Friday, March 25, 2011

An Arcane Story Part II

Arcane Legions

Titus Petronius wasn't entirely happy.

It was true that his co-commanders had brought welcome reinforcements, but Titus would have been much happier with just the additional troops. He suspected strongly that Marcus Agrippa and Diviciacus of Gaul were meant to keep an eye on him for Augustus, not merely aid him in battle. Titus hadn't risen this far by sharing his achievements with others, and with battle imminent with the strange easterners, he wasn't going to tarnish his Triumph by giving too prominent a role to either rival.
So he had posted Agrippa on the flank to lead some cavalry, which seemed to suit him, and likewise the Druid off on the other flank with a hodgepodge of units for a guard. Between them the two spies commanded much less than half the army, however. No, Titus kept the real striking force, his VIIth Legion and, most importantly, his prize elite Invictus, under his personal command in the center. There he planned to win the victory with brute force.

The opposing array was interesting, enough. One couldn't help but stare at the two great Dracos that they had. While wingless, the enormous beasts were clearly the creatures of legend, brought back to life by the mists that had so changed the world. One was a bright blue, while the other was a shimmering gold in color, one on each flank.

Still, Titus was too experienced a Roman soldier to be distracted by flashy "special" weapons. What were the Dracos but a bigger Elephant, after all. Victory always came down in the end to the soldier in the ranks. And here the Easterners didn't look so special. Across from him was a large body of shield-less infantry, most of it the clay soldiers that reports had indicated were more fearsome-loo0king than dangerous. On the left the enemy's true striking forces was apparent, some archers and cavalry. These would bear watching, but Roman soldiers had dealt with their sort before and Titus expected they could do so again. With a little luck they might slay that troublesome Druid, though.

Titus noted that the ground had begun to glow in two spots. There were many theories about the Night of Mist, but Titus thought the answer was obvious -- the Gods of Old had determined to intervene in the affairs of man again. And as was often the case, they seemed to bless this battle by consecrating some patches of ground between the armies. Claiming the consecrating ground always heartened the possessors and demoralized the dispossessed. Titus was under know illusions, however. The Gods played no favorites, rewarding valor and success only. The Romans would find favor from the Gods through victory, not merely for being Roman, and if the strange easterners proved more worthy then they would celebrate the Triumph, not Titus.

Ah, movement. The affray begins, then.

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