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Thread: The Eagles of Avalon

  1. #1841
    So do I! I have serious post-Reman symptoms here.

  2. #1842
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    is this story line dead ?

  3. #1843
    The Fuehrer of the Dance Mettermrck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiruku
    is this story line dead ?
    No, not dead. Both VJ and I had some real-life stuff going on and I'm waiting on his next update (should be big and imminent) before I resume. I appreciate everyone's patience!

  4. #1844
    Pleased to hear that! I had a few moments where I considered asking after this AAR's health, but I assumed Mett would be in control of the situation...

    Looking forward to whatever's next!
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  5. #1845

  6. #1846
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    Thumbs up

    Huzzah !! Great to have you guys back XD
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  7. #1847
    Strategos ton Exkoubitores Fulcrumvale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canonized
    Huzzah !! Great to have you guys back XD
    Seconded. Firmly.
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  8. #1848
    Another excellent update from VJ. Hesta is developing into an important character in her own right and possibly a crucial one in giving Remus legitimacy in the East and able to keep the homes fires quiet whilst Remus restores the Western Empire.

  9. #1849
    Field Marshal yourworstnightm's Avatar
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    It's back!!!! Hopefully we can expect some regular updates now??

  10. #1850
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    I just jumped trough the roof, you bastard !
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  11. #1851
    Gah that site is a pain to register on, never the less it was worth it
    THIS IS A SIG

  12. #1852
    The Fuehrer of the Dance Mettermrck's Avatar
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    canonized: Thank you, sir! Regret the large delay. Wedding planning and other things are a big part of it.

    Fulcrumvale: Thanks again, glad you're sticking with our story.

    Chief Ragusa: Much appreciated, sir! Oh yes western legitimacy will be a big issue to grapple with.

    yourworstnightm: As regular as I can manage. I have a few written and others mapped out so I'll work as much as I can on the writing.

    Deamon: Hope you're ok, but welcome back!

    Jalex: A little annoying, yeah, but now you can read all of VJ's future stuff!

  13. #1853
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    June – August 493

    The riderless horse galloped through the earthen gates with a solemn swing into the main courtyard, drawing with it the silent stares of the garrison. It was a grim reckoning of their fate, the last horse returning without the messenger. It meant that the west road was blocked and the Bulgars had truly surrounded the fort. The smoke and stench permeated the entire earthwork, reeking of corpses, disease, and suffering. This miserable-looking horse only added to the grim scene. The lost hope so compounded the soldiers that the officers themselves were lethargic in their urgings, barely trying to rustle the men back on to the walls, readying for the next assault. An air of futility seemed to sap the confidence from their very bones. After a three day siege, there was little energy left in them to hold on.

    Iohannes exhaled a deep breath, holding back the urge to rage in frustration, letting the tension slowly ebb. He made a show of adjusting the folds of his mail shirt, trying to appear calm and unconcerned as he approached the horse, flanked by one of his hypèretès. Around him, the somber quiet was at last being replaced by a return to order, the detachment slowly whipped back into fighting trim. If it was their lot to perish, then they would do so fighting. After a long siege, however, they were surely reaching the limits of exhaustion. Provisions were dangerously low and steady attrition had worn down the fort’s limitanei to the breaking point. Hiding his emotions, Iohannes placed a hand just above the horse’s nose and then slowly glided along the flank, whispering quietly. He could make out a horrible gash where a Kutigur spear had struck and knew the horse would not linger much longer.



    The general had been wrong, he now knew, trying to push back the increasing weight of hopelessness. The recurring thrum of the Kutigur war drums only reinforced the imminence of his own death. How he wished for a clean end, fighting honorably in melee, for he knew how prisoners were often treated, particularly those who had resisted so well. Much anger would be vented on his men and it was a pity that so little of their bravery would be remembered in the Great City. Vitalian would care little of the loss of one of his detachments, only the loss to his dignitas. It was Drobeta, not Vinimacium, he wanted to rail at the commander. The Bulgars were crossing here, where the Danuvian bend gave them easy access into western Moesia. Just as he had warned. Who would listen to a mere Epimelètès?

    Now the war cries started, sudden and screeching, and he looked to the top of the wooden walls, watching the men scrambling up the earthen supports, ready for one last struggle. He could feel the vibrations from deep within the earth, picturing the thousands of Bulgars swarming around the insolent little fort. They had crossed in huge numbers and even after three days of hard fighting, Iohannes knew they had been but a pinprick on the giant’s flank, a tiny bandon against the raging horde. He wished Vitalian good fortune when his army met the main body of barbarians, somewhere to the south and east. As for his own fate…

    The first ladders appeared above the north wall, and now the engagement truly began, the Bulgars favoring a close melee to ranged combat. There were no formalities now, no pause to pin down the defenders. It was down to numbers and a hard assault. They scented doom and wished to press their advantage. Each Roman soldier, well equipped with their leather tunics and spatha, fought valiantly to hold each breach, succumbing to numbers each in their turn. Once lodged on the north well, the enemy spread along the battlement, driving the defenders from each position until at last, there was only Iohannes and a knot of soldiers huddled in the open courtyard.

    Screaming, the last of the defenders fell from the north wall, a gash in his right side. Directly behind him was his killer, a ferocious burly warrior dressed in hides and leather, who landed stiffly on the ground and brandished his long-handled axe high into the air, trumpeting his battle cry. His mates followed him and began advancing on Iohannes’ remaining soldiers with a mad howl. How sad, he thought idly, as he brought his sword up for defense, that one saw such violence in the approaching end, in the violent contortions of the barbarian faces, in their expressions of hate and loathing. A violent death never bodes well. With a sickening crack, his sword met the axe of the nearest attacker and he felt a searing pain travel down his right arm. From behind, he felt a heavy thud on his head and knew no more.


    * * *



    The Kutigur raids across the Danuvius in 493 did not represent a migration of the Bulgars; rather a major incursion into lands that were Roman de jure, yet tribal de facto. Moesia, the province bordering this river to the south, had been largely occupied by the Ostrogoth tribe for the last century. Tribal expansion to the west had reduced the barbarian population of this region yet King Theodoric’s failure in Italia had kept the province from being completely emptied. It also complicated the Empire’s defense in the Balkans. The static fortifications along the Danuvius had been largely reduced during Attila’s campaigns and had not been rebuilt, leaving weak garrisons to hold an array of ruins along the frontier. An increasing lack of cooperation with the Ostrogoths, ignited when the Emperor had held back from war with the West, hampered logistics and led to a greater reliance on unreliable auxiliaries. Those limitanei garrisons that remained were stretched thin, ill-equipped to hold back a major invasion.

    The Ostrogoths, nominally the first line of defense, had been battered during their Italian campaign, and what little military force they retained was huddled around Theodoric’s new capital at Sirmium, struggling to maintain a claim to Pannonia and nearby territories seized from the Western Empire. It also allowed him to keep his distance from an Empire of whom he was growing suspicious.

    For the Empire, the main Roman army, led by Julian the Magister Militum per Thracias, was primarily in Anatolia, putting down the last vestiges of the Isaurian Revolt. A sizable detachment in the Balkans, under the young Vitalian, had drifted northwest towards the Danuvius and reports of a large horde of Kutigur Bulgars. This large tribe, who occupied lands stretching from Dacia into the northeast, were attacking auxiliaries all along that part of the river. Blithely ignoring the formalities of an Ostrogoth Moesia, now virtually devoid of Gothic forces, Vitalinus established himself in Moesia Superior, not far downriver from the junction of the Danuvius and the Savus, and beyond that, Sirmium. It was whispered that Vitalian was to keep as much an eye on Theodoric as he was Djurash Masgut and the Kutigurs. Another inference was that Vitalian was setting up a Roman anvil which, once reinforced by Julian’s main army, would provide the blocking force to a hammer blow from Italia by the West’s legendary general, Remus Macrinus. These plans were quickly ruined, however, when the Kutigurs openly crossed the Danuvius.

    There were three probes actually, though the two eastern raids, at Utus and particularly Durostorum, were small in size, perhaps five to ten thousand in numbers, primarily mounted warriors. It is possible that these incursions were designed to scout imperial defenses and distract defenders. While these would raid far and wide into Moesia Inferior, it was primarily the Ostrogoth inhabitants who suffered, save the loss of a few garrisons of limitanei.

    The main blow, under Djurash Masgut himself, was reported as including almost fifty thousand – some say thirty to forty - warriors, infantry and cavalry, descendants of the vast Hunnic hordes that had held sway across Europe mere decades before. The heart of this force was light cavalry, ideal for the Bulgar tactics of feints and ambushes. Armed with the dangerous composite recurve bow, they were formidable on the field of battle, pouncing on and then eluding foes with experienced ease. With their houms kyupe, molded leather armor, they had speed and good protection. Combined with Kutigur heavy cavalry and infantry, they could hold their own against veteran foes.

    By the summer of 493, Vitalian had established himself at Vinimacium, acting on information from Hunnic scouts. The settlement was also one of the best crossing points along that portion of the river. If the Bulgars did cross here, his force, which approached ten thousand comitatensii, could give a good account of itself, even if a fighting retreat was called for. It would be necessary to strike the tribal army as it crossed to provide the maximum blow. And from reports from many local commanders, the crossing appeared imminent.

    Bulgar cavalry struck Roman detachments all along the river, confusing the general as to where and when the precise blow would land. In an attempt to discern more information about his enemy’s intentions, Vitalinus sent out Hunnic auxiliaries to probe the lands north of the river. Most of these, however, were quickly swallowed up and some, such as those at the ruined fort at Drobeta, deserted outright. It was these deserters that would unhinge the Roman defense. Demonstrating with a portion of his cavalry across from Vinimacium, Djurash Masgut descended on Drobeta in August and, under cover of darkness, began crossing the river near where it made a reverse bend to the south and west. From here, his army easily overcame the tiny Roman forts and began to advance inland.

    Vitalian, perhaps unwilling to believe how woefully lacking was his intelligence, delayed two days before withdrawing from Vinimacium. By then, this was out of necessity, as new information poured into his camp that the Bulgars were not the only army with which he now had to contend.

  14. #1854
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Ahh an excellent combination of drama and military tension as always ! Given me a bit of inspiration too XD
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  15. #1855
    Strategos ton Exkoubitores Fulcrumvale's Avatar
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    It's back. And with a bang, too...
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  16. #1856
    At long last!

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  17. #1857
    Non sufficit orbis Lord E's Avatar
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    Great to have you back posting Mett.

    I must say this update turned the story in a new direction and into a new battlefield, but it was just a great as the others have been. I sense that the Empire will have many troubles in these areas ahead, and I think that Remus will need to send more forces to the area if he is to defeat all these barbarians. Also the fact that this young, new commander is lacking intelligence and that a second enemy is approaching doesn’t sounds very well.

    Still I am sure whatever happens it will be great to read about, so I am already waiting for the next update
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  18. #1858
    The Gothic forces could be all that preserves the scattered Army of Thrace. The Kutigur Bulgars are across the Danube in force and the military towns haven't the population or defenses after the Huns rode over them a generation earlier.

  19. #1859
    Field Marshal yourworstnightm's Avatar
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    The Bulgars are a new threat indeed. I think East and West must collaborate to defeat them. However both Empires are surrounded by trouble, in East the inner tensions never seem to end, while they have Barbarians and Persians on their borders, while west really has to watch out for the frankish-allemanni conflict as well as the bulgars.

  20. #1860
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    Truely interesting, a new foe where west and east must meet. And indeed, very nice to see a new update

    I foresee the Ostrogoths dieing in the exchange, though it remains to be seen who their new ruler will be: Rome, Constantinople or the Bulgar tribes?
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