohorts. We faced the gate, and then the horns blasted, echoing over the silence. Alongside the road that moved through the camp, the garrison had lined up and they all stood at attention. I heard Virgil yell the order to march. "Porro incedo!" and then we moved forwards. Each Centurion called out the step, "Sin! Sin! Sin, dex sin! Sin! Sin! Sin, dex sin!" The gateway loomed closer, and eventually we passed under its arch, the sound of hundreds of heavily armoured soldiers marching in step drowned out everything else. We would march 20 miles today.

At the end of that day, we threw our camp up. And we were resting in our goatskin tents, when it began to rain in the night. That bastard who stole my shield, Gallus, was in my Contibernum and I did my best to ignore him. Which was fairly easy. He'd grown quiet as the months went by. The men were tired and fell right asleep. I was the last one awake, and I sat polishing my helmet and sword. As I examined my gladius and slid it back into the scabbard, Gallus suddenly sat up from his bunk. "Your name is Crito, isn't it?" I blinked away my confusion and answered back curtly and harshly.

"Yes, what of it?" He walked over and sat down next to me, on my bunk. He picked up my helmet and began polishing it for me.

"I want to say I am sorry, Crito. Taking your shield, it was foolish of me. And I know you went through a lot of pain because of what I did. And I want to know if we can put the incident behind us. What do you say?" When Gallus said this, it was something I did not expect. I saw that he was genuinely sorry, but despite this... My anger remained. I tore my helmet from his grasp. I stared him down.

"You will refer to me as Sir from now on. I am your Optio, you will treat me with respect or I will have you own shit shovelling duty for a year. Get back to your bunk."

In the morning, the land was sodden and as we dismantled the camps and set out on another 20 mile march, the mud overflowed into the Caliga, making them uncomfortable and freezing the feet. During small breaks, men would take off their scarfs, rip them in half and tie them around their feet. I abstained from this. As an Optio, I had to maintain appearances and discipline. This day was the day I first took a mans life. As we were marching, still in Helveti lands, there came a sudden noise from the trees on either side of us. the banging of metal against wood, and the yelling of men driven into feats of fanatacism by their leaders. We were attacked by a rogue band of Helveti tribesmen who refused to accept Roman rule.

It came unexpectedly, and completely out of the blue. We were marching, to the familiar drone of the Centurions. "Sin! Sin! Sin, dex, sin!" When the clatter started from the sides. We halted immediately, and without the Centurions yelling a command, we were battle ready. Our soldiers packs were slung off, we practically tore the shields out of their covers, and then our helmets were on. Then pale shapes emerged amongst the trees, surging towards us, their blood crazed yelling carrying them forward. Virgil turned to me then. "Split Century in half. You command 40, I command 40! Century in half!" The men split immediately. The 40 under Virgil took one side of the trees, while my 40 faced the other half. The rest of the Cohorts followed our commands until there was a solid line of red shields facing the advancing Gauls. Not a second later, they were upon us.

The ear splitting sound of weapons hitting shields could be heard all along the line. I felt something impact with my shield. Had I not been holding it tight, it would have fell out of my grasp. My gladius was held between the gap between my shield and the man next to me. I thrust out, and felt my arm jar as the sword went into someone. I ripped the blade out immediately, feeling the warm spray of blood on my hand. Screams began ringing out, and I lowered my shield to be able to see over it. There were swarms of the barbarians heading for us, carrying farming tools, axes, spears, anything. I saw one of them sprinting towards me. He held an axe high, and when he reached me, he swung it down towards me. I stuck my head back just out of reach of the axe, and let it hook onto my shield. As soon as the axe hooked onto my shield, I quickly yanked it back. The axe fell out of the barbarians grip, and he fell to the muddy earth. I slammed the bottom edge of my shield onto the back of his head, and heard a dull crack. His body spasmed, and I stepped over him.

The fight continued on, the barbarians being no match for Roman might and discipline. They fell, one by one, bleeding from wounds to the torso and neck. I struck out at my latest victim, felling him with one thrust. He collapsed heavily against my shield, and he slipped off on his own blood. I saw the remainder of the barbarians running back into the forest, and a ragged cheer erupted from the legionaries. We began banging our swords on the rims of our shields, making a cocaphony of noise to rival their screaming when they first attacked. Their dead were piled high around us.

When we made camp at the end of the day, we had only suffered some minor wounded. One man had taken a spear to his ankle, and would have to be carried on the spare horses for a while. The Helveti dead numbered around 500. With around 40 wounded. They were interrogated by Petronax. Then they all had their throats cut and were uncaringly tossed out of the camp. Sleep came easily to us that night. In the morning, I awoke to find a small detatchment of horsemen. Around 60 in all. They were preparing to hunt down some of the renegade Helveti to ensure justice was properly served. They were taking volunteers.

I rode from the camp with the others, Gallus among the volunteers as well as Virgil. We knew from the survivors where the Helveti were hiding, and it would be easy flushing them out. I was given cavalry equipment, including the oval shield, the spear and the spatha cavalry sword. After some hard riding, we reached a small river. We let the horses drink and rest for a while. The Decurion called us all over. He carved a map in the mud with his dagger, marking the Helveti hideouts with and "X". He split us into groups of two, and we were to close in on the biggest. I was paired with Gallus.

When we reached our section of the river, we saw a man bathing in the water. When he saw us his eyes widened in surprise and fear. He ran ashore and tore through the trees near the bank. Gallus spurred his horse after the lone man. I tried to catch up, wading the shallow water, I made it to the bank. My horse took one step into the treeline, and I felt hands grasp at my leg. I barely had time to look at my assailant before I was dragged from my horse. I lost my shield as I fell and I rolled down the small incline. I fell half in the water, half out. I spluttered and coughed and as I rolled over onto my back, the barbarian was stood over me.

He slammed his boot into my chest and held me under the water. Then he fell on top of me, his hands clasped around my throat and held my head underwater. I held what little breath I had in my lungs, and began tearing at his eyes.Panic overtook me, my vision going blurry. My chest burned in the need for oxygen, while the hands of my killer tightened ever further. I felt my body start to fade, and I knew death was coming. My hands feebly dropped back into the water, and the Gaul had a grim look of determination on his face. Then, without warning, his hands left my throat, and the weight of his lifted off mine. I quickly bobbed my head up and gasped in mouthfuls of precious air. I heard splashing to my right. I sat up, my head spinning. Looking right, I saw a horse stood in the water, and next to it was Gallus.

He was stood over the thrashing figure of the Gaul. A hasta protruded from his stomach, and the water around him was tinged with red. I stood shakily up as Gallus bent and swiftly cut the throat of the barbarian. He ripped the spear from his corpse and got back on his horse. I was speechless. Gallus had just saved my life. "Crito, Sir. Your horse is on the bank." I looked to my left and saw my horse drinking from the water. Gallus handed me back my shield, which he had carried himself. He rode back up the bank, and came back seconds later with his own shield. "Mount your horse Sir, we should carry on with the attack." I nodded idiotically and clambered onto my horse. I stared at Gallus. He gave the briefest glance towards me, and then he spurred his horse onwards. I followed.

Chapter Six

I followed Gallus on the horse, dripping wet and my heart pounding wildly. I'd almost died... We galloped deeper into the trees, a weighty silence all around us. He pulled his horse to a stop. I quickly pulled back on the reigns and the horse slowed to a stop. Gallus pointed ahead with his sword. “One of their camps is over there.” I looked through a gap in the trees, and saw a clearing. There were bodies on the ground around some small and dirty looking huts. We trotted forwards into the clearing, where we were greeted by the Decurion.

“Ah! I was wondering where you two had gone. Now that you’re here, we can round them up.” I looked around at the dead on the muddy earth. All women and children. I felt a wave of nausea hit me.

“Umm, Decurion Sir. Where are they?” He turned in the saddle and pointed through the trees.

“Somewhere in that direction. Killing them will be easy enough. They will be retreating back to another identified hideout. We can run most of them down in the forest now that we have all 60 men here. Anyway, form up with the rest of the unit. Dismissed!” The Decurion trotted his horse to the front of the cavalry formation. Gallus and I joined him, and we heard the order.

“Charge!” We all spurred our horses into a run, straight through the trees. Ahead of us, we saw distant figures sprinting through the greenery. We caught up to them easily. I gripped my spear tightly and held it forward at my hip. I came up close to a fleeing man. He turned his head, his beard matted with dirt and blood. He had a wound on his shoulder, glinting red through a rip in his blue robe. His eyes reflected terror, and he let out a scream that lasted barely a second, as my spear plunged into the small of his back.

He collapsed forwards, my spear deep in his spine. I placed my hand on the spatha’s hilt and drew it with a satisfying sound. There was another clearing ahead, with a larger settlement in it. There we saw throngs of women and children, along with elderly men and a few warriors. They had gathered to see what was happening, as the screams of the dead and dying had brought them out.

I dispatched another man with a slash to the back of his neck. And then we reached the edge of the clearing. I looked around me and I saw the every horsemen. Blood spattered them and their mounts. Not a single one of the Helveti had made it to the clearing. As we advanced into the clearing, the massed Helveti rebels backed away from us. The Decurion bellowed to us all.

“Encircle them! None are to escape!” The sudden movement from the horses frightened them. The children began to cry, and the women screamed. The armed warriors tightened up. Their dirty spears protruded from the gaps between their shields. Their eyes nervously flicked between horsemen as we moved around them. One of them ran forwards, screaming as loud as he could. He threw his spear, but it flew over the heads of our Turma (Cavalry squadron). He attempted to run back to the safety of the shield wall, but Virgil rode in front of him. He was momentarily blocked from my view, Virgil made a small movement, and as he rode off, the body of the Gaul was on all fours bleeding heavily from a gash in his chest.

Our encirclement of the enemy was complete. The Decurion shouted out to them in Latin. “Lay down your weapons!” Roughly accented Latin was shouted back from the mass of Helveti.

“Fuck off!” The Decurion lifted his arm.

“All men, dismount! Shield wall and advance! Cut down anything that gets in your way!” We did as ordered, dismounting from the horses and drawing our swords. The oval cavalry shields were worse than legionary ones. But they did the job well enough. We tightened ranks, advancing in step towards the huddled mass of barbarians. The tip of my sword poked through the small gap, and I saw the thin line of armed warriors begin to step backwards in anticipation of our attack. Between the sounds of our armour jingling and our boots stamping, a baby was crying. It’s terrified wail pierced me like a sword to the guts. Suddenly, the accented Latin came back.

“Stop! We surrender!” The armed men threw their shields and weapons out of reach and stared uncertainly at us. I felt relief wash through me, and I lowered my shield. I heard the Decurion.

“For fuck sake, keep the shield up! Advance!” I shouted back.

“Sir, they’re unarmed! They’ve surrendered!”

“That sounds suspiciously like a Junior Officer questioning the orders of a superior. Is that what I’m hearing?” My cheeks flushed red with embarrassment. I raised my shield again and called out.

“No Sir!”

“Very well! Men, advance! Make fucking mince meat out of ‘em!” The first screams sounded before we’d even reached them. I willed my hardest to shut out the sounds, but they pierced me. The men tried to reach the weapons, at which our men jumped forward, slamming shield bosses into faces and breaking shins. As they lay wounded on the ground, they were stabbed. The slaughter had begun.

The women clutched children close and with no where to run to, stood bravely against our swords. I closed me eyes as the first woman came into stabbing distance. I whispered a prayer to Pluto that the souls of the dead would reach him safely, and I plunged my sword into flesh. The children’s sobs became louder, and shouts rent the air. I stabbed at vital points, to ensure they did not suffer. I kept my shield raised over my eyes so I could not see those I was striking down. Time after time, I felt my hand splashed with blood and regret, pity and rage filled my heart.

I suddenly heard the Decurion shout again. “Halt! Shields down boys, at ease!” I sheathed my sword and as I made to rest my shield on the ground, it hit something awkwardly. I looked down and saw the corpse of a child, a boy no older than five. His mouth was open in a silent scream, his face flecked with blood and a glistening wound in his throat. I retched. I threw up on the spot, thankfully missing the bodies. My legs felt weak, as the weight of what I had done heaved itself upon me. I fell to my knees and the last words I heard were, “Get him back to the camp, leave the bodies as a warning.”


Chapter Seven


Almost three months had passed since the slaughter in the woods. I bet in the re-tellings of the war that were being penned up and down the Republic, they wouldn’t have any mention of it. Hundreds of people who’s tragic ends would never be known, while their killers and murderers would go down in history as gleaming heroes, making the world safe for the Roman people. Bullshit.

I had complained to Petronax. Nothing happened. He dismissed me from his tent, I knew better than to stay and press the matter. But Virgil at least shared my disgust. He made a promise to pursue the matter, even if it took him to Caesar himself. At least it shut me up for a while. Since leaving Helveti lands, we had followed the route of Caesar’s conquests. We had marched right through Sequani lands, through the Lingones lands, through the Parisii lands and from there we marched into the lands of the Veneti. Caesar’s camp was just North of a river in the region. While marching, we were joined by another two cohorts destined for the 10th Legion. They had marched from Narbonensis and looked the part. Armour gleaming in the sun and their equipment in top shape. We marched together the rest of the way. Finally, we had reached Caesar.

We came forwards to the gate, in order, marching to the cadence called out by the Centurion’s every now and then. We came to the gate, and the order to stop was shouted down the line. “Consiste!” The sound of studded boots slamming into the earth halted. I stared at the gate that loomed up in front of us. Suddenly, it began to open. My first glimpse inside the camp showed many unarmoured men milling around ordered lines of tents and granary stores. “Procodite! Sin! Sin! Sin, dex, sin!”

Inside the camp, we were greeted by a Legate. The Legate of the 13th, no doubt. He stood in his gleaming armour, one hand ready in an inverted grip on his sword, the other stuck out to grasp the arm of Petronax. They greeted each other like old friends, which they probably were. As me and Virgil were at the front of the Cohort, we heard every word exchanged perfectly.

“Siltonius, you old bastard! How are you?”
“Not bad, Petronax, not bad. I see you’ve whipped us up some new recruits?”
“It wasn’t easy. Had some trouble with a certain Miles... Well, he’s an Optio now.”
“He’s a back scratcher? Surely not. If he was arsing about, I doubt a Centurion would want him.” Petronax glanced at me, to which my cheeks burned red with shame. The Legate, Siltonius, as if realising there were three Cohorts stood before him at attention, waved Petronax away. “Petronax, I’ll talk to you later. Come and find me when you get this lot bunkered down. Our camp is North, right by the gate. You can’t miss it, our standard is waving high over the gateway.” Siltonius strode away purposefully, quickly dissapearing around a tent. Petronax blew his whistle, the standard bearers raised their flags, and the order was shouted at the backs. The cadence again filled my ears.

As me march, we pass many men playing dice, they jeer us as we march past.
“Hello, fresh meat. Welcome to the grinder!”
“I’m not gonna bother to get to know any of you, you’ll be dead within a week!”
“Look at ‘em lads! Runners if I ever saw them!”
“When you piss yourself in the wall, don’t let it stain my boots!” I try my hardest not to glare at them as I walk past. I see them in the corner of my eye, making crude gestures with their hands. Virgil bellows out ahead of me.

“Ignore them! Keep your eyes straight, no one stops! No one stares! First man I see stumbling, or holding up the line is on charges!” That did the trick, the legionaries seemed to straighten up, at which point, the crowd on either side of them began to make kissing noises.

“Oh, someone’s currying the Vine’s favour!”
“Look out lads, there’s arse pirates on the loose!” There was a harsh bark, and a Centurion strode out towards the off-duty Legionaries.
“You lot, shut your f**king traps! I’ll have the vine to you if you carry on. Get back to what you were doing.” There was a snort from the crowd,

“We don’t have to listen to you, Hook. We’re not on duty.” The Centurion thrust the end of the vine stick into the man’s stomach, he doubled over, at which point the Centurion whacked it over his head, knocking him cold.

“Anyone else? No? You ready to do as ordered by an Officer? All of you, breaks over. Get back in your uniforms, patrols going out in an hour!” The legionaries stiffened, not daring to talk back. We continued marching, the Centurion called “Hook” was walking alongside us, ordering the men back into kit.

He would poke with the vine stick when men were too slow. I heard muttering from the men to my left. “He showed them, eh? He almost killed that one guy.”
Rather than rebuke my men, I smiled and let them carry on. Virgil did nothing either. I noticed the gate looming ahead. The banner of the 13th waved lazily in the breeze. I breathed a sigh of relief, as the ache in my arms became unbearable. Petronax yelled an order, which was repeated along our Cohort. “Consiste!” We stopped, and when the other cohorts came right to the back of us, we looked in a very neat formation. “You’ve done well today, lads. We’ve covered a lot of ground, and I know you’re eager to get your piss buckets off, and have a good rest. So, get drunk, eat! F**k every whore in the camp for all I care. Centurions, dismiss your men!” Petronax saluted and marched off. Virgil blew his whistle.

“Ad signis!” The legionaries snapped to attention as the order was passed down the line. “Discerite!” The men began to leave for different parts of the camp, Virgil placed a hand on my shoulder before I left. “Let your hair down, boy. You don’t often get this kind of treatment from Petronax, make the most of it. I’m bloody serious.”

Later that night, I dined with the Officers of the 13th. The five other Centurion’s and their Optio’s. The Optio’s were as hard as the men they served under. I felt completely out of place, no scars to prove my worth. Hook was the Senior Centurion, in charge of my Cohort. Under him was Marcus, who they called Caligula for his small feet. Then there was Sergius. His nickname was Big Dumb Bastard. But people just called him Sergi. He was huge, built like a certain outhouse made of brick. Then there was Karus, who was the youngest of the bunch, only being around 24, he was called Biblio for his love of books.

The introductions were made, and Virgil and I settled down in the tavern, drinking and talking with the Officers. They didn’t seem too bad, but I couldn’t help but look back at the drunken Miles scattered around the tables and wonder if I belonged there instead. Hook stumbled out of the tavern after a couple of hours, coming back with a stony faced Petronax. He blew his whistle shrilly, causing the noise to calm down immediately. All stared at him, drunken and annoyed. “Listen up! Scouts have reported a large column of the enemy moving off to our flanks. Get yourselves ready, we got to deal with them now. The 13th are to mobilise and arrange yourselves at the West Gate. Officers! Round up your men!” I sighed heavily as the Centurion’s stood and began herding everyone out of the tavern. I came outside into the cool, night air. The crowds of soldiers were dispersing to their tents to gather equipment. I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned my head to see Gallus. “Come with me Sir, you look in no state to navigate this maze.” He guided me back to our tents, where he helped me get into kit. I dipped my head in a water bucket, and was once again led by Gallus to the West Gate. The gates swung open with a loud creak, the trumpets blared, the Centurion’s yelled, and Virgil called to me. “Don’t worry lad! If you can survive a skirmish, you can survive a battle!” And we stepped out of the camp.


Last edited by Offensive Bias on Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:50 am; edited 6 times in total
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Ruski on Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:02 pm

Really good OB. Although, I personally think they would have remained at the one camp for two days or three instead of one, it was still good.

I cannot wait for more.
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Offensive Bias on Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:12 pm

The need to get reinforcements to Caesar is paramount for the continuation of the war.
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Ruski on Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:16 pm

Makes sense.
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Offensive Bias on Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:50 pm

Chapter two added, please, give me feedback. I need to know exactly where to go when I write the real thing!
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Ruski on Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:59 am

Again, it was good. A saw a single mistake while reading and that was a missing word, but as far as I can tell, it was okay.

I do think that there is too many swears in it and when he was talking to the Centurion in the tent, I thought it would have played out better if he had talked with him longer and was a lot of nicer. If he was nicer, it would allow the main character, in some way or another, that not all the Roman soldiers were douchebags ;) .

Put that's my opinion of the current chapter.
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by R!zZle BiZzl£ on Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:41 pm

cant wait for more, nice cliffhanger. Smile
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Offensive Bias on Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:58 pm

Thanks man! Glad you enjoyed!
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Rotaretilbo on Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:57 pm

*pretends like he read the story*

It looks good. Yes...that's what I would say if I had read it...I think...not that I didn't read it or anything like that.

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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Offensive Bias on Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:07 pm

Did you, or not?
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Offensive Bias on Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:33 pm

New chapter Smile Please read and comment. Welcome Virgil into the picture proper now, delivering the punishment to our main character, Crito.
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Ruski on Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:27 am

It was good.
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Kasrkin Seath on Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:56 am

bLARRRrr!!!
Its pretty good

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[00:17:28] @ KrAzY : the law can now be a person.
[00:17:28] @ XNate02 : The Law, can only be The Law.
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[00:17:37] @ KrAzY : and that person is seath
[00:17:39] @ kasrkin seath : YES
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Offensive Bias on Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:32 pm

Anything, constructive?
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Kasrkin Seath on Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:31 pm

no, not really.

Well, type out smaller numbers, like eleven instead of 11

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[00:17:22] @ KrAzY : new law.
[00:17:28] @ KrAzY : the law can now be a person.
[00:17:28] @ XNate02 : The Law, can only be The Law.
[00:17:32] @ Gauz : I'd kick everyone....
[00:17:37] @ KrAzY : and that person is seath
[00:17:39] @ kasrkin seath : YES
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[02:22:43] @ KrAzY : the reason we all come to TCF is because Seath is too Lord Pheonix damn sexy to stop.
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Death no More on Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:01 pm

Good story, I like it.
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Rotaretilbo on Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:06 pm

Poor little bugger. Can I be the one who stole his shield. Very Happy

But seriously, it is enjoyable. Nice and gritty.

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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Offensive Bias on Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:08 pm

Sorry, my real life friend stole his shield. You can still have a character Smile
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by R!zZle BiZzl£ on Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:07 am

this is very good, cant wait for the next chapter. Smile
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Offensive Bias on Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:29 pm

Chapter four is up on the first page.
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Ruski on Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:10 pm

I thought it was good.
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by laxspartan007 on Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:18 pm

why not continue the Zombie Story?

BTW, Awsome Chapters!
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Etsharrin Hopsarrith on Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:19 pm

I appreciated this. Is there more? Or does it end here?
-Etsharrin Hopsarrith
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Offensive Bias on Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:32 pm

There is more. I'm just struggling with the next chapter a little.
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Re: SPQR Test

Post by Offensive Bias on Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:30 am

Here is the new chapter! It's also on the first post.


Chapter Five


Six months had passed, and it was now 698 AUB. Months of constant drills and marching had worked their effect on me. I now had amazing stamina, and I was well drilled in using my weapons. Today, we would be leaving the lands of the Helveti and marching straight to Caesar himself, finally. He was wintering at a large camp in the North Western tip of Gaul. The edge of the world. Our three Cohorts assembled on our final day in the camp. Virgil and Petronax would be marching with us back to the legions. Virgil was my Centuries Centurion, and he had picked me as his Optio. I held second in command of a Century, and I was beaming with pride. We stood in ordered ranks, our standard bearers and officers in their right places. I took my position behind the Centurion, my plumed helmet standing out amongst the rest. The camp Prefect was stood in front of us, patrolling up and down. His speech echoed along to all the men in the line of legionaries.

"Good morning, men of the 13th Legion. You are no longer raw recruits from months ago. I have watched your progress, seen you sweat under the harsh sun and and glare from your superior. I have seen men punished and men become hard and tough. You are legionaries of Rome now. Caesar will be expecting these three Cohorts for his depleted 13th Legion, and you will arrive there safely, under the guide of Petronax. I know that with the aid of men like you, the Gallic campaign will be over shortly, and much new territory will be awarded to the Republic. You are seeing Rome become the mightiest of all nations right now, and you all have the honour in making her the great nation she is destined to be. Now, at the sound of the horn you shall march from the gates of this fort. And then you will be Rome's most fearsome warriors. Men of the 13th, Salute!"

The Prefect saluted and walked off out of the path of the the Cohorts. We faced the gate, and then the horns blasted, echoing over the silence. Alongside the road that moved through the camp, the garrison had lined up and they all stood at attention. I heard Virgil yell the order to march. "Porro incedo!" and then we moved forwards. Each Centurion called out the step, "Sin! Sin! Sin, dex sin! Sin! Sin! Sin, dex sin!" The gateway loomed closer, and eventually we passed under its arch, the sound of hundreds of heavily armoured soldiers marching in step drowned out everything else. We would march 20 miles today.

At the end of that day, we threw our camp up. And we were resting in our goatskin tents, when it began to rain in the night. That bastard who stole my shield, Gallus, was in my Contibernum and I did my best to ignore him. Which was fairly easy. He'd grown quiet as the months went by. The men were tired and fell right asleep. I was the last one awake, and I sat polishing my helmet and sword. As I examined my gladius and slid it back into the scabbard, Gallus suddenly sat up from his bunk. "Your name is Crito, isn't it?" I blinked away my confusion and answered back curtly and harshly.

"Yes, what of it?" He walked over and sat down next to me, on my bunk. He picked up my helmet and began polishing it for me.

"I want to say I am sorry, Crito. Taking your shield, it was foolish of me. And I know you went through a lot of pain because of what I did. And I want to know if we can put the incident behind us. What do you say?" When Gallus said this, it was something I did not expect. I saw that he was genuinely sorry, but despite this... My anger remained. I tore my helmet from his grasp. I stared him down.

"You will refer to me as Sir from now on. I am your Optio, you will treat me with respect or I will have you own shit shovelling duty for a year. Get back to your bunk."

In the morning, the land was sodden and as we dismantled the camps and set out on another 20 mile march, the mud overflowed into the Caliga, making them uncomfortable and freezing the feet. During small breaks, men would take off their scarfs, rip them in half and tie them around their feet. I abstained from this. As an Optio, I had to maintain appearances and discipline. This day was the day I first took a mans life. As we were marching, still in Helveti lands, there came a sudden noise from the trees on either side of us. the banging of metal against wood, and the yelling of men driven into feats of fanatacism by their leaders. We were attacked by a rogue band of Helveti tribesmen who refused to accept Roman rule.

It came unexpectedly, and completely out of the blue. We were marching, to the familiar drone of the Centurions. "Sin! Sin! Sin, dex, sin!" When the clatter started from the sides. We halted immediately, and without the Centurions yelling a command, we were battle ready. Our soldiers packs were slung off, we practically tore the shields out of their covers, and then our helmets were on. Then pale shapes emerged amongst the trees, surging towards us, their blood crazed yelling carrying them forward. Virgil turned to me then. "Split Century in half. You command 40, I command 40! Century in half!" The men split immediately. The 40 under Virgil took one side of the trees, while my 40 faced the other half. The rest of the Cohorts followed our commands until there was a solid line of red shields facing the advancing Gauls. Not a second later, they were upon us.

The ear splitting sound of weapons hitting shields could be heard all along the line. I felt something impact with my shield. Had I not been holding it tight, it would have fell out of my grasp. My gladius was held between the gap between my shield and the man next to me. I thrust out, and felt my arm jar as the sword went into someone. I ripped the blade out immediately, feeling the warm spray of blood on my hand. Screams began ringing out, and I lowered my shield to be able to see over it. There were swarms of the barbarians heading for us, carrying farming tools, axes, spears, anything. I saw one of them sprinting towards me. He held an axe high, and when he reached me, he swung it down towards me. I stuck my head back just out of reach of the axe, and let it hook onto my shield. As soon as the axe hooked onto my shield, I quickly yanked it back. The axe fell out of the barbarians grip, and he fell to the muddy earth. I slammed the bottom edge of my shield onto the back of his head, and heard a dull crack. His body spasmed, and I stepped over him.

The fight continued on, the barbarians being no match for Roman might and discipline. They fell, one by one, bleeding from wounds to the torso and neck. I struck out at my latest victim, felling him with one thrust. He collapsed heavily against my shield, and he slipped off on his own blood. I saw the remainder of the barbarians running back into the forest, and a ragged cheer erupted from the legionaries. We began banging our swords on the rims of our shields, making a cocaphony of noise to rival their screaming when they first attacked. Their dead were piled high around us.

When we made camp at the end of the day, we had only suffered some minor wounded. One man had taken a spear to his ankle, and would have to be carried on the spare horses for a while. The Helveti dead numbered around 500. With around 40 wounded. They were interrogated by Petronax. Then they all had their throats cut and were uncaringly tossed out of the camp. Sleep came easily to us that night. In the morning, I awoke to find a small detatchment of horsemen. Around 60 in all. They were preparing to hunt down some of the renegade Helveti to ensure justice was properly served. They were taking volunteers.

I rode from the camp with the others, Gallus among the volunteers as well as Virgil. We knew from the survivors where the Helveti were hiding, and it would be easy flushing them out. I was given cavalry equipment, including the oval shield, the spear and the spatha cavalry sword. After some hard riding, we reached a small river. We let the horses drink and rest for a while. The Decurion called us all over. He carved a map in the mud with his dagger, marking the Helveti hideouts with and "X". He split us into groups of two, and we were to close in on the biggest. I was paired with Gallus.

When we reached our section of the river, we saw a man bathing in the water. When he saw us his eyes widened in surprise and fear. He ran ashore and tore through the trees near the bank. Gallus spurred his horse after the lone man. I tried to catch up, wading the shallow water, I made it to the bank. My horse took one step into the treeline, and I felt hands grasp at my leg. I barely had time to look at my assailant before I was dragged from my horse. I lost my shield as I fell and I rolled down the small incline. I fell half in the water, half out. I spluttered and coughed and as I rolled over onto my back, the barbarian was stood over me.

He slammed his boot into my chest and held me under the water. Then he fell on top of me, his hands clasped around my throat and held my head underwater. I held what little breath I had in my lungs, and began tearing at his eyes.Panic overtook me, my vision going blurry. My chest burned in the need for oxygen, while the hands of my killer tightened ever further. I felt my body start to fade, and I knew death was coming. My hands feebly dropped back into the water, and the Gaul had a grim look of determination on his face. Then, without warning, his hands left my throat, and the weight of his lifted off mine. I quickly bobbed my head up and gasped in mouthfuls of precious air. I heard splashing to my right. I sat up, my head spinning. Looking right, I saw a horse stood in the water, and next to it was Gallus.

He was stood over the thrashing figure of the Gaul. A hasta protruded from his stomach, and the water around him was tinged with red. I stood shakily up as Gallus bent and swiftly cut the throat of the barbarian. He ripped the spear from his corpse and got back on his horse. I was speechless. Gallus had just saved my life. "Crito, Sir. Your horse is on the bank." I looked to my left and saw my horse drinking from the water. Gallus handed me back my shield, which he had carried himself. He rode back up the bank, and came back seconds later with his own shield. "Mount your horse Sir, we should carry on with the attack." I nodded idiotically and clambered onto my horse. I stared at Gallus. He gave the briefest glance towards me, and then he spurred his horse onwards. I followed.
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