Avernite

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Claudius seems like the type Remus is going to need when he becomes Emperor. He doesn't inspire very much, but he's like most old Roman generals: competent, capable of doing what needs to be done. Remus is more the Caesar (Julius or Augustus) type, great aura, and truely inspiring leadership.

And I hate it when writers leave their biggest cliffhangers last for another update. I wanna know when Remus finally gets to meet someone who truely can do with him what he wants ;)
 

SirCliveWolfe

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Avernite said:
...Remus is more the Caesar (Julius or Augustus) type, great aura, and truely inspiring leadership...

Interesting you should say that, will Remus win a miracalous victory in Gall and come back to 'cross the Rubicon' and take power for himself ala Caesar?

Wonderful updates as ever...
 

Amric

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Sometimes quiet competence is more important than flashiness, if I may say so. Claudius doesn't have to be a Remus. Rome needs all the competent generals it can get. A Remus needs a Claudius. Plus there is no reason to be certain Remus will 'cross the Rubicon' like Julius of old. Ravenna will fall, have no doubt of it. It has taken a long time, but the end is near. The draining of the marshes has made the fall inevitable.

Well described actions by the Romans and the pics were a grand touch, Mett. You've certainly gotten no rust from your lent layoff. Excellent work!
 

fj44

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Ah, deception. It never changes. ;)

Another great update as usual, Mettermrck. Well, as usual, it provokes questions, but I guess I'll have to wait for the next update. :D
 

Petrarca

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Fascinating, fascinating. I'm looking forward to the coup de main, which should hopefully reward Claudius's labors with victory. 'Ox'-- I like that. Reminds me of the man from Aquino.
 

Stuyvesant

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I hope that Claudius will soon be able to wear his nickname with pride, much like the earlier Roman general who cautiously always refused Hannibal a battle, but in the end managed to drive him from Italy, where more rash generals attacked the Carthaginian and were soundly thrashed.

I agree with Amric that Remus needs Claudius, their styles complement each other and both have their uses.

Now what is all this hinted-at-yet-unexplained stuff going on with the Burgundians?
 

Mettermrck

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Lord E: Well, Claudius isn't brilliantly cunning, but he's able enough and give him three years and he'll come up with a good plan. :)

stynlan: Claudius doesn't usually open up, so it was a rare thing to have him and Selenus talking about their past even as they watched the storming of the walls. It seem a good contrast to portray.

Avernite: It's not an intentional cliffhanger, I just like to leave to hints at to what's coming. Claudius is a good solid general, maybe not maneuvering in the field but for siegework he's perfect.

SirCliveWolfe: I know many wonder what Remus will do in Gaul. I have vague ideas, but nothing is written in stone.

Darks63: Romulus' little state is small and exhausted enough not to threaten anyone except for his claim to imperial dignity and his need to reclaim lost lands.

Amric: Thank you sir. Yes, I wanted to drag Ravenna out sufficiently to make it seem like it wasn't an easy thing to do, which it wasn't that's for sure. In the game, I kept having to feed infantry into the siege just to keep it going. Silly medium fortress. Might have to weaken it with the marshes draining once it falls.

fj44: Questions are good! I'm glad you enjoyed the deception.

Petrarca: It won't be long, sir!

Stuyvesant: Indeed, Quintus Fabius Maximus...Cunctator ('The Delayer'). Yeah, sometimes great generals wear nicknames in pride even if they weren't given nicely.
 

Mettermrck

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gallic0mt.jpg


Remus scraped as best he could from the clay bowl, finding the barley soup to be far too bitter, yet he was none too particular when it came to food. It was fortunate enough that the Burgundians remembered to feed them at all. For the first week of their stay in the damp campsite, Gundomar had scarcely noted their presence, dropping them off in one part of the camp while he disappeared to another, at least until their first escape attempt. Caught two leagues to the north, having exhausted both themselves and the patrol sent after them, their captors were none too pleased at their ingenuity. After that, they had incurred the wrong kind of attention. They weren’t bound or manacled, yet their polite residence was at an end. A small round tent was their lot for most of the day, the fresh hides used to build it still giving the faint odor of the animals sacrificed for their shelter. Their swords were firmly taken away and stored elsewhere, beyond their knowledge. They hadn’t seen their mounts since coming to camp, and it looked like they would be in this region longer than they had wished.

”Where do you think we are then?” Remus asked between quick sips of the soup. Politeness was one of the first casualties of hunger, and if some of the dinner got on to his robe, he had no compunctions there either. They fed them just enough to remain able, and yet far too little for comfort. Arenius coughed, having eaten too much in his haste. He set down his bowl for a moment, trying to collect himself. Gillenus smiled and glanced over at Remus. ”I’d say we’re near Gratianopolis. From what I know, it was mostly abandoned a couple decades ago, and Gundomar seems suspicious of towns, unlike his siblings.”

”Wonderful,” Arenius scowled. ”A few leagues to the east are perfectly good Roman buildings, no doubt with intact roofs and warm walls. And here we sit, smelling animal insides all day. We shouldn’t have tried to escape,” he said fitfully.

Remus shook his head. ”It had to be done. Gundomar wasn’t and isn’t letting us go. You said it yourself, we need to be in Gallia by the spring. Clovis is marching on Soissons, yes?”

Gillenus subsided, nodding. ”With a vengeance. It’s his own fault, really. The Franks are something of an outcast these days. The other tribes, the Allemanni, the Visigoths, even the Burgundians have adopted the Christian way, have treated with the Empire. They tolerate bishops in their towns, and many of the higher warriors and nobles have converted. Rome may spit on them for their Arianism, but they’re a far cry from the Franks. Clovis is nervous, I can sense it. Once he tolerated Syagrius and his father, but now it’s a power struggle. He fears the Christian tribes, and needs to expand his territories. He is pagani, and faith is an easy excuse for war in these lands.”

He sniffed his bowl, curling his nose, and finished off his meal anyhow. Breaking open a poorly made piece of breadmeal, he flicked off an insect with his fingers before testing the food. Like his companions, he wasn’t too choosy.

Finished, Remus moved his bowl next to the tent flap. He could hear the faint shuffling of feet which marked the presence of their guard, his hard, leather boots scraping the drying mud. There were the faint shouts and laughter of a field camp, the faint wind barely concealing the rushing waters of the Isara close by. It was a miserable site for a camp, and from the little he had observed before their close confinement, Gundomar was no general, not if he put his men in such an exposed position.

150.txt

He set the bowl down and quietly moved back to the small camp fire. The smoke from the wet wood hung pitifully in the tent, rising far too slowly out of the room through the small hole above. Remus rubbed his eyes, the pungent odor drying them out. ”So why are we here? What are we to Gundomar?”

”Why nothing,” Arenius laughed. He sat back with a contented sigh, trying too hard to enjoy the brief moment of being full. It wouldn’t last long. ”Gundicar wanted us for his own ends.”

”Vero,” Remus nodded, trying to lie down, his aching shoulders protesting.

Arenius did likewise. It was an absurd imitation of Roman social behavior, the three men, tired, hurt, hungry, captured in the midst of barbarian crudity, lying in perfect aristocratic fashion on non-existent couches, facing a fire that served as the brazier to heat their tiny estate. In a way, even in hardship, they still brought civilization with them.

”Gundicar is the King’s man. Gundomar is nervous about his brother and anything his brother wants, he wants. Plus Gundomar controls most of the territory around here, from this base near Gratianopolis across the Alps. The King’s man took a big risk in trespassing like that. Why do you think they were so quick to take offense? That poor fellow with the dagger. That wouldn’t have happened every time. But Gundomar was sending a message. We know much of these Burgundians in Soissons. Our biggest fear is an alliance with the Franks or worse, with Alaric. Fortunately, this tribe is being pulled apart. With fortune, there’ll be civil war.”

Remus nodded. ”Good. if they kill each other, there’s less…impediments…in Gaul.” He had no qualms about these tribes fighting amongst themselves. The deaths in battle of their warriors, the wails of their women and children, it was like Mediolanum – an obstacle removed. As long as they were not caught up in that maelstrom. ”We best not be here when the Burgundians go up in flames. How soon?”

Arenius shrugged. ”Could be months, could be years. Gundomar is vulnerable being the youngest. And he has the weakest position. Chilperic has a strong fort in Valentia, down the Rhodanus. Godesigel is up near Bibracte, flirting with the Alemanni. No, general, if Gundobad is to strike, we are the target. This camp, this small army.”

Then something occurred to Remus, and he looked around as if he could find his answer in this crude tent. ”Why is there no priest in this camp? I thought the Burgundians were converted?”

Gillenus pursed his lips. ”At the top, yes. The rulers, most of them, give ear to these clerics. Some are serious, some less so. Many use it as a tool against the Roman faith. That’s why Alaric and Gundobad flirt with the Arian fashion. They can keep out the agents of Rome, as they fear them. The brothers are faithful in their own right, and Gundobad gives great respect to the Bishop in Lugdunum. Gundomar is the only mystery. It’s said he prefers the old ways, and draws some of the older warriors to him, the holdouts. I don’t believe they’ll last long. Gundobad is determined to use faith as a tool for welding his rule together.”

The patter of rain began to hit the tent, dampening their conversation with its incessant sound. Around them, in spite of the worsening weather, they could hear more activity. The neighing of horses perked Remus’ ears up, his cavalry instincts coming to quick conclusions. ”Something’s up. We’re moving.”

Arenius and Gillenus seemed unconvinced. They moved to settle in again around the fire until the tent flap suddenly swung inward, their burly guard poking his head in to peek at them. ”Up!” he shouted, the only word of his that they could understand. Latin was in short supply in this camp except for their leader.

Gathering their sagum, needing them in the cool February air, the three men slowly stepped out of the camp, watching warriors moving to and fro in the camp, even as a fog settled in hide their movements. A poor excuse for a roadway, muddy and far too narrow, ran along the high river bank, curving between various group of tents and huts towards the large cloth tent that served as Gundomar’s home. It was a captured Roman tent, Remus thought wryly, the only orderly piece in this entire place. Gnaeus would’ve been horrified at the chaotic structure of it, he thought, thinking of his old primicerium. How he wished he was here now, and Gaius, and many others. They would put these warriors to flight by nightfall. He wiped raindrops from his face, collecting himself.

eagles1493wa.jpg

Around him, he could spot warriors saying their goodbyes, holding children and wives. Who would they leave to guard the camp? This is why he didn’t burden himself with women. They could only hold a soldier down. He looked away, kicking the dirt with his foot.

”What is it?” Arenius asked as they began following their guard towards the center of the camp and Gundomar’s tent. Their boots sank precariously into the mud, making their progress agonizingly slow.

”I have a feeling we’re moving out. Gundomar isn’t waiting for his brother.” Remus looked up at the gray sky for a moment before staring back at the pair of them. ”Have either of you been to Lugdunum?”
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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On the move? Surely that will present some sort of opportunity that Remus will be able to exploit. The image of them being all aristocratic in their hut was very well crafted. Civilisation is less a state of being and more a state of mind.

I'm curious, have you read any of the writings of Sidonious Apollinaris?
 

Stuyvesant

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'Cunctator'! I remembered that part of it, but I had no idea of his real name. Thanks for the refresher. :)

So here we have a crash course in Burgundian politics. Shortly followed by some actual demonstrations of said politics, it seems. There's a lot going on in Burgundy and I'm still in the dark as to Remus' role in it all. But in time, I'm sure it will all make sense.

Interesting to hear that you haven't fully decided how Remus' adventures in Gaul will play out. Do you have a plan, but not yet the idea of how to achieve it, or is even a plan lacking at this point in time?
 

Petrarca

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Interesting possibilities with the Burgundians and their tensions and alliances, but what is even more fascinating is the role that Clovis will come to play. If memory serves, the two Roman warlords in Gaul defected to his side historically, and it will be very intriguing to see the ripple effect that cold-blooded Remus plays. I wonder what would become of Clovis' religion with an active Roman presence working against him instead of prostrating themselves toward him.
 

Lord E

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Good update Mett. Interesting to see Burgundy on the beginning of a civil war, and I must say I think it was wise of them to move out. The base didn’t sound very easy to defend so certainly some place in the mountains should be much easier to defend. I wonder what will happen next, will they be ambushed, will they fight and will Remus ever reach the Romans in Gaul. I am really looking forward to it all :)
 

Avernite

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I meant the Remus in Burgundy cliffhanger, Mett. Not the 'siege isn't finished' one ;)

Seems like they're in trouble now, or so I would suspect, given that a sudden move is allmost never planned, thus likely caused by a foe :D
 

VILenin

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Remus seems to be a soldier through and through, hard nosed and practical, especially when it comes to things like women. And his thoughts about "obstacles" was quite revealing.
 

Sir Humphrey

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Just got round to reading the last two updates. Smashing stuff. :)