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Thread: Not for Glory

  1. #21
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    jdd2035's Avatar

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    Captain Cain Jodin
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    Days went by, my centuria integrated well with the rest of the legion, and even better with their cohort. The second rank of the centuria, was issued hasta alongside their spatha. It was a good combination, my plan was, when we were eventually attacked by the phalanx of P’Tah soldiers my centuria would shift ranks, and defend against the cavalry charge.

    The sun was nearing noon, when my strategy was tested, scouts had reported to General Bracca. Upon hearing the news he halted the Legion, and announced, “Our scouts have spotted a force of enemy soldiers, form up, we shall meet them here and spoil their plans for an ambush!”

    When a legion forms up, it five thousand two hundred men form up into ten cohorts of five hundred men lead by a tribune, the first cohort was the farthest to the right, the fifth farthest to the left, the sixth cohort forms up behind the first, and the tenth behind the fifth. Behind the cohorts were the archers, and reserves, the sick, lame, and others that were not meant to fight until there was no other choice. Each cohort consisted of one hundred men or one centuria. Our Legions second cohort actually numbered six hundred men thanks to my centuria being placed among them.

    From that I was a mix of emotions, I was excited, the thought of battle had woke up something almost primal in the back of my mind, the hair on my arms, and on the back of my neck rose and I had this feeling in my stomach that made me want to eat raw meat. There was also anxiety I didn’t want to get killed, and I didn’t want any of my men to die neither. Truth be told I was scared, this was the biggest battle I have been in since the First Legions ambush, this was more organized though, and I had time to actually think about what was about to happen. The feeling of fear, and sheer aggression grew to explosive proportions as the force of P’Tah soldiers came into view.

    I felt my mouth start to froth as my centuria formed up behind me, we were an auxiliary of the second cohort, left of the of the first, and on the front of the legion. I HAD TO DO SOMETHING, rampant energy began welling up in my guts, I began shaking and finally it started to leak out. I shouted to the point my vocal cords felt like they were ripping, and I pounded on my shield with a drawn khopesh. My centuria! Followed suit, the cohort we belonged to followed shortly. The enemy Khart warriors were first to charge, charging against the fifth cohort.

    The aegean’s, those P’Tah grown mercenaries, forming the main body of the force charged us, the second, third, and fourth cohorts under a cloud of arrows. “Testudo formation!” I shouted, and in unison my centuria’s shields raised above our heads, except for the first ranks which were used to defend our front. I was gripping my khopesh so tight that my palm was bleeding, the tribune looked at General Bracca for a signal, and when the signal was given, I shouted wildly “CHARGE!” and sprinted toward the enemy. In spite of all of our fervor, our training, and our discipline held us in formation as we in one large mass crashed like a wave into the aegeans, under the tink, tink, tink, rattle, rattle, rattle of arrows raining down on my centurias shields.

    I was screaming like a wild man, my eyes wide after sword met shield. I hooked the crook of my khopesh onto my nearest enemy’s shield and ripped it from his arm, and thrust immediately into his face without mercy, or empathy. Leif had my left, and his spear found purchase into another nearby enemy soldier. We were the tip of the spear so to speak, piercing through the first rank of enemy soldiers, creating a soft spot in their phalanx. After the first thrust, or two every thing became a red haze, I remember screaming incoherently, and slashing wildly at enemy soldiers. But somewhere in my haze I must have been giving orders because as my centuria divided the phalanx, reforming, and forcing the Aegean phalanx parts into their neighboring phalanx’s. The first rank would kill, or knock down enemy soldiers; the second, and third ranks would give subsequent deathblows; and the fourth, and fifth ranks replaced any of my men who might of fallen.

    I heard a horn, not a shepherd’s horn like the one I used, and not the cornu type horn we used. It was the brass horn used by the P’Tah leaders. The Aegean’s began to reform, and General Bracca, held us back. I soon saw why through a clearing red haze. The P’Tah cavalry had began their flanking charge, and somehow my centuria was going to be the first to meet the charge. “SECOND RANK! FORWARD!” I shouted hoarsely, as a the foam erupting from my mouth was tinged a very light pink. Every man with a spear stepped forward, “Hold!” I commanded, through the haze of unintelligible screaming, I grabbed a spear dropped by a fallen comrade, the P’Tah cavalry rumbled closer I could feel the footsteps of the horses shake the ground under me. At the last possible second I shouted “LOWER SPEARS!” The second rank as a unit lowered their spears and stepped on the butts. There was a tremendous shock when a horse, crashed into my spear, one that threw me to the ground with such force that I bounced. Horses screamed, men wailed, and I only hd one direction I could go forward.

    There was more screaming, cries of victory, agonizing wails, shouts of every incarnation around me, from both man and beast. I remember cutting the leg of a horse, cutting the rider down with my khopesh, it sticking into my enemies flesh, and having to press my foot on his chest to remove it. I felt something his me in my side below my lorica, I thrusted, sliced, and cut for what seemed like hours, the rational part of my mind told me that it was only a few minutes but it felt so much longer. Leif always seemed to be on my left, and for a few moments I felt that it was just Leif, the enemy, and myself on the battlefield.

    Then I heard the sound of the cornu horns of the legion, there was nothing else to fight. What ever was left of the P’Tah forces had retreated, I could hear some last vestiges of the battle being fought, but for me there was no one to fight. I was starting to feel whatever unfretted energy that was within me go away, when General Bracca approached me, place a hand on my shoulder, and said “We won.”

    I was still coming down, and I repeated him breathlessly “We won, we won, we won.” I was still holding my khopesh with a beyond tight grip but now I was shaking “we won.”

    The General patted my back and said “Calm down, put your sword away, and breath in and out slowly. We won, and we won thanks to your warnings.” I reached my khopesh behind my back trying to sheath it. It would not find the sheath! I cursed in frustration I could not sheath my sword. Finally I slipped it into my belt, and that’s when I noticed a seeping wound, reaching into it I felt something metal, and pulled out three inches of spearhead, or maybe dagger.

    I was finally breathing in a more normal fashion, and I could feel just how much pain I was in. My side was aching, my hand where it had started bleeding was stinging, I had been punched in the nose making my face feel like it was going to explode, and to top it all off stopping the cavalry charge made my entire body sore. All that became muted, when I started looking to my men. Five were dead, two more were dying, and there were a handful whose lives were miserable, bleeding, and seeping wounds. Every other centuria had similar casualties, and the carnage for the other side was even worse. The desert we fought on was now sloppy, covered in blood. Puddles formed here, and there was a great stench. But the most horrifying was the sound, my men, the people I had ate with not even six hours before were in pain, I was just getting to know some of them. The youngest man in my centuria had lost his shield hand at the wrist. The oldest lost his leg at the thigh, he wouldn’t last more than a few minutes. There was was nothing I could do for any of them. I talked as much as I could to them, but eventually I began vomiting, until I dry heaved not a very good thing in the desert, and I wept for what seemed like hours.

  2. #22
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    jdd2035's Avatar

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    Captain Cain Jodin
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    We buried our dead in shallow graves, by the time we were finished burying them, the vultures, jackals, and hyenas had started eating the rest. We had to move on, I had to move on, people die, that is a fact of war, sometimes it’s the people under you when you are in command, and I was to whatever end that lead.

    I drank my water skin dry, I was still thirsty and my throat was sore beyond belief. I refilled my skin at a nearby cask, and drank it dry again. I had to either become cold, and dead to the world, or I had to separate my duty as a centurion, with my emotions. It would be something I would have to work out on the go. The general called for the legion to form up, we had to continue, we had a fort to retake. We started to march once again, and as we left the battlefield the miserable feeling I felt began to fade with each step.

    As a centurion I had the privilege of riding a horse, and when General Bracca, did his rounds, and check up on his men I took the opportunity to ask “why did you promote me to centurion? There were more qualified legionnaires in the group I lead from the mine. Former first cohorts, and veteran legionaries and the like.”

    The General nodded “I spoke with Leif, while you waited in my tent that first night. He told me about how you freed him, and the rest of the slaves. He also told me about how you lead them across the desert, finally defeating a better armed force before meeting up with us. There are legionnaires that have been in the legion longer, even those in the first cohort. But they didn’t free men, they barely knew, or lead them across the desert. For better or worse you have lead men, they respect you I couldn’t think of anyone better. Keep up the effort and you will make a fine general some day.”

    I didn’t want to be a general but I thanked him for the compliment, and we continued on our way. The day’s went on, and at night I my dreams went from stress filled nightmares back to something more pleasant. It was about a night before Fort Commodus would come into view of the legion when I was summoned to General Bracca’s tent. Stepping in I saluted him, and he returned it, with him were two of his aides, and he asked me to sit down.

    Taking a seat I asked “General Sir, how may I help you?”

    The General took his seat, across from me, and stated “You have said that you have been to Fort Commodus several times, when you were a slave Can you give us details, so that we can plan our segie?”

    I nodded, and smiled eagerly, I had been inside Fort Commodus, several times, I had watched patrols go in, and out of it on a regular basis, I even watched my sheep from knolls, and hills around the fort, and said “I have several maps of the fort in my tent, would you like me to get them?”

    The General shook his head to the negative, “No thank you just what you can tell us from the top of your head. We can go over the maps, in the morning.”

    My smile turned into a grin, “General Sir, Fort Commodus has a very long history. It was originally built by P’Tah, through the use of Terah slaves. Its walls are made of solid blocks of limestone about fifteen feet thick, the walls are twenty feet tall, with thirty foot tall watch towers at the four corners of the fort, with two more towers at the gate house on the north side of the fort one on either side.”

    General Bracca scribbled down the information, and said absent mindedly “naturally.”

    I continued on with my description, “the length, and breadth of the fort isn’t massive, six hundred, by six hundred feet. It is garrisoned, by just over a eight thousand soldiers, mostly Aegean mercenaries, P’Tah captains, and cavalry, and a small contingent of Khart warriors make up the rest. I believe that the enemy forces we faced a few days ago belonged to the garrison. Surrounding the for against the walls is a moat, it’s covered with pitch and oil making any ladder rush an unpleasant affair since they can light it off at any moment. Then farther out, is a clay brick rampart that prevents siege engines from setting up effectively, and also makes anyone within it in range of the forts archers. The fort isn’t actually that hard to take, the problem with it is that it takes long enough to take it for reinforcements to come from Kheb. However, there is a weakness, not a large one, but big enough.”

    General Bracc, and his aides looked up eagerly at me expectantly, which made my mouth my mouth go dry, and I elaborated “On the east side of the fort is a hill, It hasn’t been taken down or fortified because no one see’s it as a threat, as an archer can shoot an arrow from the top of the hill, and at the best arc the arrows don’t hit much higher than halfway up the wall.”

    The General’s aide asked skeptically “How is that a weakness?” The General smirked seeing where I was going with it.

    I answered “If your best archer can fire into the moat from that hill, they can set the pitch, and oil on fire. It’ll burn for days, inundating the inhabitants of the fort with smoke, and heat. It’ll give us cover to set up any siege engines we may have, and prepare a ladder rush.”

    General Bracc grinned “How would you feel about this, tomorrow you will lead your centuria south of the fort with all the supplies you will need to ladder rush the fort from there. My men will light the pitch, and oil off from the east, and set up a siege on the east, and north of the fort drawing their attention. I am assuming they can still see intermittently through the smoke. Then when we ladder rush, from our sides, you, and your men will do the same from the south.”

    I nodded in agreement “This a good idea, I will depart with my men in the morning, after we go over the maps.” The General thanked me, and I went back to my tent to prepare myself for the coming battle.

  3. #23
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    jdd2035's Avatar

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    My side was aching, the medic, an Aegean had packed my wound with boiled down horse urine, and sewed it up with horse hair. I had been given the impression that if it weren’t for the horse urine I would be suffering from a fever by now. The cut was red, and scabbed over but the redness was not very far away from where the cut was. It felt more irritated rather than infected.

    My centuria had parted company with the rest of the legion and started working our way toward the fort in a roundabout way to attack the opposite end of the fort the rest of the legion was going to attack. I looked over my centuria, they had grim, determined faces, and they knew that our goal was drawing near. The siege would begin in the next day or two, the signal for our attack would be when the smoke of the moats fire dissipated.

    I was focused on what I had to do, my first task was to lead my centuria, eighty soldiers, and twenty secondaries to the other side of the fort without alerting the P’Tah forces. My next task was to lead my men over a rampart, across the field carrying ladders, and over a the moat and wall into a meat grinder. The thing about it a legion, and especially one that is going to lay siege to a fortress is that there are no surprise attacks; there is just showing up, and even if things go right doing absolutely nothing for weeks on end, if not longer. If things went wrong reinforcements from Kheb would show up a few days later routing the Legion. What the ladder rush would hopefully do, was to end the siege within a day or two after we got there.

    I lead the centuria through the old shepherd paths, and canyons that I had learned during my time as a slave. About half a day out from our position we saw the black smoke start bellowing from the fortress; the archers must have done their job, and set off the pitch, and oil in the moat. The smoke rose for miles in the sky, and a roar could be heard from even from where we were. All eyes would be on the spectacle.

    We pressed on, I had the last two ranks of my centuria arm themselves with bows, if we were going to be storming a fortress, we would have to fire into the fortress from the wall, or at least that was the plan. We reached our position, scaled the rampart, and watched the moat burn. The flames were red orange, and rose taller than the Forts walls; hundreds of feet away from the fire we could feel the heat. I watched the fire, and sharpened my khopesh as the flames rose, and fell. I didn’t feel hungry, but I knew I had to eat to keep my strength up, what I really wanted though was to attack, and get the siege started, or more specifically end it. Hours went by, I drummed my feet against the sand, and glared at it, and the walls beyond. The fire needed to die down, but no amount of my will would force the fire to die any faster.

    Eventually the fire died down enough to perform the ladder rush. We picked up our ladders, and charged, with our shields over our heads. Arrows rained down, and I heard once again the screams, and moans of the injured, dying and dead. I instantly felt sick, I hated it, the sound, the knowing that someone I potentially ate with an hour before dying, and the necessity of it all; but we had a job to do.

    Leif was right behind me when our ladders were thrown against the wall of the Fort. I took the lead being first up the ladder, with Leif right behind me. As I climbed it was blind my shield held above me as I head the heavy thud of arrows drilling into it. I mounted the wall, and immediately bashed the nearest P’Tah archer. I drew my khopesh from my back, and slashed, the unarmored portion of his leg above the knee. Leif’s spear rushed passed my head, thrusting into the next Aegean mercenary. He nodded at me, and asked “Where do you need me.”

    I nodded back stating “On my left.”

    Leif took position to my left, and we started to form a shield wall. To Leif’s left another legionnaire formed up, and we had a shield wall three abreast pressing forward. Behind us formed up another shield wall lead by Decimus. More of the centuria clambered over the wall, some kneeled down, forming a wall to defend the archers which were now coming up the ladders.

    The rest of the Legion began the attack shortly after we did, they concentrated on the gate with a battering ram, and on either side of the gatehouse ladders were being thrown against the forts wall. In most fights, let alone a battle you don’t remember the details, there are flash of scenes acting, and reacting, of blocking, and thrusting. Most of it is a blurr...

    In the middle of the Fortress, or any settlement there is a trench dug down grade for human waste to flow out of the settlement. The one inside the Fort was filled, absolutely filled to the brim with blood, that was flowing like a creek after a spring rain. The trench was filled with the blood of Aegean, P’Tah, Khart, Imperial, Gallia, and Terah blood, fifteen hundred Imperial legionnaires were dead, or will be soon enough. Leif’s shin, thigh, and arm on his shield side. The wound on my side had reopened, I had a slash along my forearm from a glancing thrust by an enemy. I was hurting again, I was tired, the rush of energy I felt had left me. The smell of sweat, blood, vomit, human waste, and the same thing from animals.

    We had won, I was physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, but we had won. Winning costs lives, but losing would have been even more expensive. As I rested against a wall, and contemplated the events leading up to this very moment, I felt contentment, I had accomplished what I was ordered to do so long ago.

  4. #24
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    Philomel's Avatar

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    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
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    Thread Title: Not For Glory
    Judgment Type: Full Rubric
    Participants: Jdd2035


    Plot: 19/30

    Story- 6/10

    Overall I found your story captivating and incredibly interesting, and you weave a powerful tale together of a man who comes from very little and is determined to find his company. You keep this idea of survival at the forefront, and show how being able to fight manages to get your character to places. Themes aside, the storyline was strong and developed well, though there could have been more done with with actions having consequences later. However, this judge would to have seen some more scenes of everyday life perhaps going on, perhaps even a line of romance within the tale. What you have, however, is a very stable base to build an excellent novel from.


    Setting- 7/10
    You build a great backdrop of the Empire for this story, as well as P'Tah itself. It is a bold, economically sound country that is expressed through your language well. Overall you have a good ability to produce a rich setting, which is made strong with adding in small details such as, “The Empire was currently ruled by Emperor Atticus the Third, who is supposedly kept in check by a weakening Senate.” (post 1). Within Post 1 you successfully give the reader a good description of the layout of the land. More development of the individual settings, such as towns and features – even Abasi's camp - would help you build this stronger.


    Pacing- 6/10

    Pacing is gentle in parts and fast in others, with a change of tempo by using some shorter sentences and paragraphs. In general, though, the development of the story itself is very quick. More time with your character becoming a freed man from Abasi, when he does so in post 9, would be an example. The judge understands that you were writing this for NaNoWriMo, however, so pacing could have been rushed because of the time constraints. Overall adding more detail into the larger stretches of time, such as when Lucas is searching for all his comrades.


    Character: 20/30

    Communication- 6/10

    In terms of communication you have Lucas speaking in a very constant, understandable tone, able to keep his calm in his words. He also is able to negotiate well with others, and you have him use dialogue (such as in post 14) in order to cleverly lie and make his way through some difficult situations. Ways that you could develop from here are experimenting with the style of words he uses – is he more formal sometimes (such as speaking to Abasi and the General) and what kind of curses might he use (for instance, when injured). These could add to character more powerfully.


    Action- 6/10
    Action here was very well thought out and considered. You show knowledge of the actions that a warrior might partake in, and use excellent word choice when discussing the larger actions of the scenes: “in one large mass crashed” from post 21. You also are able to write combat very well, dealing with the blows met and given in a clear, written manner. How you could improve on here is trying to define some more habitual and defining actions of your characters, such as the description of choosing to pick up the scarf, “in case of a sandstorm,” in post 10. This would help to define individual characters a little more.


    Persona- 8/10

    Persona is something you cover incredibly well, and it helps in writing in first person. This, of course, means you cannot successfully cover the thoughts of others, without dialogue, however, even with this disadvantage this is a definite strong point for yourself. The reader can pick up on the desires of Lucas, and is reminded throughout of his strongest want – to be back with his legion. Such posts as 21 have some good use of language to emphasise persona: “I HAD TO DO SOMETHING, rampant energy began welling up in my guts, I began shaking and finally it started to leak out.” If you spread this more evenly throughout your piece you will only get stronger in your writing.


    Prose: 21/30

    Mechanics- 5/10

    In terms of mechanics, there were not many spelling mistakes that were obvious. However, there are some punctuation mistakes. Often when using dialogue you forget to add a comma or full stop between the action and the associated dialogue. For example in post 13: 'Then he hugged me, with a back breaking, rib crushing hug “Thank the gods! Thank you my good friend!”' there should be one of these between 'hug; and 'Thank.' There are also some minor apostrophes missing – such as post 10, where “bellies rest” should be “bellies' rest” at the end of the 's' as the rest is belonging to the bellies. Aside from this you make some good attempt at varying sentence structure.


    Clarity- 8/10
    Clarity is not a serious issue in your piece. You write strong and defining, even in terms of combat. The only times when it was a noticeable problem was when punctuation was missed out (please see Mechanics). Else, everything is written in a strong manner, saying what you want and urging to the point. The judge here was not confused at any moment as to who was speaking or what action was being done.


    Technique- 8/10
    For this section you have a clear understanding of what makes a good text. There are some powerful uses of simile (such as post 1: “he looked me over as a piece of horse flesh on sale”) as well as some onomatopoeia (post 21: “tink, tink, tink, rattle, rattle, rattle of arrows raining down on my centurias shields.”) There was also a heavy use of adjectives that worked well and added detail to the piece overall. In general the judge here thinks that you have an excellent base from which to work from and suggests that you could start experimenting more. Try using extended metaphor and personification.


    Wildcard: 6/10

    Wildcard here goes to writing passion. This is not something that many are able to write well into a piece, but truly is remarkable here. The tone is hopeful and strong and thank you for the read.


    Final Score: 66/100


    Jdd2035 receives:

    3445 EXP!
    305 GP!

    Congratulations!

    If you have any questions Jdd, you can PM me

    Full Rubric paid for by 3 AP from jdd2035 and 2 AP from myself.
    Last edited by Philomel; 01-10-2018 at 12:46 PM.
    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    --
    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.

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