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Thread: RTW - The Histories, as told by Those Who Lived Them.

  1. #1

    Default RTW - The Histories, as told by Those Who Lived Them.

    ((Hi all! Longtime lurker, first time poster. I make no claims as to being a particularly good writer, so input is very welcome. I just ask any long comments/advice be sent via PM, in order to preserve continuity. I already have enough trouble keeping things sensical and cohesive, what with my ADD-style writing and all. :P))

    From the Journals of Lucius Cornelius Brutus Scipianus, Imperial Historian of Rome.

    Alexandria, Imperial Egypt, 201 BC

    I am an old man now, too feeble for war, and too absentminded of current events to take part in the affairs of the state. This is a statement of fact, not an admission of weakness, for with age comes a certain strength in determination and wisdom, while the strength of the body fails. It also brings with it a great deal of accumulated knowledge, dear reader, and it is this I would share with you now.

    I have been historian to the great rulers of the House of Brutii for all my life, and have seen firsthand their great accomplishments. I was there when the invasion of the Greeks began, from the massacre of my fellow Romans at Syracuse, to the crushing defeat of the Macedonians at Corinth. I was there when we crossed the sea to Africa, 10 thousand strong, and saw the fist of the Brutii forge an Empire spanning the world. Yes, dear reader, I truly have seen wonders in my time, and it is my duty as a true Roman and man of the Empire to record the incredible events I have lived before I am summoned to the gates of Olympus.

    But where does one start, with such an epic tale? I suspect the true beginnings of this story are far before my time, so I shall simply start with my true beginning: The day I entered the service of Amulius Junius Brutus, he who would become known as Amulius the Great.

    -----

    Episode One: Amulius Junius Brutus the Great
    Part I, in which the Enemy is Met and a Roman Foothold is Established.

    “You have heard the posturing of the enemy. You have heard his talk of valor and sacrifice. And to that I say, yes, let the Greek dine in Hell! For tonight, friends, we will dine at his table!” – Amulius Brutus, in his speech before the battle at Sparta.

    -----

    The east coast of Italy, 270 BC

    When I first laid eyes on him, I did not think much of the man who would come to be Amulius the Great. Though few would believe it now, he was a no-body at the time, just another son of the Brutii without a city to govern, about to be sent to his death on the hostile shores of Greece. Though he already had a reputation for political savvy and military command, or perhaps because of it, he had been passed over as a potential heir to the realm of Brutus, the position falling to his less threatening brother, Aulus. I was blinder in my youth, and all I could see was the dishonor in this, the apparent weakness of a man who could not even claim his proper birthright. This would all change in time.

    “Can you use a pilum, or will you simply cast harsh words at the Greek?” These were the first words he spoke to me, upon my arrival at his camp. “If you fight like the rest of the Scipii, you would do well to stay in Tarentum, scholar!”

    I had been with my great Uncle Quintus during his failed First Siege of Syracuse, where poor preparation had led us to a crushing defeat at the hands of the Greek hoplites, and led to my own exile as a scribe for the next general leaving Italy. Messana had been in jeopardy ever since, and the house of Scipii had lost considerable standing in both the eyes of the people and the other Houses.

    “I fight like a Roman, sir.” This was the best reply I could muster. He gave me a long, appraising look, and I got the distinct impression that he could see through to my innermost soul. It was a feeling I would become familiar with over the years.

    After an increasingly uncomfortable silence, he let out a small bark of laughter. “Then I should hope it is as a Roman of the Brutii, for I suspect we shall find ourselves before our foe soon enough.” He carried on through the camp alone, speaking to his men and insuring the moral was high.

    It was common knowledge that we were about to embark on a nigh-impossible task. We were to board a small fleet, and move east, our stated goal being the pacification of some scum who had rejected Roman rule and settled on the coast of Greece. Those such as myself, however, who were aware of the politics, knew that this was merely a pretense to gain a foothold with which to strike at the city-states and the Macedonians, and that given the number of men at our disposal, our failure and death was nearly assured.

    At the time, I believed Amulius incapable of realizing this. He had sat at the campfire the night before we embarked, drinking wine and laughing with the ranks, seemingly oblivious to the slaughter ahead. He must have caught my watchful eye opon him, or perhaps merely noticed that my spirits were somewhat less than soaring, for he pulled me aside as the fire died down and spoke to me in quiet, hushed tones.

    “We both realize what may become of us, but having these men realize it will make it a certainty.” He said. “Stick near me when the time comes, and we shall both come out heroes.” I would like to say his words inspired me at this time, as they did so many others over the years, but in truth I slept no easier that night.

    -----

    Apollina, Greece, 270 B.C.

    The journey took us nearly six months, our navigators being inept and the winds never being favorable, but our small expedition finally made land outside of the small town of Apollina. As I watched the men disembark, I wondered just how many of our 321 souls would be with Dis Pater come nightfall.

    One of Amulius’ captains, a somewhat unpleasant and insignificant character, quickly located me. “You! Scholar! You will ride with the general today!” he barked. I assumed that this would likely be the safest place for myself (I make no pretense at heroics or foolish bravery), and happily agreed. I quickly mounted my horse, a sad animal I had named Quintus, after my uncle who had caused my exile, and rode forth to the front of the column with the rest of the command staff.

    Despite my best efforts at subtle interrogation, Amulius refused to share his battle plan with me, something that infuriated me at the time, but was rather understandable after it had been put into motion. As I have said, I am not Mars incarnate, and would likely have returned to my place in the rear had I known the brilliant madness he was planning.

    We arrive outside of the town at noon, the men in poor spirits at the sight of the much-more-substantial-than-they’d-thought opposition. While a legion of Romans is more than a match against a Greek phalanx, handled properly, 300 Romans is hardly a match for 600 Greeks on the face of it! Ignoring any grumbling, Amulius lined our forces up, hastati across from hoplite, and for a moment, the battlefield was dead silent.

    “OPEN FIRE!” The command thundered down our line, and the air filled itself with deadly rods of cold iron. I could see the Greeks fall here and there, their undertrained militia unable to tighten up their shields in time to fully stop the wave of death approaching them. I looked to the great General, expecting him to order his troops to charge, and instead found him looking back at me. He gave me a brief smile, then screamed “CAVALRY, FORWARD! FOR ROME!”

    I obeyed, more out of surprise than anything, and before I realized what I was doing, I found I was alarmingly close to a wall of very unfriendly looking Hellenic spears. A quick glance back told me that turning around to go hide under my cot would likely get me trampled by the Equites thundering in behind us, so I decided to buckle down, soil myself, and carry on with the charge.

    I am not, to this day, completely sure as to what happened next, as I was occupied watching Amulius make a fantastic leap over the thrusting spears, while simultaneously becoming airborn myself as Quintus was torn out from under me. With no small amount of luck, I managed to clear the majority of the enemy all together, coming to a hard landing amidst the corpses left in the wake of the more elite horsemen who had made it through. I quickly jumped to my feet, gladius drawn, and slashed blindly at anything that did not wear the Brutii green. I cringed as a shadow suddenly loomed over me, expecting death to be manifesting itself, but was only dealt a playful tap on my coolus.

    “You won’t find much to kill down there, scholar!” Amulius the Great taunted me from his unscathed mount, “Nor anywhere, at least for the time being.” My confusion must have shown, for he let out a great laugh. “The enemy is broken and in rout. We have won the day, though I’m not surprised a Scipii such as yourself has trouble recognizing that. Still, you did well, for a blue-flagged poet.” He laughed again, clapped me on the shoulder, and rode off to the town square to deal with the few prisoners left alive.

    I too would laugh, though much later, and only after changing my undergarments.

    ------

    Thermon, Greece, 270 B.C.

    It would also be much later that I would realize the brilliance behind his leading a direct assault on the hoplites, something that would ordinarily be incredibly stupid. He had realized the deafeatist attitude amongst his men would be the undoing of all of us, and had used our first battle to show them that he would ask nothing of them that he would not do himself. Though I doubt he truly felt endangered at the time, and though I honestly believe he likely would have survived no matter the outcome, his ability to rout the entire enemy with a single act of bravery had greatly hearted the men, and they had tried to match this courage in every skirmish we’d had since that time. When the orders reached us that we were to take Thermon, a large, well-defended city to the south east, the troops were practically ecstatic despite our being horrendously outnumbered and facing the city’s formidable walls. I was simply content that I was now an official member of Amulius’ bodyguard and general staff, and that even his extraordinarily clever mind had yet to discover a way to make horses charge up a ladder.

    I had not seen much of Amulius in the past few weeks, as he had been busy sending emissaries back and forth between our base at Apollina, and his home of Tarentum, trying to get some form of support or reinforcement. His father, Tiberius Junius Brutus, a well-meaning and noble man, had been sent to assist the Julii in resisting the increasing number of Gallic raids in the north, and his brother Aulus had been left in charge. The fool was more concerned with his standing with the Senate than a Roman victory, and was more likely than not the reason Amulius was sent to Greece in the first place. It quickly became apparent to me that we would receive no aide, though Amulius still felt his brother would see the light. As it was, we were forced to leave Apollina with only a minimal garrison and a hastily erected palisade.

    “These politics will destroy us,” he muttered to me on the day we began our march to Thermon, “We will fight and fight, and will gain Rome an Empire, but for what? To be stabbed in the back by the Julii some day, when they fear that we are more favored by the people?” He shook his head in disgust. “The Senate knows it, too. They count on it to survive.”

    “But is the Senate not Rome itself?” I replied. I had heard this speech many times, though I would foolishly disbelieve it until much later. “Surely a semblance of balance must be kept amongst the families to prevent a tyrant!”

    “Bah. There is no preventing a tyrant; we can merely hope to pick the best one when the time comes. Look at the way things are, even now. Did you choose to be here?” He certainly had me there. “No. You were sent by your family, much like I was sent by my father, much like he was sent to the north by the Senate. The tyrant is already there, we simply choose to deny it’s true face.” He frowned slightly, and his eyes grew dark, as they often would when this topic came up. “I am but a soldier, and you a scholar, so perhaps I’m wrong. But before our lives are done, I am sure Rome will once again have a king, for better or worse.” He lost himself in his own internal musings, and we rode on in silence.

    We could see the walls of city in the distance when a battle cry sounded to our flanks, and the air filled with javelins. “AMBUSH!” I quickly drew my sword and moved in to protect the General, who was already charging towards the center of the column.

    “Tighten your formation, and wait for these dogs to come face us!” Amulius almost sounded annoyed. Perhaps his only failing as a general, the great man had nothing but disdain for ambushes, prefering to meet the foe head on. The men slowly began to organize and form up, but I could already hear the thunder of hooves approaching us.

    “General! To the rear!” I called out, as a mass of Greek horsemen poured out from the treeline. Our legion realigned only moments before they were opon us, and the Greeks were met by a wall of shields and Roman blades. The collision made a sound unlike anything I had heard before, throwing Romans and Greeks alike across the field. I cut down a stunned cavalryman who had managed to make it through the lines, and quickly spun my new mount, Ulysses, in an effort to relocate the man I was supposed to be protecting.

    Amulius was engaged in combat with the biggest man I had ever seen, and I swear on my father’s honor that for a moment, the whole battle stopped, and all eyes turned towards the duel. Half soaked in the blood of Greeks, and laughing like Bacchus himself, I could not understand how any man could confront him and not flee in terror. I could even hear him taunting his foe as I drew closer, providing tips on his swordsmanship while parrying the Greek’s every blow. Finally, as if he were a cat tiring of his catch, he let out a sharp whistle, at which his horse promptly reared up, and in a single, uncanny blow, crushed the skull of his opponent’s mount. Quick as lightning, Amulius lashed out with his falcata, a sword which in itself is worthy of an epic poem, and severed the surprised looking Greek’s head.

    The enemy routed almost instantly, and we were at Thermon before night fall.

    ----

    Compared the battle on the road and despite my previous concerns, our siege at Thermon was very uneventful. Most of the garrison had died in their ill-concived ambush, and we faced only light opposition from a hastily formed militia. So assured was our victory that Amulius Brutus was content to merely watch the Hastati swarm up the ladders like ants, before announcing that he would be in his tent should anything happen, and that all men would be given a month of rest once the city was secure. He gestured for me to follow him.

    We entered his tent, an austere and Spartan lodging for one of the rank, let alone for a general, and he poured us some wine.

    “Shall I assume there will be no rest for the wicked like us, General?” I asked, taking a long pull on my goblet. Almost as if disappointed by our successes, the ruling powers in Rome had given us virtually no time to rest and regroup between victories.

    “Not this time, scholar,” he said with a small smile, “I have received word that we are to wait for my brother to join us and assume command of the garrison here.”

    “Gods, what did Vibius do to deserve such a posting?” I asked, somewhat surprised that yet another Brutii had managed to get himself sent overseas. Amulius’ smile grew at this.

    “Not Vibius, my friend. Aulus!” he let out his short, barking laugh at my puzzled expression. “It seems Aulus has been discovered to have some…. ‘Greek tastes’, if you understand my meaning. It was decided to appoint him here for the time being, until the public has forgotten his unroman behavior.”

    “Does this mean you will be returning to Rome?” I asked, masking my alarm. Though it would be good to see my lord returned to his home, I had no doubt that I would die in Greece should Aulus be given leadership of the expedition. He shook his head, and I could almost sense his sadness.

    “No. We will rest here until he arrives, then take our force to the south and continue our advance. I can only hope we are reinforced in numbers before then, for our eventual goal is Sparta.”

    At this, the air grew heavy. We both knew the reputation of the Spartans, and what could lay ahead. As if reading my mind, Amulius the Great continued “But tonight is no time for such talk. Come, let us join the men and celebrate!”

    We left the tent, the warm winds of the Mediterranean at our backs as we made our way to the campfires.

    -----

    ((And so ends part I. Once again, critisism is more than welcome, as this forum is full of people much better qualified than I to write a historical story!))
    Last edited by DAX; 11-19-2011 at 22:38.
    Don't wait for opportunity to knock. Kick your own door open and go chase the mother down.

  2. #2

    Default Re: RTW - The Histories, as told by Those Who Lived Them.

    Episode I: Amulius Junius Brutus the Great
    Part II, in which Aulus “conquers” the Greek, the Macedonian is befriended, and a traitor is discovered.

    “…and with my arrival comes a new age of prosperity, for Romans and the Greek dogs alike!” – Aulus Junius Brutus, opon setting foot in Greece.

    -----

    Thermon, Greece, 268 B.C.

    It had been nearly two years since we had last heard from Rome, and we had spent our time since then virtually trapped in our small corner of Greece. After yet another completely sedentary summer, winter had come upon us again, and the spirits of the men under Amulius’ command were as cold as the winds outside. I entered the dining hall of our recently constructed barracks, commissioned and built when it became evident that fall was approaching faster than Aulus’ ships, and was met by the shouting of one of Amulius’ captains.

    “…and it’s has been TWO YEARS we have waited. How much longer shall we be delayed by your brother’s antics, my lord?”

    “Be cautious in your words, Marcus. It is at the Senate’s behest that we wait for his arrival, and it is not our place to question their wishes!” My lord Amulius looked gaunt and pale, an appearance he would often take when forced into inaction for long periods. His voice took on a subtle, dangerous tone in these times, and I realized it could only be moments before he flew off into a rage at the inappropriateness of his subordinate. I quickly and quietly turned about, and made an exit.

    -----

    I was pacing the corridors of the administrative palace, lost in my thoughts and concerns for Amulius’ well-being, when a voice from beside me nearly caused my heart to stop.

    “My lord! An emissary from the Macedonians is here to discuss trade.” I turned to see Blandus, a rather wormy junior scribe who had been assigned as my adjutant. Flattering to the point of disgust, and an ignorant “scholar” besides, he also had the unpleasant ability to appear directly behind me at all times. “Shall I escort him to your honor’s offices?”

    “Yes, please do. I shall be with him momentarily.” I had taken it upon myself to act as a diplomat for Amulius while he was in a foul mood, lest he become offended at an unreasonable demand and act rashly. I quickly snuck some bread and wine from the kitchen, and ate a brief supper in my quarters, before exchanging my tunic for one of Amulius’ togas and making my way to the small office on the other side of the city’s main plaza.

    Upon entering, I was met by a stocky, balding man, wearing a toga in the colors of the Kingdom of Macedonia. His rather jovial face, with a wine-stained nose and bright cheeks, broke into a large smile as he raised his hand in greeting.

    “Hail, friend Roman!” his voice boomed, and I was relieved to find he spoke fluent latin, “I am Corpus of Pylos, sent by my Lord Gyras, heir to the Throne of Macedon, to negotiate for trade with your noble peoples.”

    “Greetings, friend Corpus! I am Lucius Cornelius Scipio (as I was known in those days), and on behalf of my Lord Amulius Junius Brutus, allow me to express our excitement at the newfound friendship of our two great nations.” I poured us both a good quantity of wine into a set of Carthaginian goblets I had salvaged from my time on Sicily, and we promptly began negotiations.

    “I would offer your Kingdom our trade rights and maps for the sum of 5000 denarii.”

    “Nay,” said Corpus, motioning for me to refill his already emptied glass, “We are not a rich people, as noble Rome is. We would ask you pay us a small token of 400 denarii in exchange for our trade, in addition to exchanging your maps with us.”

    “My friend, you must jest! You can surely see why we could not give these things away, as much as we may desire. There are levies placed by the Senate, and to pay such a fee to your honorable King would lose us any gains to be had through trade. We cannot insure a successful proposal for less than 3000.” I had refilled his glass twice while speaking.

    “1500 denarii, for surely your Senate can understand our plight. We are, after all, both faced with the Greeks!”

    “2500.” I refrained from filling his glass, causing him to frown slightly. “I cannot speak on behalf of my lord should you wish to make a counter offer.”

    Corpus of Pylos looked from his empty glass to me, attempting to see my intentions through my face with his blurry eyes. He suddenly grinned. “Fine. 2500, friend Lucius, but you must also allow me to partake of some more of this wondrous wine!”

    With the negotiations finished, the discussion quickly turned to the recent death of the great philosophers Epicurus and Pyrrho, the future implications of the invasion of both Macedonia and the Italian peninsula by the hated Gaul, and other such topics I had not had many chances to discuss since I began my exile to Greece. While very aware of the political situation, Amulius was somewhat disdainful of it, and I had no desire to spend more time than necessary with Blandus, the only other person on the expedition who seemed to have any sort of education. The night passed rather quickly, as did the wine, and I spent several days following our meeting with a knawing pain in my head.

    -----

    Thermon, Greece, 267 B.C.

    It was nearly another three months before Aulus arrived, his coming announced by a grand parade similar to those I had seen in Rome as a child, though much, much smaller. As I watched the green-clad legions and regal looking equites march past from the balcony of the palace, I couldn’t help but notice Amulius chuckling softly beside me.

    “Gods know what he’s been doing these past two years, Lucius. I wager you that Greek helm you captured last month against my falcata that he will be calling himself ‘Emperor of the Greeks’ or some such thing, and will have an epic tale of battle prepared for dinner this evening.”

    I had already lost the better part of a phalanx in these sorts of wagers, and had learned never to gamble with a soldier, especially one such as Amulius the Great. “I think, my lord, that you would be a better judge of your brother than I.” He smiled and nodded.

    “You learn quickly, Lucius.”

    -----

    Summer had arrived long before Aulus, and he had decided to hold a grand feast in the plaza, taking advantage of the balmy Mediterranean nights. Being in his honor, Aulus had gone to great lengths to insure it was far more spectacular than anything Thermon had seen before, and the lavish six-course meal was followed by a full theater troupe, performing a play written by Aulus himself about the days of the Etruscan kings.

    Finally, after most of the audience had been lulled into a state of hypnotic daze by the apparent tedium of the life of King Arcturian, Aulus rose from his seat and motioned for the audience to look to him.

    “Fellow Romans!” he said, apparently unaware that many of Thermon’s native Greeks were also present, “Today is a great day for us! It is a day of celebration, for I have met the enemy in combat, and I have defeated him!”

    At this, Amulius looked somewhat slyly in my direction, and I was once again glad I had not accepted his wager.

    “Yes, behind me lay a thousand Greeks, dead at my hands!” I heard someone nearby mutter something to the effect of Aulus knowing much about laying with thousands of Greeks, and had to stifle a laugh.
    Aulus continued, oblivious to the titter in the crowd. “My brother has done well, capturing the minor towns of Apollina and Thermon, and now I, with the help of my noble legions, have captured the city of Salona! Yes, fellow Romans, we now have a solid footing in Greece, and the war is nearly won!”

    At this point I mentally walled my mind off from his ramblings, becoming immersed in thoughts of my recent conversations with Corpus, and wondering where Amulius and our army would travel next now that his brother had finally arrived. Before I realized it, the feast had ended, and I was stumbling my way back to my quarters, having partaken of much more wine than I had intended to.

    A sudden yell of alarm rose from near Amulius’ quarters, snapping me to something close to sobriety. Almost subconsciously, I drew the small dagger I carried with me at all times, and ran towards the shouts. I arrived just in time to see the town watch surrounding Blandus, who was waving a dagger of his own around in attempt to defend himself. Behind him sat Aulus, his regal robes stained slightly with blood, clutching at his arm and screaming like a stuck pig.

    Before I had a chance to speak, one of the watchmen managed to get close enough to my adjutant-come-assassin to lash out at him with his spear, and quickly dispatched the irritating little vermin. Amulius came running out from his quarters seconds later, falcata in hand, but stopped short when he saw what had occurred.

    “Brother..” began Aulus, but he was interrupted nearly instantly by Amulius’ roar.

    “Fools!” he bellowed, replacing his sword in it’s sheath, “He was no threat once you had him trapped. Now how will we discover who sent him?” Aulus attempted to speak again, but was silenced by a dark glance in his direction. Shaking his head, as though wearied by the incompetence of the guards, Amulius walked over to where I was standing.

    “I am sorry for the loss of your assistant.” We both smiled slightly at this.

    “I am sorry I did not lose him sooner, General.” I replied, “Is Lord Aulus grievously hurt?”

    “He is lightly wounded in body, though I suspect his pride may not survive.” He motioned for me to follow him, and we casually strolled back to the plaza. My mind was now completely clear, the rush of even such a small conflict running through me after so many months of inaction. I was surprised to find I had missed it.

    “Do you think that was intended for me, Lucius?” His question caught me somewhat off guard. I had not considered this.

    “I do not believe so, for Blandus had much better opportunities to strike over these past years, yet did not.”

    “Perhaps you are correct, my friend. But it seems unusual that this attempt coincided with my brother’s arrival. Were he the target, it would be much more sensible to use someone close to him, and to wait until he was comfortable and felt secure in his lodgings here.”

    “Surely you do not mean Aulus was behind it? Blandus was a boor and a fool, but even he would be hard pressed as to be so inept!” I could not see where my lord was taking this line of thought, and that he could suspect his brother was somewhat astonishing to me.

    “I believe it was meant to look that way, my friend, though I suspect the Greeks are to blame. I do not think Blandus fool enough to kill his master, but I do think him capable of misidentifying me in the dark after having a good drink.” He stared off into the night sky, turning the situation over in his mind. “No matter. With my brother comes word of our next move, and we will march for Athens tomorrow.”

    “Athens? Not Sparta?”

    “In good time, my friend. The Senate has decided that crushing the Greek is not enough. We must also posses all his lands, and insure Roman rule over the whole of Greece. I suspect we shall face the Macedonians next.”

    I was not pleased to hear this, having kept correspondence with the diplomat Corpus, but had realized that the Senate would not be content with only a portion of Greece long before I had even arrived on it’s shores.

    Amulius was aware of my feelings, and gave me a very sympathetic look. “Perhaps your friend will have a place in the Roman administration, Lucius. He is a diplomat, not a soldier, and I see no need for the extermination of a worthy people such as his.”

    “Thank you, my lord, but I understand how things must be some times, and I should think he would too.”

    We had reached his quarters once again, and I bade him a good night. My mind was slightly heavy as I made my way to my room, but I pushed all those thoughts away as I climbed into my bed. It would be a long road to Macedon, and we had many much more immediate concerns before then.

    ------

    ((From here on out, updates will probably be less frequent, but much longer. Hope everyone's enjoying so far!))
    Don't wait for opportunity to knock. Kick your own door open and go chase the mother down.

  3. #3
    Member Member edbenedict77's Avatar
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    Default Re: RTW - The Histories, as told by Those Who Lived Them.

    Nicely written. Cheers keep it coming
    I'm currntly playing as Milanese on H/H

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