stnylan

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Excellent to see you back in the saddle after your 'fast'. Remus is good at getting himself in sticky situations, it is fortunate that he is good also (or lucky) at getting out of them.
 

unmerged(28944)

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Fantastic return, Mett! Glad to see this AAR once more in the field, so to speak. And what a return, Remus getting into yet another possible sticky situation!
 

Stuyvesant

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So, Varic's been dropping Remus' name (and his plans) to the Burgundians? The question, of course, is whether that's a good or a bad thing. I could imagine the Burgundians being willing to make common cause with Gallia, since the combined might of the Franks and the Visigoths, currently eating away at Gallia, is probably more intimidating than the Roman remnants in northern Gaul.

Anyway, Remus needs to somehow get to Gallia to continue making his name, which will eventually allow him to overthrow the insolent Romulus, so the needs of the story dictate that he'll make it thru this encounter with the Burgundian patrol unscathed. ;)

Glad to see you're writing again, Mett.
 

Pirate Z

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Don't worry, Remus has a contract. ;)
 

Mettermrck

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Pirate Z: Well, I'm not sure even Remus expected Romulus to send him on his merry way with zero support. But who knows what can happen? Yes, I've booked Remus for three books. ;)

Lord E: Aren't you Norwegian? How can a descendant of Vikings be afraid of Burgundians? :D

Avernite: I suppose I say too much with the word 'Gallic' in the title, though the Burgundians hold land in that region.

Petrarca: Thank you, sir, glad to be back.

Storey: The story would be dull without tension and strife. Remus is an expert at finding both!

VILenin: Too true, and this is a young emperor feeling his ambitious oats having finally gotten his throne back, however tenuous.

yourworstnightm: Nah, don't worry. The Doomsday project won't be the literary style Eagles is, and will be more of a secondary story to this one.

stynlan: Thanks! Well, to rise one has to have ultimate success so naturally Remus is having a disproportionate share of luck and victory. :)

Dracos Rexus: Glad to have you back, Dracos. Sticky is only one of Remus' many qualities, I am sure.

Midgardmetal: Thanks for the kind words. Yes, it's fun to come back after such a break.

Darks63: Thanks, Dark one.

Stuyvesant: I've missed your comments! Yes, the Burgundians occupy a curious middle-ground, between Italy and the remnant in Gallia. The tribe isn't as hallowed as the Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, probably due to its lack of longevity. The lack of source material is both a disadvantage and gives creative space.
 

Mettermrck

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gallic0mt.jpg



They rode in relative silence, their host leading them confidently from behind, the Burgundian party arranged around them in firm yet respectful arrangement, a subtle reminder that their journey was not necessarily voluntary. The spear points gleamed in the afternoon sunlight, and Remus found himself annoyed at the constant display of weaponry. If he had had more time to dwell on that point, he would’ve thought these Burgundians were uncomfortable in this land. Perhaps they were ill-used to their new Cisalpine domain. At one moment, Remus had even voiced his curiosity about this odd trek. ”Are we your prisoners, then?” Considering that they had been allowed to keep their swords, it was a fair question. Not that Remus had any intentions of fighting three against twelve.

The Burgundian leader, this Gundicar, had merely cocked his head quizzically, again revealing his distinct lack of Latin speech. Was that an advantage, Remus thought to himself, or did this foreign separation between them only reveal his own vulnerability. Even if their escorts couldn’t understand them, he certainly understood less about them, and that left his options dangerous to ponder.

After one of his men whispered a translation, Gundicar guffawed, roaring as he threw his head back. It was not Remus’ idea of humor, but better to have one’s potential captor laugh than be vengeful.

Gundicar barked at his man, who again spoke in his rough form of speech. ”General says…no, no prisoners. The King wishes to speak with you.”

Gundobad, then. A once-enemy of both Romulus and Odoacer, if his memory served, as well as past mentor of Glycerius and emperor-maker of Italy. Such an audience could move in many directions. If he wanted to reach Gallia alive and help keep out the Franks and Visigoths, surely he could ill afford to antagonize the Burgundians. Their domain was dwarfed by their neighbors, certainly, yet one underestimated them at their peril. Odoacer certainly had, he thought with a grim smile.

He turned his attentions back to his companions, who kept a distinct reserve as if they were well acquainted with these tribesmen. ”You know this Gundicar, then?” he whispered to Gillenus. Glancing back, he noticed the namesake turning to glance at them and dismissing them just as easily.

Gillenus nodded. ”A little. We know of him, rather. Gundobad’s nephew, and perhaps one of the few loyal family members left in this kingdom.” This made Remus’ eyebrows rise and he nudged his mount just a little bit closer to Gillenus’ gray mare. ”The Burgundians are an unruly people. They like to fight and have been doing it for centuries now. They’ve settled down now and it grates on many on them, particularly the King’s brothers. Too much milk and pliant women softens the muscle, I would imagine.” giving them a brief yet welcome laugh to share. ”Gundobad is a patrician too, mind you, a gift from his pawn Glycerius. His brothers are more traditional, Godegisel and Chilperic, especially.” Remus, who had once flirted with being Glycerius’ pawn, could only nod impassively. Intrigue wasn’t limited to civilization then, he thought idly.

aemelia6rc.jpg

All was quiet around them and even the birds grew still, as if themselves eavesdropping. The bare grass of the plains was beginning to shift into more pronounced rises, the soft ridges subtly announcing the approaching mountains.

Glancing to his left, he noted Arenius’ preoccupation, scarcely glancing at the horsemen flanking them in that direction. ”What is it?” Remus quietly asked. ”Do you know the King’s brothers?”

Arenius turned, smiling faintly, as if Remus had told a pleasant gibe. ”No, General. Not personally. But I am quite certain we will meet one soon.”

Too complacent to pick up on the words, Remus snorted softly, still in a relaxed mood despite their present predicament. ”And how is that, Gaul?” he said, teasing. Though Arenius and Gillenus bore Gallic features from long ancestral roots in that far land, both bore the unmistakable aristocratic bearing of Roman nobility. It was a jest with little truth, and they both knew it.

But Arenius’ smile faded. A bird chirped, and he turned, Remus’ eye following him. ”There,” Arenius said abruptly.

And suddenly the party lurched to a halt. Passing over a small rise with the front of the party, Remus could see the sudden sweep of the base of the Alps before, only a narrow green valley separating them, a pair of streams cutting across the ground. It would’ve been pastoral and soothing, he decided, if not for the troop of horsemen arranged before them. Counting them, he stopped at thirty. It was enough then.

He turned in surprise to regard how calm their “captors” were. Were they meeting with reinforcements then? For the horsemen they’d stumbled across were clearly Burgundians. And they too were silent. An unpleasant meeting then? Unpleasant for Gundicar or for Remus? Or for both? He turned to Gillenus, who shushed him. Apparently speech was not the wisest course.

Slowly Gundicar and a trio of his horsemen rode past Remus, not acknowledging him at all, their eyes on the distant tribesmen. From their ranks, arranged in a semicircle both casual and vigilant, a small group of eight or so men rode out, trotting slowly and confidently towards their group. Gundicar’s men rode out a few more steps and stopped in front, still close enough to Remus and his companions.

As the other horsemen approached, Remus studied them closely, noticing the resemblance, and noting which of them held the most stature, judging by their bearing and the hints of color in their otherwise drab gear. Clearly it was the man in the center, a young man with crooked nose who stood taller in his saddle than even Gundicar. Again he turned to whisper to Gillenus, who again held up his hand, shaking his head.

Gundicar raised his arm in the air, the flat palm facing his visitors. It was his sword arm, and therefore was probably a gesture of peace. The other man, the young leader they were observing, merely nodded. Whoever he was, he must have more status. The expressions on the Burgundians’ faces ranged from curiosity to veiled hostility. No camaraderie here then, Remus mused, thinking only briefly of his sword before deciding against it. Something held him back.

The why was quickly explained when he observed a sudden shift to his right. Like him before, a Burgundian hand belonging to Gundicar’s erstwhile translator, strayed instinctively to his blade, this time touching the hilt. To his shock, Remus saw a whirl from the opposite party and before he could register the motion, Gundicar’s man fell from the saddle, a dagger protruding from his neck. He would never know who had thrown the blade, so swift was the motion.

And to his further surprise, no one else moved. Gundicar and the young man stared impassively at one another, before Gundicar nodded with reluctance and turned his mount aside. With simple decision, he trailed off along the edge of the valley, the remnant of his party following him, leaving the dead translator abandoned.

The young man gestured, and his horsemen rode forward, forming another protective around them.

Remus was struggling to process it all, the sudden confrontation, the calm, the ease with which the question of “ownership” had been decided. Who were these people?

”He touched iron,” Gillenus whispered. ”You touch iron in the presence of royalty, you forfeit your life. That much I know of the Burgundians.”’

They stared at the young man some more, trying to find more qualities in him even as their newest host pointedly ignored them. ”So this one of Gundobad’s brothers, then?” he whispered.

”Oh yes,” Arenius said, smiling faintly. ”And judging by his youth, this is clearly Godomar.”

”And is he traditional?”

Arenius smiled was fixed. ”I suspect we will find out soon enough.”
 
Last edited:

aussieboy

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A nice exploration in the politics of barbarian tribes. Though I thing the Gallic Campaign is unwise, with Odovakar still in control of Ravenna.
 

Avernite

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Ahh, the virtues of Royalty. I do wonder what this new captor has in mind for them.... ;)
 

stnylan

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Somehow I wonder if there might not be an element of deliberation in Remus' actions, even if he does not entirely know what he is doing. He does keep pushing royalty, in Rome and elsewhere it seems (and even Nepos, as I recall).

Incidentally, what is the music for the Gallic theme?
 

Lord E

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Nice update Mett, good way to showing the strange ways of the barbarians. So I guess Remus has got a new captor now… Shall be interesting to see what this royal brother wants.
Looking forward to the next update :)
 

Sir Humphrey

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Great updates. :)
 

Pirate Z

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Ah, we venture into the wild world of Germanic power politics. I'm sure it'll be quite the journey. :D
 

Mettermrck

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aussieboy: Well, for the moment, the Gallic Campaign is a misnomer as it consists entirely of Remus with no army whatsoever. More of a Gallic embassy for now. :) Romulus is more fascinated with seizing Sicily while besieging Ravenna at the same time.

Avernite: Good question. There's not much material on the Burgundians themselves, though fortunately King Gundobad is reasonably well-known and his bickering with his family is somewhat documented. This will help me out some.

stynlan: Remus always seems to butt heads with leadership no matter where he goes. Why should the Burgundians be an exception? :)

Lord E: True enough. There is extremely little about the character of Gundobad's brothers, about as little as the king himself. So anything I do to flesh out these figures, like much of this writing, is speculative on my part. Hopefully it seems plausible.

Darks63: Granted. It keeps at least one front relatively quiet, leaving maybe two or three that contain vultures looking at Rome's borders. :)

Sir Humphrey: Thank you kindly, sir!

Pirate Z: It's a study as I go, as I rapidly try to find good source material on the Franks, Visigoths, and Burgundians. Like much of what I've written so far, it's full of fascinating discovery.
 

Mettermrck

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gallic0mt.jpg



February 487

They surveyed the men as they passed, or rather heard them. The evening’s light was rapidly fading, and the century of troops quietly stepping past were bedecked as much as possible with concealment in mind. Of course, Claudius knew, hiding a large army was impossible, yet it wasn’t prudent to make it easy for his enemy either. These infantry, part of the veteran Comite Calor, were a particular asset he wanted to use carefully, and keep the garrison from spotting too quickly. Each man wore a large wool sagum draped over their armor, their swords and hasta were put away, either in hilts or wrapped in specially made leather coverings. Most of their campaign gear was back at camp, the little remaining tied down as much as possible to reduce noise. Chatter was expressly forbidden on made of being left behind, and such was the morale and reputation of this unit that no one wanted to remain in the encampment while his comrades fought.

Claudius, who had given up his own scarlet general’s capon, was content to be just as nondescript in the presence of his marching army. Ahead, a mile or so beyond the woods, he could see the faint flickering of his front units, their torches illuminating what was rapidly becoming a bitter engagement. The sloping ground minimized sound, and the cries of the first attacks were surprisingly faint at this distance. Quietly tapping his boots to his mount’s flank, he trotted off towards the edge of the forest cover, wanting to see things for himself. Carefully maneuvering his way through culverts and narrow passages, he moved through the dried swampland, passing more individual units of infantry and light siege equipment, all converging on the planned point of attack. It was a hive of unseen forest denizens sifting their way towards a furious objective.

As he arrived at a good vantage point, gazing out at the infantry pouring up the tall walls of Ravenna. Here was the soft spot in the defenses, when a garrison skimping on stone chose to build the walls shorter and thinner, relying on a thick belt of marsh to protect them. And now that those marshes were drying up, here is where they expected an attack.

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He heard a sharp clop to his right as another rider approached…clumsily, he thought idly. Which meant it was his aide, Selenus, who had yet to learn the finer points of riding over rough terrain, especially at night. Somewhat perturbed at the intrusion, especially when there was generaling to be done, he nodded stiffly and turned back to the battle. The young man looked…absurd, in his intercisa, clearly too big for his head and his semispatha. Surely he didn’t expect to actually fight out here.

More torches were lighting up the far walls, and he could see defenders racing along the parapets to head up his own infantry. It would come down to speed then, he thought, craning his neck as he watched more of his troops emerge into the open ground. Quickly now, he silently urged them, not daring to shout, even in the midst of this chaos. He took a brief moment to congratulate himself on not bringing up the heavy engines. Would the enemy suspect something with their absence? No, he decided, they’d be too busy fighting for their lives to look for onagers.

Even in the coming twilight, Selenus’ thin shadow wouldn’t go away. ”Praetor. Come to watch the fighting or do you have something for me?” The shouting roared as the first ladders were put up against the walls.

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The first of Claudius’ infantry attacks the Ravenna walls

Selenus coughed slightly, feeling awkward, lacking the military bearing that most of the legion exuded so effortlessly. This, he thought idly, in spite of the fact that he had seen more campaigning then most of them. More’s the pity. ”Your pardon, general. The Exarchus wished to report. All nine centuries are on the west road.”

Claudius paused from his observations, turning to nod with a slight softening of his expression. ”Good then. I expect them to reach the bend by morning. Brisk march, mind you, make sure the gear is light, and no talking in ranks. Understood?”

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The Exarchus observes the comitatensii on a forced night march

”I believe the Exarchus has followed your instructions, general.”

The general smirked, a rare show of levity even in the midst of this chaos. A sudden rise in the shouting drew him back to the battle. His infantry had reached one of the towers.

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The limitanei press forward towards one of the Ravenna towers

”Carefully now,” he said softly. ”don’t let the blood rise.” His men needed to sell the attack well but not over commit. Thinking of the veteran troops approaching behind him, he realized it was time to send them in. Let the enemy see the Comite Calor and their officers will fear the attack to the ignorance of all else. Even in his absence, Remus’ reputation would serve them well.

Which brought him back to the young man next to him. A remarkable administrator and a burgeoning supply genius, Claudius could only marvel at how the man kept his distance from the intensity around him. Despite his rank, his service, his abilities, everyone underestimated when meeting him, though usually only once. And clearly he was someone out of favor in Rome for the moment.

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Selenus was squinting past Claudius, a frown growing. ”There’s a spur gate two leagues to the east, yes? By the coast road. Will they sortie?” His voice was timid, uncertain about his own question.

Claudius thought for a moment and cocked his head appreciatively. It wouldn’t hurt to be cautious. He waved a tribune over. ”Double the horse watching the coast road.”’ Saluting, the officer road off.

Turning back to his aide, Claudius bowed his head. ”Well done, Praetor. You have fair instincts. Tell me,” he said, raising his hand in silent salute as the Comite passed, ”did you fight much in the Magister’s service?”

Somehow, that question broke through the impassive façade Selenus kept up. He had struck something, indeed, though inadvertently. ”Yes. At the Aufius.”

The general eyes’ widened. Of course! When he was in Odoacer’s service, driving the bandits from Samnium, Varic and…Remus. Naturally the young man would’ve served with him. But actually fought?

”One of my better days in the field, Selenus,” he said personably, ignorant to how his words grated on his listener’s ears. ”A grave day it was. Men think me cautious now in spite of…”

Selenus turned away, though his ear still faced Claudius.

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”My grave day was at the Calor. And do you think I enjoy it when the troops shout that infernal name to the heavens?”

As if to rub salt into his reminiscences, the Comite Calor reached the ladders and begin moving up to the fighting, shouting their famous ”Dux Calor!” battle cry.

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The elite Comite Calor charges into battle

Claudius scowled audibly, which seemed to cheer Selenus some, and he turned back to face the battle. ”Remus robbed me of my audacity that day and I have been prudent and careful ever since. I am Bos to them. The Ox.” By his expression, Selenus could tell this pleased him little. Fortunately, he had yet to acquire his own diminutive. ”I may take more time than some in Rome would like,” the general continued, ”yet I rarely lose either. Our great days are wondrous to remember, Selenus. Yet our hardest days can do just as much good for our souls.”

It was an odd scene, a horrible melee taking place mere stadii away, and yet here they were, the soldier and the clerk, sharing confidences. Claudius cleared his throat, and it was clear that the moment was gone. ”Get back to the Exarchus. Tell him to press hard. I’ll join by morning, and then the real attack can begin.”

More shouts of ”Dux Calor!” ranged down from the Ravenna walls, though Claudius chose not to listen.
 
Last edited:

Lord E

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Nice update. Good to se Claudius begin the attack on Ravenna, it was probably about time now. So I gather he has made some cunning plan, sending some forces up the ladders to draw all enemy troops to that section of the front, and then after some hours hit an other section of the wall with his main forces and his siege equipment? That seems very clever, I hope it shall result it a great victory :)
 

stnylan

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He is a wily one, and no mistake. After Remus stripped him of his brashness - to an extent, anyway - a cool cunning remains. He seems almost companianable with Selenus, even if Selenus is more hesitant. All very good.