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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Part 1: The War In The Shadows, Chapter 3: Be All My Sins Remember'd, the War Against the Sassanids Reaches its Climax, Part 14

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“We have to retreat,” Galerius snapped at his men. They were fighting near the tail end of the Sassanid army. They had previously charged through the Sassanid lines, and that had been wildly successful. Unfortunately, their luck seemed to have run out.

“We know,” one of his men snapped back. “That isn’t easy to do! We’re almost completely surrounded!”

Galerius grit his teeth. He knew that. He just needed to be able to lead his men in a successful retreat. If he failed, the battle could be lost, and that might cost them the entire war. He wasn’t about to allow that to happen!

“Then fight your way out,” he snapped. “As I am doing! Are you cowards?”

His men’s faces grew red with anger, as he knew they would. “Of course not,” one of them said, and then there was no longer time to talk, for the Sassanids had completely surrounded them.

Galerius saw a small opening in the Sassanid lines, but he didn’t move towards it. He figured that this opening would quickly disappear, and then he would be trapped. It might very well be a deliberate trap. In addition, he had noticed that none of his men - no, his comrades - had taken the opening. He wouldn’t abandon them, even if it ended up costing the Eastern Romans the battle.

Thankfully, it was unlikely that that would occur. His comrades seemed to be doing well, although they were still stuck in the middle of the Sassanid army. Galerius smiled. That wouldn’t be a problem. They were surrounded… and that meant that they could attack any direction. He drew his bow. This was going to be very fun.

“Are we retreating?” One of his comrades shouted over to him. “This doesn’t feel like we’re retreating! It feels like we’re attacking.”

“We need to harm their army as much as we can,” Galerius shouted back. “We can’t outright defeat it anymore - it’s too late for that. However, we can shift the scales of the battle more in our favor, and that is what we are going to do.”

After that, they needed to focus all their attention on fighting - and surviving. There was no time to talk for a long while. Galerius stabbed and slashed at his Sassanid opponents. He slaughtered many enemy troops. He didn’t enjoy doing so, but he knew that he had to. He was in the middle of a battle, so his choices were kill or be killed.

He killed many Sassanids, and his comrades did so as well. Unfortunately, and somewhat confusingly, they were still surrounded. Of course, they had originally been surrounded at the lines in the back of the Sassanid army, which meant that the easiest way to escape would’ve been to fight their way behind the Sassanids and then go around them, but Galerius viewed that as a coward’s move. His comrades had nonverbally agreed with him on that point. Only cowards would take such an easy - and selfish - way out, and none of them were cowards. In addition, they would defend their comrades… even unto death. So here they were, fighting for their civilization, their Empire, and, above all, their lives.
 
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Either that was a feint or he just did throw his nerves xP
I mean, the attack wasn't meant to destroy the Sassanids, although it might've been for a short while due to how successful their "hide under the cover of night" strategy was...
 
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Galerius slaughtered many men. He had to, for his life depended on it. In war, one was either a killer or a dead man. He and his men had reached the center of the Sassanid army, but they knew that their battle was far from over. It wouldn’t be over anytime soon. Even once - or if - they managed to make it back to the Eastern Roman camp, the Sassanids would be far from defeated.

“What’s our status?” Galerius shouted to his men. Unfortunately, this question got carried away by the wind. That was an answer, though, so he wasn’t that annoyed. They couldn’t communicate.

Thankfully, they were still surrounded. Normally, this would be a bad thing, but the wind had started blowing in every direction, so that meant he would normally run the risk of friendly fire if he tried to shoot his bow. However, t]]]]hey were surrounded at the moment, so the chance of friendly fire was heavily decreased. Furthermore, the chance that the arrow would hit an enemy was very high.

Galerius smiled. He started shooting arrows. Many of them hit the Sassanids, and he was happy about that. Absolutely none of them hit his small group of loyal followers. The Sassanid army started to give them more room to maneuver, so his little stunt must have had some effect.

Galerius immediately used this to his advantage. He started to survey the battlefield, looking for his allies. A few of them were dead, and that was sad news. He wasn’t that torn up about it - they were soldiers, they knew the risks. However, a surprising number of his small group had survived and were still defiantly fighting. That was excellent news.

The best news of all was that the soldiers he had entrusted to be part of this attack hadn’t betrayed him or the Empire. No one had defected, and no one had allowed themselves to be captured. He smiled slightly at that.

Still, as successful as this charge had been, he needed to finish the retreat - for both him and his comrades. He couldn’t talk to them due to the wind, though, so that might be somewhat difficult.

He figured out what they had to do quickly. They had to regroup, which might be difficult. They could communicate, then, even despite the wind. In order to regroup, then, he needed to know where everyone was. Luckily, he had already done a sweep of the battlefield. He knew where all of his comrades were.

Most of them were in an area almost devoid of Sassanids. Obviously, this was because there was safety in numbers. Of course, another reason might’ve been that the Sassanids didn’t want to confront them, as they knew that any defeat of this group would inevitably be pyrrhic. Also, they were retreating, so a confrontation didn’t have to happen.

Galerius wasn’t worried about that group at all. They would be fine. As such, he figured that where they were would be a good spot to meet up and regroup at. However, that was only the main body. He was close to that area, and the Sassanids had decided that it was a terrible idea to mess with him after his stunt with his bow. He was fine.

Some of his comrades, however, weren’t. One was completely surrounded by Sassanid troops. He was one of Galerius’s old friends in the legion as well, and he was nearby. Galerius made a split second the decision to attack those Sassanids. His effort was very successful, and he managed to lead his old friend towards the small safe haven. Good. Now, all he had to do was to rescue a few groups of Eastern Roman soldiers.
 
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Author's Note: Remember when I said that I was posting all of this (the climax) in one update? Yeah, that didn't happen... at all.

Also, the War Against the Sassanids Reaches its Climax alone is over 10,000 words now, and I'm nowhere near done. After this, we should just have roughly one more storyline... in the "chapter". Info on that is in the spoiler below. We still have plenty of time left to cover in this story...

It's on 3 revolts, and the lead-up to them. To put that into perspective, the intrigue plots until now were dealing with one revolt.
 
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knppel

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#JustCKThings

And you know how they say- "One plot leads to another".
Specially ck with its abundance of characters does an incredibly good job at this- someone is always up to something, and even if not there's stuff like battles where the Commanders can shine (or die), babies born and what not else.

Remember when I said that I was posting all of this (the climax) in one update?
Remember when I said I got a big epic conquest to tell about but so far it's some guy fighting with his wife instead? :p

Campaign progress is indeed not the only thing to be portrayed, I'm all with the post above on this behalf.
Specially when writing about and building up characters, ck all too often on its own creates these Ned-Stark-Moments, "oops, X died there suddenly at random (and this is gonna cause 10 years civil war as people are mad over it) oh crap". :eek:

Might as well be Galerius or Albinus don't survive this battle after all, even if it ends in victory ultimately. or the war. Or the next ten years...!
 
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One episode or seven, no one counts when they are well written and interesting.
True. Thanks!

#JustCKThings

And you know how they say- "One plot leads to another".
Specially ck with its abundance of characters does an incredibly good job at this- someone is always up to something, and even if not there's stuff like battles where the Commanders can shine (or die), babies born and what not else.


Remember when I said I got a big epic conquest to tell about but so far it's some guy fighting with his wife instead? :p

Campaign progress is indeed not the only thing to be portrayed, I'm all with the post above on this behalf.
Specially when writing about and building up characters, ck all too often on its own creates these Ned-Stark-Moments, "oops, X died there suddenly at random (and this is gonna cause 10 years civil war as people are mad over it) oh crap". :eek:

Might as well be Galerius or Albinus don't survive this battle after all, even if it ends in victory ultimately. or the war. Or the next ten years...!
This is also true. Of course, Galerius is also having second thoughts about war as well...
 
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Okay, so he needed to check that each group was still where they were when he had last surveyed the battlefield. He didn’t expect the situation to have changed that much, but a lot of things could change in even a few moments, so it was still necessary to check.

Ah, so not much had changed. That was good, as it meant that he didn’t have to change his plan at all. He moved away from the center of the Sassanid army once more. After all, he was far from done, and the battle was even farther from being over.

Most of the more recent recruits - people who had joined during the Dalmatian Campaign and therefore were inexperienced at Siscia - had grouped together. Galerius figured that they were following the principle of safety in numbers. They were fools for that, but they were loyal fools, so he couldn’t let them die. Well, that might take a while.

As he thought that, night began to fall. It was a night with a full moon, though, and the battle was still very much in progress. He suspected that nightfall would provide him - and his comrades - no respite. As he moved toward the group he was trying to rescue, his suspicions were proven correct. The Sassanids seemed to have temporarily gotten over their fear of him, as many attacked him.

He was forced to change his plan. He decided that dual-wielding weapons was going to be his best bet. He drew his sword and a spear. He used these to attack the Sassanids, and he killed many of them. They took the hint and stopped attacking him.

Still, he had valuable time fending them off. He hoped that that time wouldn’t end up making a difference, but he was worried that it would.

He quickly managed to get very close to where the more recent recruits were, but it wasn’t that simple. The newer members were under attack by the Sassanids, and it didn’t look like they were doing well. Indeed, it looked as if they were to abandon each other. Honestly, Galerius wouldn’t blame them if they did break - they were a group of inexperienced soldiers, and they were surrounded.

Galerius drew his bow and shot at the Sassanids. The wind favored him, and the arrow hit the center of the Sassanids. Many Sassanids fled, likely because they expected more arrows. Well, if that was the case, they weren’t wrong. He shot multiple arrows at the center of the Sassanid formation in front of him. Of course, he wasn’t directly behind the Sassanids - that would be suicide. For one thing, being in that position would open him up to short-ranged attack, and, for another, it would render his bow useless.

The Sassanids dispersed, and Galerius took advantage of that. He told the group he was rescuing where the survivors of the Legio I Armeniaca - the original Legio I Armeniaca - were meeting up. Then, he surveyed the battlefield once more. He needed to know what was happening on the battlefield in order to make a plan, after all.
 
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With nightfall, fatigue, dehydration and hunger will play a bigger role than weapons and tactics.
 
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This is also true. Of course, Galerius is also having second thoughts about war as well...
To no surprise, being distracted from his thoughts by combat seemed to go smoother ^^
 
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With nightfall, fatigue, dehydration and hunger will play a bigger role than weapons and tactics.
Yes. People can fight forever and fight well. Of course, wars aren’t eternal. Nature causes their outcome.
To no surprise, being distracted from his thoughts by combat seemed to go smoother ^^
Yep.
 
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There were 3 large groups of Eastern Roman soldiers besides the main one. A few individuals were fighting against the Sassanids alone, as Galerius had done. Unfortunately, they weren’t nearly as good as Galerius, and so their fate was unlikely to be as nice. In addition, there were 2 smaller groups, but they weren’t doing well, either.

This situation meant that Galerius had to make a decision. He could rescue one of the large groups immediately, but that would likely force him to give up on saving at least some of the smaller groups, if he didn’t doom all of them.

The larger groups could hold out for a long time, but they couldn’t hold out forever. The one in the center of the Sassanid army probably could hold out for years, which was why its location was where the Legio I Armeniaca was regrouping. The smaller ones couldn’t hold out for as long, but, if he spent a long time rescuing them, one of the larger groups might break. He wasn’t certain that rescuing most of the smaller groups would make up for not being able to rescue one of the larger groups.

That made his decision exponentially harder. To further complicate things, numbers weren’t the only thing he needed to consider. Even if he managed to think logically - and only logically, meaning that he ignored all emotions and friendships - he would still have to consider the skill of the individual soldiers. He didn’t have enough time to save everyone, and that fact annoyed him greatly.

After a few moments of deliberation, he decided that the large groups could hold a bit longer. The smaller groups likely couldn’t, but he had looked over the battlefield before, and that meant he knew where everyone was. As such, he could rescue a few of the small groups, but he knew that rescuing all of them would be impossible if he wanted to also rescue the larger groups. And sacrificing the larger groups completely was unthinkable.

Thankfully, the Eastern Roman forces seemed to have kept in the same general area. That meant that most of the smaller forces were near his current position. Unfortunately, the effect of his trick with his bow had worn off, so he couldn’t turn around without getting attacked by Sassanid soldiers. He couldn’t leave his back unguarded, but he was alone at the moment. That meant that he had to ensure that there was no one to attack him from behind. That would be even harder than normal, given that it was nighttime.

As such, he decided that dual-wielding weapons would be a good idea. He drew his bow, but he also drew his sword. He shot many arrows, and the Sassanids attacked him, as he knew they would. After all, if he was allowed to shoot them without repercussions, it would be extremely bad for their morale, and it would encourage him - and probably other Eastern Roman recruits, too. He attacked the brave Sassanids with his sword. To their credit, they realized that they couldn’t hold any area when he was opposing them, at least not alone, and retreated.

Now that his back was covered, he turned around and shot at many Sassanids. These required him to turn a lot, but the upside of that was that it meant his flanks were secure. At first, all most of the soldiers in the smaller groups could do was stare at him in shock, but he pointed at where their safe haven was, and his troops got the message. Good. Now, there were only 2 of the smaller groups that he had to save - and a group of two individuals. Surprisingly, those two individuals seemed to be defending themselves extraordinarily well. That meant that they were extraordinarily skilled soldiers, so he needed to save them.
 
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Triage requires making tough decisions. How he can handle the bow and sword at the same time? The bow is a two hand weapon.
 

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Triage requires making tough decisions. How he can handle the bow and sword at the same time? The bow is a two hand weapon.
The bow is presumably not drawn when he’s using the sword, and the sword is probably in his quiver or otherwise stored when he’s using the bow. So it’s not at the same time exactly, but it’s still dual-wielding, if that makes sense.
 
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Part 1: The War In The Shadows, Chapter 3: Be All My Sins Remember'd, the War Against the Sassanids Reaches its Climax, Part 18

HistoryDude

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Yes, but they were skilled, so they should be able to hold out a bit longer. That meant that he could focus on the other smaller groups, if he wanted to. He could also go rescue one of the larger groups. The unfortunate truth, though, was that there was a rather high possibility that the group of two individuals might not be able to hold out much longer. Galerius was forced to choose who to save, and he hated having to make that decision.

Unfortunately, his feelings changed nothing. He still had to make the decision, no matter how much he hated that fact. He looked around the battlefield, and he saw that one of the large groups was faltering. That was bad. That was very bad.

In a split second, he made his decision. He decided that the two individuals had stood this long, so they would be able to hold a few moments. He would rescue them soon. However, he first had to rescue the large group on the verge of breaking. After all, losing them could mean losing a large portion of their reserves - and some of his friends.

He’d managed to secure his back for at least a little while, but he knew that that situation was unlikely to last. He knows that the best course of action would be to move towards the group he was going to rescue, so he quickly did that. Galerius figured that the Sassanids overcame their fear soon after, but it was already too late. He was no longer an effective target.

As he neared his destination, he quickly noticed that there was already a small passageway that could be used to escape. At first, he wondered why the group of Eastern Roman soldiers didn’t use this pathway to escape, or why the Sassanids didn’t close it. It seemed as if he was the only one who had noticed.

However, he quickly noticed that the eyes of people on both sides occasionally strayed to the opening. That meant that both sides knew of the small opening in the Sassanid lines, so why didn’t either do anything about it? It was a risk to the Sassanids and an opportunity to the Eastern Romans, right? So, why wasn’t anybody taking advantage of it? That didn’t make sense.

There was a possibility that Galerius was considering, deep down, but he didn’t want it to be true. Despite that, he quickly realized that this possibility was the only reasonable explanation, and that horrified him. This horrifying possibility was that the opening existed, and the Sassanids knew that. They were deliberately ensuring that it stayed open, so it granted hope - false hope of escape - to the trapped Eastern Roman forces. He cursed.

This situation was bad. It meant that this particular section of the Sassanid army had an intelligent commander. That made his job exponentially harder. Actually, why was this force more organized than the rest of the Sassanid army?

Galerius quickly realized the reason for that, though. He looked over the Sassanid force. Oh. That explained it. Kavadh was commanding this force personally, so it made sense that it would be a bit more organized than the rest of the army.

Of course, Galerius quickly realized that this rescue would be more difficult than the ones that he’d done before, but it was also an opportunity. After all, if he killed Kavadh, then the Sassanid force would be left without a commander and lose almost all of its organization. That would make an Eastern Roman victory far easier.
 
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HistoryDude

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To kill a snake, cut off the head.
True, although that won’t be an easy feat. It’s not impossible, though. By no means is it impossible...
 
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