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Pax Romana


Motorcycling Paladin
Sep 12, 2003
Long Island, NY
Monarch Level
60% Water
4 Billion years
Standard Sized World
7 Enemy Civs (Random).

Garacius attempted to get the stubborn brush out of the way for the 3rd time, and again wound up on his back. “Damn,” he yelped, quickly sucking his torn hands to quell the sting of his newly ripped palm, and glowered at Kasius who tried hard not to laugh. Struggling back to his feet, the Roman road builder looked backwards over his shoulder to the rest of the crew struggling under the summer sun. In the distance, situated on a low rise of hills, the gleaming walls of Antium guarded the city known as the dye capital of Pax Romana.

Sighing, Garacius turned his attention ahead, scowling at the increasingly forested land his road crew would have to work through in order to bring Antium’s potential trade of dyes to Rome’s demanding Emperor and it’s tremendous, simmering populous. There had already been a recent uprising a few months ago credited to Rome’s angry population and tight living spaces. However, Caesar had it quickly squashed by Scipio’s battalion of spearmen. The heroic company’s rapid return and regarrisonning of the city militia after their skirmish with Visigoth barbarians, made the grumbling people less inclined to complain. That, and the 30 new crosses dotting the hillside.

But before they got to the forests, they would have to finish the road through the scrubland. Offering little native stone and composed of hardy brush and tick infested grasses, Garacius’ road detail had been having limited success. Walking to the tool wagon, the lanky Roman road builder took a long handled wooden shovel from the dwindling pile of tools and attacked the plant that had recently torn his callused palm.

“Garacius, Garacius!” Lowering his shovel, he looked up, and saw one of his crewmen pointing to the low hills to the north. Turning his attention, he noted a small band of men riding horses, dressed in deep red tunics. Smiling, Garacius waved his shovel overhead, signaling to the riders that he had seen them, inviting them to his crew.

“Kasius,” he said, lowering the shovel to the unyielding plains, “I see that great Caesar has finally gotten his hands on horses for the army. I guess the strange dark men to our west accepted the gifts that our taxes had paid for last season.”

Kasius lowered his pick, staring at the growing number of horsemen that rode over the hills, cantering toward the now relaxing work crew. “I’m sure that Caesar’s raising of our taxes had little or nothing to do with the gifts he gave to the western tribes. And they call themselves Zulu.”

“Zulu? What an odd name. Are they descended from Zeus?”

“No? Why ask?”

“Well Rome was founded by Romulus, so I thought that the Zulu were founded by Zeus.”

Kasius laughed. “No, in fact their capital city is called Zimbabwe, so I am not sure where Zulu comes from.” He replaced his pick in the wagon and returned to watching the approaching riders. “Either way, my complaint on the taxes still stands. My sister’s husband was at the senators’ bathhouse last week, and he heard that the Zulu leader flat out refused a trade for his horses.” Seeing that the two leaders of the work crew were no longer working, the rest of the 200 man crew gathered around Garacius and Kasius, trying to get close enough to hear their words as well as rubbing the aches out of their backs and arms.

“Well, however Caesar was able to achieve it, there are our soldiers, and they are mounted on horses.” Garacius pointed at the now large contingent of mounted soldiers.

Scanning the riders, Kasius gave a low whistle. “I’m guessing 8 or 9 hundred men there.” He paused, frowning. “And they seem so sure.”

“Roman soldiers, the best in the world.”

Kasius shook his head, “No, I mean, how did they get so comfortable in the saddle?”

“Excellent training, and sure Roman know-how.”

“Hear, hear!” cried the rest of the road crew, agreeing with Garacius’ patriotic surety. The men broke out clay jugs of wine and wrapped strips of meat in anticipation of sharing their rations with the sure to be hungry approaching horsemen. Most of the men laid their red, sweat soaked shirts on the ground, in an effort to keep their lunch from getting filthy.

Kasius strode to the edge of the encampment, still watching the approaching riders. After a few moments, Garacius joined him, handing his concerned friend his wine jug. After taking a quick pull, Kasius returned it absently. “Wrong. It’s wrong.”

“What is?” Garacius asked.

The mounted troops were now only a few hundred yards away, now riding rapidly towards them, their spears stabbing the air with a thousand bronze points.

“Their clothes.”

“What about them?”

Kasius looked back at the crew and then again at the riders. “The red of their tunics, it’s too dark.”

Garacius gave a snort of laughter. “What! That red is the easiest color, the cheapest, and the one that Caesar himself uses. And besides, those men riding towards us are WEARING RED.” Garacius motioned back to his the crew and then to the riders, paused a moment, and stopped. He looked back a forth twice more, his brows furrowing in concern. “Kasius,” he said slowly, “I think you’re right,” a growing dread filling his voice, “that is a different red.”

The riders were no further than a hundred yards away by this point, the rumbling of their horses’ gait filling the plains. Their commander, a blood red banner waning behind his upright spear, raised a horn to his lips and blew a single piercing blast. A cry rose from the horsemen as they kicked their mounts into a full gallop. As one, the front ranks lowered their spear points to chest height, while the second ranks unfurled woven hemp nets.

“Run!” Garacius cried. “Run for your lives!” Turning, he dashed for the tool wagon, vaulted onto the buckboard, and kicked the handbrake free with his foot. “Hi-ya!” he yelled, snapping the whip at the oxen yoked to the front of the wagon. “Move!” he snapped the whip again. Startled, the lumbering beasts leaned forward, pulling the tool wagon behind them.

Feeling it shake, Garacius turned back to see Kasius and five other Roman workers clamber onto the back of the accelerating vehicle. Behind them, the rest of his crew were scattering as fast as they can. Just beyond, the mounted soldiers were only a few dozen feet from his overwhelmed crew. The oxen began to slow, no longer goaded into running as Garacius watched the unfolding horror of the attack. Kasius leapt over the buckboard. “Give me!” he yelled and took the reins from Garacius’ slackening grip.

With morbid wonder, Garacius watched as the first 200 mounted soldiers crashed into his men. Bronze flashed. The rich metal became stained with blood. Bodies fell, crushed beneath flashing hooves. The cries of dying Romans filled the air. He watched as a stand of twelve Romans stood together, back to back, swinging shovels, picks, and rakes. A horse went down screaming, it’s legs broken. The rider fell and was hacked to death. Then another rider fell, swept off his saddle by a blow to the chest. He grit his teeth, tears running down his cheeks as the next wave of horsemen rode into the knot of Roman defenders. Spears flashed. Chests burst. Men died.

Pulling away from the 3rd line, some forty mounted warriors chased the plodding wagon. Their galloping steeds easily caught up to the fleeing Garacius and company. Before the Roman’s could decide to stop, fight, or continue fleeing, over a dozen throws spears flew out and killed both oxen, stopping the wagon dead. In broken Latin, one of the blood red marauders said, “Surrender! I am Hannibal! The Golden Lion and Scourge of Rome! Giving up or you are being dead!”

Choking back his sobs, Garacius held his arms up, hanging his head low. Seeing defeat on their leader, the rest of his crew followed suit. Bound together, their hands roped behind them, they were led back to the rest of the beaten Romans and their new masters.

Those that weren’t killed were quickly netted and clubbed. Rounding up their newly captured slaves, the warriors from Carthage led their charges back over the northern hills and the road crew was lost to sight. Only the wailing of the enslaved, the cheers of the conquered, and the diminishing cries of the wounded and dying echoed back to people of Antium.
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Haritrium shook his head in disgust. “No, no, no. The bellows have to remain at a steady pace. The fire must remain hot, and yet even throughout the forge.” The younger man, manning the accordian bellows, bowed his head apologetically, and wiped the grimy sweat from his ruddy brow.

“Sorry, Lord Haritrium.”

Already forgetting about the young man, Haritrium grunted and turned his attention back to his forge. “How am I supposed to improve on the bronze armor?” he mused, shuffling the coals around the bed, skimming the ashen ones from the top and sliding them to the detritus trough by his legs. “Why did I take this job? It seemed lucrative, find a way to improve on the armor our soldiers wear, and be paid my weight in gold.” He glanced down to his barrel shaped waist and grinned.

A moment later, his smile fell to a scowl. “But damn it! Too much copper and the bronze becomes soft, too much tin, and the bronze become brittle.” He slid the stone crucible across the coals to the leeward side of the forge, allowing the molten bronze alloy to bleed some of its heat off. “The best I’ve been able to do is completely heat the mixture of both metals, allowing a better flow, resulting in a purer alloy.” Once the crucible cooled, and the molten bronze within began to crust over, Haritrium slid the thick wooden cradle around the stone crucible’s neck, and lifted.

“Veritus, enough with the forge.” The smith demanded. Leaving the bellows, the younger man, Veritus, quickly grabbed a thick leather pad, doused it with water, and ran to help steady Haritrium and his load. Together, the two men brought the crucible over to the spear and sword molds, carefully upended, and allowed the rich bronze to pour into the precarved forms of the legions future arms.

The hot metal hissed and popped as it ran over the cooler stone of the molds, running fast through the channels to fill the sword outlines. When finished, the two men lowered the now empty stone container, and instead, lifted the mold cover off the sawhorses where it sat, and carefully placed it on top of the other half containing the slightly rocking bronze swords. Once the wooden pegs lined up, the top was lowered and then rested flush.

Quickly, Haritrium searched the edges where the two mold met, looking for any sign of leaking bronze. Satisfied that there was none, he motioned to Veritus, “Ok boy, seal the mold, band it tight, and then go home.”

“Yes lord Haritrium.”

The forge master turned away from his younger apprentice and retreated to his workbench. Covered in bits of bronze, brass, copper, tin, gold, silver, and other chunks of metal, there was little room for anything else, but Haritrium still had room for one other item. The rock was large, and deeply flecked with dunnish grey iron deposits. Huge gouges and chisel marks etched its surface.

“Yes, this is the way,” he thought. “Harder and denser than tin, iron would make a better tool and weapon for Lord Ceaser.” Grabbing a wooden mallet, he rapped the ferrous stone in frustration. “But, how am I to harvest the iron properly! It’s too brittle untreated to be chipped off its native rock, there is never enough found in large quantities virgin and unmixed with other metals and stones, and I don’t have enough learned men at my disposal to help me in this matter.”

Haritrium heard Veritus call out goodbye and the door to the forge close, leaving the heavy set smith alone in his shop, the cooling forge still throwing off enough heat to raise sweat on his brow even this far away. “Anyone with any skills in writing and reading, were studying the growing idea of numbers. Bah! As if numbers can protect our soldiers in the field! As if numbers have any secret that we can use! 1, 2, 3, 4, that’s numbers! Why they waste their time see how numbers fit together is ludicrous.” Again, Haritrium had to wipe the sweat from his forehead, frowning as he did so.

“Veritus had the fire burning well tonight. Heaphestus himself would be pleased with his work. Ah, lord of smiths, I ask you now, if there’s something I’m over looking, please give me a sign.” Quickly, Haritrium bowed his head, offering a rapid prayer to his patron god. Wriggling his face, the smith could feel the beads of sweat running across his cheeks and down his nose.

At his prayer’s end, he wiped the moisture from his face with a disgusted snarl. “By the gods,” he swore, “if it was any hotter in here, the stone of the forge itself would sweat!”

Shaking his damp hair from his eyes, Haritrium was about to leave for the night when he stopped. Looking around, he glanced at his desk, and began to laugh. It started as a giggle, then a snort, then a laugh, and finally a bellowing, rocking, deep blowing, guffaw, the mirth bubbling out of his expanded waist, filling the forge and making his eyes tear.

“The stone itself would sweat!” he cried out, laughing the entire time. Running to the door, Haritrium grabbed his faded red cloak, smiled at the iron ore stone on his desk, and dashed out the door and down the road to where Veritus lived, hoping that his apprentice hadn’t gotten ready for bed yet.

No, the night was still young, and the iron would flow. Haritrium grinned, his teeth flashing in the moonlight.

And flowing iron, meant gold in his pocket. “Hail Ceaser,” he muttered under his breath, “and hail me and my riches.” Haritrium ran faster into the night, running towards destiny.
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Scipio grunted, rocking backwards as the heavy bronze spear slammed into his chest, blunted, turned, and shoved him back. His right leg braced himself against the hard packed earth of Rome’s training grounds, preventing him from falling over. His chest ached where the spear had slammed into him, but more with the impact then from any actual torn flesh or sundered muscle.

“Well, does it suffice Centurion?”

Looking down, Scipio noticed that the alchemist’s words were true. Although heavier than his normal bronze cuirass, the dull iron breastplate did indeed turn the spear’s point, saving him from injury and death. The rest of his soldiers watched in awe, as their leader brushed his undamaged chest, stand up, and smile, unhurt from a blow that should have killed him.

“It is as you’ve said, alchemist. The iron does indeed show its superiority over bronze.”

“That’s not all, Centurion,” the alchemist crooned, wiping his bald head with a damp cloth. Motioning to his assistant, the burly young man picked up another spear, this one tipped with an iron head. Carefully he aimed the razor point at the target dummy wearing a bronze breastplate. And then, he struck. With a popping clap, the iron point stabbed through the bronze armor, thrust a hand span deep by the powerful blow of the alchemist’s assistant.

Scipio’s soldiers gave a whistle of approval, clapping their hands rapidly against their chests. After a few seconds of this Scipio held his hand up, motioning for silence. He strode purposefully over to the pierced breastplate, and ran his hand along the puncture. Gripping the spear shaft, he pulled out the iron weapon, surprised to find it come out of the armor at all, to say nothing of it still being sharp and useable.

Turning back, Scipio gave a single nod, bringing a toothy grin the alchemist and his assistant. “Your word is good and true, alchemist. This iron is much superior that the weapons and armor we presently use.”

“As was told to you, Centurion.” The alchemist wiped his head again. “Now, if you find the armor and weapons to your liking, I can have the hundred you require in less than 5 weeks.”

“A thousand. And I want it in 3.”

Blanching, the alchemist stammered, “B-b-but, a thousand? Surely you only sponsor a hundred men.”

Smiling with his lips only, Scipio kept his gaze steely, fixating it on the alchemist’s squinting eyes. “What I sponsor, is a hundred spearmen, true. However, with these weapons, I can command a legion. A thousand men.”

“But you are a Centurion? Only Caesar can appoint you a greater title, or more men.”

“What I am,” Scipio said slowly, signaling his men to quickly surround the alchemist and his apprentice. “is the first Centurion you’ve approached with this armor.” The alchemist’s assistant backed away from the closing circle of bristling spears and hardened men, giving up the iron spear with out complaint. “You were thinking to use the fame of my good name and hard won deeds to soften the sales of your arms and armor to the other Centurion’s.”

Scipio’s men now crowded tightly about the alchemist, causing him to glance wildly around, trying to find any means of escape from his hopeless situation. “You’re mistaken my lord. I was only seeking to…”

Scipio’s hand lashed out, striking the alchemist hard in the throat, causing the frightened man to drop to his knees and cough, struggling to maintain consciousness. “No, I’m quite correct. Haritrium told me of the amount of money that he had owed you, and of the greed that had colored your vision. You should never trust someone you are blackmailing with information that could be used against you.” Sneering, Scipio turned to the assistant. “You, can you make these arms and armors for us?”

Nodding once, the younger man said, “I made these that you saw here.”

“Excellent.” Scipio thrust his finger hard against the alchemist’s temple. “You have squeezed your last lira from Haritrium, me, or anyone else.” Motioning to his sergeant, he said, “Take him to the fields and crucify him.”

Trying to scream through his aching throat, the alchemist squirmed in his captors grip, but was led away, silenced after a blow to his head. Paying him no more mind, Scipio pointed to the assistant, “By the power invested in me from Caesar himself, you are freed from your apprenticeship from you master, becoming master in your own right. I charge you with the creation of a thousand iron breastplates, a thousand spears, and a thousand pilum to be delivered to me in 3 weeks time. You will be paid 1/50th their weight in gold. Do you accept this charge?"

Bowing low to the Centurion, the newly freed alchemist said, “I accept this charge.”

“Then go.” As the alchemist left, Scipio motioned one of his men forward. “Contact the other Centurion’s. Tell them I have something to offer them, something grand, something that will change the face of the world, but they must come and talk with me now.”

“Yes, Centurion.”

“Oh, and another thing,” Scipio added to his soldier. “From now on, if we are to be legion, you will refer to yourself as Legionnaire.”

“Yes, Lord.”

Watching his man go, Scipio smiled. “Carthage,” he mused, “you have made a huge mistake.” He picked up the iron spear, glanced once more at its tip, and thrust it with great finality into the bronze armor, adding a second rent into the damaged breastplate.

“A huge mistake.”
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Carthage came out of the north, snuck attacked me by snagging my unprotected workers (my fault, got over confident), and pillaged the road that was to bring dyes (my 1st luxury) to my cities. I abandoned mathematics (that I had just started on), and force scienced myself to iron working. Carthage came at me a few other times, but did not succeed in whacking a city or snagging another free set of slaves.

Darius held his shield high over his head, making sure that both sides were pressed tightly against Jorus’ and Volthian’s. Gritting his teeth to prevent himself from screaming in fear, he felt the ground beneath his feet rumble as the Carthage army of mounted warriors charged closer to his unit’s position. The air was dark and close, tainted with wet leather, bad breath, and sweat. The sky was hidden behind the Roman shields held aloft.

The clatter of falling arrows rang out from over Darius’ head. The sound of pounding hoof beats echoed closer. The entire unit of Legionnaires was tense, shaking with adrenaline. Darius felt himself begin to get lightheaded. He began to gasp uncontrollably, struggling to suck enough of the fetid air into his lungs.

The tingling sound of arrows stopped suddenly. The Carthaginian cavalry sounded louder in the absence of the metallic rain.


The cry from Darius’ commander snapped the legion to motion. Spear thrust out from between locked shields. Outer ring soldiers braced their shoulders hard against the lacquered iron shields, forcing them into place. 2nd and 3rd ring soldiers shoves their own spears both horizontal and at an angle up from the units center. Other rear legionnaires hurled their pilum and javelin over their comrade’s head, raining pain down on the Carthaginians.

Horse and man smashed into the fortified Roman position. The clash of shod hooves on iron shields were drowned by the high pitched whinnying of wounded horses. Men were thrown from their saddles, hurled onto readied spears. The spear in Darius’ hand snapped, the weight of the Carthage charge breaking against spear, shield, and armor took its toll on his and his fellow legionnaires. Without breaking stride, Darius backed up, allowing a 4th row soldier with an undamaged spear to take his place.

Upon reaching the back of the unit, he was quickly issued a new iron tipped spear from the weapon master, and turned back to further aid his unit. He rapidly scanned the battle, noticing that once again, the Roman Legionnaires had held fast beneath the punishing cavalry attacks. Across the battlefield, he could see other Roman units standing firm.

He frowned; some of the units seemed shy of the thousand men expected. But, with Roman stoicism, the Legionnaires took the whittling of their forces in stride. For every Roman fallen, 3, 4, and even 5 scions of Carthage fell.

Lifting his new spear confidently, Darius grinned as he watched the Carthage charge broken again for the 4th time today. Their trumpets blew loudly, the horsemen were wheeling their troops, trying to retreat from the punishment the Roman’s were dealing out.

The 1st three charges against the Roman Legions had all escaped. Already, Darius could see his comrades breaking rank, racing to pursue the Carthaginians before they were able to prevent a rout. “Not this time,” he thought as he rejoined the melee, the larger view of the battlefield lost to view and drowned under the cries of the enemy’s dying soldiers.

Yelling at the top of their lungs, Darius and the remnants of the 3rd Antium Legionnaires, chased the broken forces of the Carthaginian cavalry, hurling their spears, their hearts, and their hatred at the retreating forces. As one, the Roman multitude lifted their voices and cried, “Vie Victus! Suffering for the Conquered! For Rome!”

When their horses floundered and escape was not possible, the tired beaten men of Carthage turned and surrendered. They expected mercy. They expected rest.

Instead, the Romans fell upon them with fury and death. When it was over, Darius had to use his feet against the corpse’s chest in order to pull his sword free. Covered in blood, cold iron in his hand, and the enemy slaughtered about him, he could not imagine a finer time or place to be.

Cries in the distance of captured Carthaginians, pulled his attention and others to the side. “With luck,” he thought, “we could find enough wood to make crosses.” And with that, Darius ran with his brothers, his comrades, a man in this legion, to bring more misery on their hated foe.
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“My Lord Caesar, what we need is more Legionnaires in the field, not a foolish program of settlement and colonization.”

Caesar rubbed his aching temples, trying to quiet the pounding headache that lurked behind his eyes. “Senator Gracus,” he began, “the concept of settlement and establishment of distant forts and cities is one that is not unknown, nor alien to the citizens of Rome.” Pointing to the large map behind him, Caesar picked off two points, one to east, and one to the west. “Antium, Veii, both were established and settled ages ago from good, hardy citizens of Rome.”

The senator gave a short, disdaining bark. “It’s not a question of precedent, Lord Caesar. We know that all cities in the Roman Empire owe their existence to our citizenry and their desire for land and riches. It’s a matter of timing!” Senator Gracus slapped his open palm across the mahogany table, underscoring his point.

“What timing?”

“We have conquered much of the Carthaginian Empire. Leptus Magna, Hippo, Leptus Minor, all these cities and others are now Roman holdings. They have been baptized in blood and lain down at our feet. Their citizens add monies to our coffers and their sons go to do battle against their cousins.”

Caesar stamped his sandaled foot. “You speak out of place, Senator Gracus. Remember, I am Rome. Me. Every citizen from north to south, east to west, exists at my whim and fancy…” Standing, the Roman emperor leaned into Gracus’ face, “including you.”

Sneering, Gracus backed up a few paces. “Need I remind you Lord Caesar, that without my knowledge of finances, trade, and the other magical arts of mathematics, you would have bankrupted the empire the 3rd month into your little war with Hannibal?”

Caesar snapped his fingers. “That’s what the taxes are for. I would have raised them. My praetorian guard could have easily gotten whatever I needed from the plebeians.”

Gracus nodded, “True Lord Caesar. But that would have meant less freedom for your people, less troops in the field, and even if you were able to somehow do without these, it would have meant less money to pay for the research into alchemy and iron working.”

Caesar frowned.

“Yes, try fighting Hannibal with bronze spears again, and you’ll have another massacre on your hands.”

Caesar paused, digesting this tidbit, then nodded. “Your point is made Gracus, as it was earlier this year. However, I am still looking to send our people to settle the lands west of here. Very west.”

“We have more holdings than we can control now, Lord Caesar. With the addition of Carthage’s provinces to our already huge empire, there aren’t enough troops to police what we have. And you want more?!?!?”

“Gracus, what I want, it to send as many settlers, ingrates, miscreants, troublemakers, and unwanteds out of this city, far to the west, under the leadership of Senator Virconium, and settle the lands there.”

“Explain, please.” Gracus poured himself a cup of wine, and a second for his Lord. The senate leaned in, anxious to hear Caesar’s explanation for his apparent unreasonable decision to foist this exodus of Roman citizenry.

Caesar pointed to the map again, this time, keeping his fingers on Rome and the surrounding land. “Ages ago, our ancestors build this fine city on the banks of the Sanguine River. This waterway has been the lifeblood of our people, feeding us, helping us to grow our crops, offering us the chance to grow.”

“As you know, with the ready availability of this free flowing water, there has been no need to establish wells or aqueducts here. This has led to a constant and unchanging growth in the populous of Rome.”

“We all remember the uprisings last year,” the senators all nodded at this, some of them scowling as they thought of the plebeians running around the streets. Caesar continued, “The fires, the looting. The men that were to make up the 5th Roman Legionnaires had their training disrupted during the riots.”

“As the citizenry of Rome, and the press of the still growing populous threatens us with more violence soon, we have to relieve the pressure as soon as possible. Hence, the exodus.”

Senator Gracus fingered his chin beard, scratching idly at it in thought. “Lord Caesar,” he said, “forgive me for my impertinence. This is indeed a good idea. I second the motion.”

“Here, Here!” came the cry from the remaining Senators.

Caesar sat back down, hoisting his wine high. “So it has been decided. Senator Virconium, prepare your house, your holdings, and your trip. For by winter’s start, you will settle our newest Roman city. Virconium!”
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^ What a rude statement to make.:mad:

I enjoy the story. Keep it up!:goodjob: Got any screenies?;)
@ El Loco.

If you don't want to read it, then don't. Frankly your comment is unwarranted, rude, and obnoxious. I check the views on this thread carefully before addidng another part to the story. When the day comes that I no longer see it increase, then it means that no one is reading it anymore; and I will stop then. Not when some foolish spammer seeks to degrade another individual on an open forum. Go back to eating Cheetoes in your parent's basement hunched over the keyboard in the dark and feeling cool about yourself.

If you cannot act civil on these forums, do the rest of us a favor and not post.

@ Amenhotep (and anyone else who is taking the time to read), thank you for your defense and continued perusal of this thread. Being that this is my first story to be posted here, unfortuneately, I've blown far past this point in the story, so no screenie is available. As I apporach the end of this tale, I will add them to this thread. If I ever decide to do another story, I'll be sure to take screen shots more often and much earlier.

There are so many stories written by differing people, that I try to take the time to read them when I have the time, knowing that it is difficult for most people to show their writings to others. Thanks again to those who have read (and will continue to), and to those who have taken the time out to pen their own tales. Keep it up.

I'll add another chapter tomorrow.

My 2 cents
Hey I know how it is..... lol if it's not someone saying your story sucks. They want screen shots too(like Im going to know my game was going to be good enough to warrent a story) Anyway I like the story so far, keep up the good work.
Myerius swept his gladius hard before him. The Carthaginian spearman leapt back to avoid the blow of the Legionnaires iron sword. Stepping forward, Myerius drove the Carthaginian back again. The spearman thrust his deadly bronze weapon out. Myerius caught it on his shield, turning the blow.

He felt a presence on his right. Side stepping, he arced his sword low at the approaching threat. He felt resistance, then a scream. Taking advantage, the spearman before drove his weapon home again, trying to skewer Myerius’s chest. Not trying to bring his sword back to block, and at an awkward angle to bring his shield to bear, Myerius allowed his instincts to take over.

He fell/hurled himself to the muddy battlefield, throwing his back into the blood soaked ground. His left foot snapped out, smashing the spearman’s knee. As the Carthaginian dropped his spear, clutching his ruined joint in agony, Myerius rolled over his own shield, using his momentum to propel back to a standing position, and swung his sword at his foe’s unprotected flank.

It iron blade chewed halfway through the spearman’s neck. He dropped, dying before he struck the ground. Whirling, Myerius saw that the attacker he struck moments ago was holding his stomach closed, trying to keep his guts from spilling out. The Legionnaire lunged, thrusting the wide blade of his gladius into the wounded man’s chest, felling him immediately.

“Eleven,” he muttered. “Eleven down from me alone.” Lifting his gaze briefly before charging the next dark red wearing defender, he took in the high walls and battlements of Carthage. How many more soldiers does Hannibal have back there?

Mechanically, Myerius waded into the next fight, his sword and shield delivering wounds and blocking blows as his mind spun. Each city we’ve fought, the Carthaginians have gotten tougher and tougher. At first it was the units of horsemen, quick on the attack, but catch them flat footed, and their leather armor was no match for us.

He spun, avoiding a vicious swing from the spearman he was fighting. Leaping forwards, he returned the attack, redoubling his efforts to gain any ground in the melee

But now, these spearmen?!?! Their skin is dark like the men of the Zulu’s, but our neighbors to the west have no love for Hannibal and his men. But their armor and shield have the bearing of the warring tribes of Numidia. He ducked under an overhead blow, striking the spearman’s shield with his own sword, neither able to find a hole to exploit in the other’s defense.

The barbarian tribes pay no homage to Carthage, but apparently, their desire for war and Carthage coins has loosened their pride for whom they'll pay their allegiance to. His thoughts drifting, Myerius’ head rang as the Numidian spearman he was fighting quickly reversed the swing of his long spear, catching the distracted Legionnaire on his flanged helm. He felt the agonizing pressure as the iron helmet dented from the blow, pressing the now tight helm to his temple. The chinstrap dug cruelly into his flesh. Waving his shield wildly in front of him, Myerius back-peddled rapidly. Fire drew along his leg as the Mercenary scored a painful hit there. Blinking wildly, Myerius was unable to clear the blackness that had filled his vision.

His back came up hard against someone else. Unable to tell if friend or foe, Myerius grit his teeth, tensing for the blow that was sure to come. Instead, he felt something whistle past his still aching head. A moment later, a hand was fumbling at his chinstrap, and his helm was lifted away.

The pain faded quickly, and his vision cleared. Recognizing a fellow Legionnaire, Myerius said, “Thanks, Erimun.” Taking his helm back, Myerius gave a low whistle, noting the right side of the iron helmet had a dent large enough to place his palm in. Looking behind him, the Numidian Mercenary lay sprawled on the ground, his throat laid open and his eyes blank. “Thanks again.”

Erimun gave a grunt, hefted his gladius, and stormed back into the melee. Looking once more at his battered headware, Myerius cast the damaged armor aside and joined Erimun in search for more enemies to attack. Enemies under the looming walls of Carthage.
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Kolthus was unable to close his eyes. The bright sun shone down upon his dying form. He no longer felt the ache from his severed leg. The spear point in his shoulder remained lodged there, punishment from the Numidian scum that stabbed him just moments ago. The same Carthaginian miscreant that severed his leg.

The same bastard who left him to die.

Kolthus heard the sounds of the battle echo around him. The walls of Carthage rose high above his head. For 2 weeks, the Roman elite had thrown their weight against the indomitable walls of the Carthaginians home city. His unit was ordered forward. Forward they went.

And just shy of the walls, Carthage sent it's warriors into the fields.

Kolthus could tell that this sortie was ending quick. On the attack, the Mercenaries were no match for the iron clad hardened Legionnaires. He grimaced. Except for himself. Other Roman's had to have fallen in this battle, but Kolthus could see them not.

The Roman chants of victory echoed across the battlefield, and the last of the Numidians were cut down. The call to regroup was given. Kolthus looked around him, seeing Romans run past his fallen form. He didn't fault them for not stopping, for he didn't either when he was given orders.

Like the order to march on Carthage. The order that found him now, broken and dying on the ground.

Orders. The call to regroup finished, Kolthus heard Scipio, general of Caesar's Legionnaires, give the order to march on Carthage. The cry was carried by the other centurians until it filled the broken lands before Carthage's gates.

Kolthus heard the creak of the battering ram as it was brought into position, and then the order, "Charge!". Adrenaline ran through the fallen Legionnaire, almost spurring him to rise, until he remembered his missing leg.

And then, he heard it, a cry from within the walls of Carthage. Faintly, but distinctly, he heard, "Fire!". Looking up, a wave of arm length, black fletched arrows arced over the tall battlements of Carthage, angled downward, and fell upon the charging Legions.

Kolthus watched the bronze and stone tipped shafts ring off shields, armor, helm. He watched them tear past his brothers' defenses, dropping Roman soldiers to the ground. Before the Legionnaires had even reached the walls, one in four lay either wounded or dying.

Kolthus felt a punch hit his chest. His vision seemed strange, split somehow. Focusing, he noticed a shaft sticking out of his breastplate. "Strange?" he muttered, surprised at the taste of blood in his mouth. He looked past the shaft to see Carthage horsemen ride out of the city gates, charging into the demoralized Legionnaires. He felt sweaty, tired and light. He tried to see if his Legion was able to fight this newest threat, but seemed too weak to lift his body.

And then he saw no more.
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Good story...keep writing.

I don't know how many units of legionnaires I threw at Carthage. I toppled his other cities easy enough, but he had 2 or 3 bowmen in the wall, at least 2 horsemen, and 3 fricking Numidian Mercenaries, that I could red line, but never kill. At this point I was still rapidly studying Mathematics, settler factorying bodies to fill in the unclaimed property hole to the west to keep the Zulu's from building there, and throwing everything I had into holding and solidifying my grasp on Carthage lands. Without catapults, smacking the city was painful at best. And still no army in sight. Or at least until the next chapter. And then it was a whole different battle.

Larger picture, past the Zulu's were the Iriquois and somewhere nearby are the Egyptians, although, due to my conflict with Carthage, I'm not really exploring much at this point.

The warbling cry echoed over the battered landscape as Carthage mounted troops once again took to the field. Their commander blew repeatedly into his ram’s horn, spurring his troops into a fierce gallop, while to his right, the Carthaginian standard-bearer proudly held his trophy pole aloft.

Scipio grimaced. “Klydius, it’s Monturna’s Brigade again.”

Scipio’s adjunct wearily raised his tired head, taking in the distant enemy troops racing toward the battered Legionnaire’s position. “Damn it, Scipio!” he swore. “I thought we killed that bastard and his brigade 2 weeks ago.”

The general of Rome’s finest legions shook his head sadly. “Apparently not my friend.” He paused, quickly counting the multitude of charging horses and riders. “It appears his wounded are healed, and new troops have filled in the holes of his ranks.”

“What, another thousand horsemen?” Klydius smacked the iron triangle at his side, calling the 1st Roman Legionnaires to form ranks. “I hate to say it Scipio, too many of our men are still wounded from our last attack. We’re at 2/5th strength, maybe half if some of the walking wounded can lean on each other.”

The distant city of Carthage seemed to both beckon and taunt Scipio. Its lower walls were mounded with the dead, their rocks blood splattered and burned. The battlements stood, gaping holes in their defense, lacking the manpower to fully guard the proud city, but more than capable of turning the Legions of Rome time and time again. Raising his helm, Scipio shoved it onto his head, snapping the chinstrap closed without paying attention.

Around him, his tired soldiers formed lines, their complaints dead on their lips, unwilling to show weakness or fatigue to their comrades, their general, or their enemy. Shields were raised, spears set, swords drawn. Scipio was proud; these warriors had survived many battles, against tall odds. Their skills were fully honed, their prowess unmatched. His elite troopers’ only enemy that they could not defeat was fatigue; the slow grinding effect it was having on morale and health.

Monturna’s Brigade rode closer, the warbling bleat of their trumpet announcing their charge to the now ready Legionnaires. “Romans!” cried Scipio, holding his pilum aloft. In unison, the 1st 2 ranks of his troopers followed suit, 200 iron tipped javelins pierced the air. Scipio waited, watching Monturna’s riders close to less than 80 feet.

“Release!” The Roman pilum lurched into the air. “Form up! Shields!” As the javelins tipped down and landed amongst the horseman, the 1st ranks of Romans had locked their shields together, with the 2nd rank turtling atop them. Spears bristled from the tight formation.

Carthage soldiers were knocked from their mounts, and others found their shields useless, the iron pilum lodged in the wooden frames, dragging the shields down with the added weight. The charge lost some of its momentum, but thundered on.

50 feet. 30. 5. Monturna’s Brigade smashed into the fortified Roman position. Spears were swept aside. Horses floundered. Roman soldiers in the 1st ranks were trampled under the flashing hooves, but surged upwards and together, stopping the Carthage charge dead. Mounted warriors found themselves struggling to control unsure-footed beasts. Most were dumped from their saddle.

As the Carthage advance was stopped, Scipio drew his gladius and cried, “Right flank roll!” 100 Legionnaires from the back ranks shifted forward along the right side of the stalled position of the Carthaginian forces. Each warrior struck out with their spear, forcing the horsemen to roll back against the main unit, pressing the already chaotic mass of horse and man into bedlam. Meanwhile, the Roman center sagged inward, drawing more of the Carthage warriors into a position with no way out.

Scipio lunged forward, burying his sword to the hilt in a Carthaginian soldier’s chest. Growling, he tore his blade free from the bubbling wound, spraying crimson droplets in an arc around him. Slicing down, he lopped off the hand of another enemy, and then followed up with a disemboweling blow as the horrified soldier stood in shock.

“Forward! Vie Victus!” Scipio’s cry was picked up by his Legionnaires. Taking heart from their general’s fury, they ripped into Carthage’s finest. Knots of horsemen remained mounted, dealing punishing blows from the height of their mounts, but the surging battle forced these pockets of horsemen further and further apart.

Spotting the standard bearer of Monturna’s Brigade, Scipio waved at the distant flag, adorned with the fallen banners of past Roman Legions and yelled to his soldiers, “Take it down!” Without waiting, Scipio charged the enemy’s standard.

He ducked the wild swing of a Carthaginian spear. Chopping crosswise, he split the offending weapon in half, sending the bronze spearhead flying. His soldiers bore the warrior to the ground, tearing into his body. Twice more, Carthage soldiers tried to stop the enraged general. The 1st was dispatched with a shield blow to the throat. Scipio killed the 2nd after a brief sword fight of 4 swings, ending with his gladius lodged in the other’s skull.

Forced to leave his blade, he ran harder, scooping up a fallen bronze sword from the muddy ground. Seeing his prize close, Scipio vaulted into the saddle of an abandoned steed, and slapped the animal’s flanks with the flat of his new sword. Frightened, the animal took off at a gallop. Scipio kept its head turned toward the largest group of Carthage soldiers. Leaning low over the horse’s neck, he brought his feet up under his own body, astride the animal’s heaving back.

When close enough, Scipio leapt from his wild horse and threw himself into the Carthaginian standard bearer. The surprised soldier was carried to the ground. As his back hit the earth, Scipio buried the sword into the man’s chest, twisting the blade once. A cheer went up from the Legionnaires as the standard of Monturna’s Brigade wobbled and then fell.

Rising, Scipio yelled out, “Surrender now!” Covered in Carthage blood, a gore soaked sword in one hand, the fallen standard pole in the other, and hate burning in his haggard face, Scipio’s very stance dared the Carthaginian horsemen to attempt to continue fighting.

Monturna rode up to the furious Roman commander. He looked down at his enemy, dismounting slowly. Scipio’s arm tensed, the sword in his grasp shaking. Monturna held his own blade out before him. In front of the walls of Carthage, the remaining horsemen that still lived, and the bulk of Scipio’s Legionnaires, Monturna let his blade fall.

“General,” the beaten commander began, his voice pitched low so only Scipio could hear him. “I ask that you spare my soldiers. Kill me in their place. I ask from one commander to another.” He bowed his head, waiting Scipio’s decision.

He never heard it. All he felt was a flash of pain at his neck and then as consciousness ended, the splash of mud on his severed head.

Turning from the decapitated body, Scipio looked at his eager troops and the beaten men of Carthage, shocked at the immediate death of their leader. Scipio grinned. “Vie Victus!” he yelled. “Kill them all!”

With a cheer for their glorious commander, the ravenous Romans quickly took down the surprised warriors. Swords chopped, spears stabbed, and by the time the sun was in the western sky, crosses were erected in the fields outside Carthage. 83 crosses, each with a screaming soldier from Monturna’s Brigade nailed to them.

Scipio stood in front of the crosses, facing the walls of Carthage and the wailing citizens hiding within. The standard of Monturna was slung over his shoulder. Except this time, his banner flew atop the long pole. Already riders were racing back to Rome, telling all who would listen of Scipio’s deeds and the glory he bestowed upon his homeland.

Scipio smiled, thinking wildly of the things he could do now. For he knew that before this week was out, it wouldn’t just be a Legion under his command…

It would be the entire army.
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“It’s sorcery I tell you, Myelus. Pure and simple!” Ioral gave the rope he was tying a final tug, satisfied that the knot was firmly set and in place.

Myelus sighed. “No, you foolish twit. It’s simple math.” The rotund engineer checked the tension on the massive catapult for the 8th time in the last 10 minutes, happily noting that none of the ropes showed any sign of wear or slackening.

“Bah! Math. Magic. It’s all the same. I still don’t understand how you knew how many ropes you were going to need, not to say the least with how large the hole in your magic machine had to be to fit those ropes through them.”

“A catapult. Catapult. From the word Peulta – to hurl. Zeus’ Boils! You sound like an uneducated peon when you talk of magic.

Ioral clambered off Myelus’ machine, taking in it tremendous size. Weighing in at over 4 tons, the massive war engine towered 40’ into the air and had a ground footprint easily half again that size square. 200 layers of tightly wound gut and sinew rope made up each side of huge tension bands. A pair of 18’ long hurling arms were locked into place, forced forward by the tremendous pressure of the ropes.

Ioral walked over to base of the machine, running his hand down the grooved track they had carved along the firing line. A 300 lb rounded boulder sat there, the mesh-firing sling sitting limply around the potential missile. He gave a whistle. “Call it what you want, but if you can actually send this rock flying, it’s got to be magic. Vulcan’s hammer couldn’t budge this stone, but you’re going to send it up like a spear?!”

Myelus swung his heavy frame off the tension block, shimmying his way to the safety of solid ground. “Haven’t you been helping me with this for the last 5 months? You’ve seen my plans, my drawings, my calculations.”

“But that was on paper. THIS is real!”

“Paper or not, I haven’t invested my time and energy into this project to watch it fail. My reputation is riding on this. If this doesn’t work, Draxium, Caesar’s science advisor, is going to find me a nice hill to be crucified on.”

Grabbing a free end of the mesh sling around the boulder, Myelus said, “Instead of gawking and drooling, grab the other side and help me set this into the firing hooks.” Ioral grabbed the other side and together, the two men stretched the limp folds of the net out until its ends were looped into the metal hooks set on the ends of the throwing arms. Climbing back down, Myelus checked to make sure that the firing pin was still set, preventing the catapult from accidentally going off.

Ioral looked concerned. “Myelus? How far is this stone supposed to go?”

Pulling out his battered parchment scroll from the inside of his red toga, the engineer squinted down at his cramped writings. “4, no 5 . . . carry the 8 . . . yes. Yes. At 300 lbs. . . um, it should send the stone some 250 to 300 feet.”

“That’s something I’d like to see.”

Both Myelus and Ioral jumped at the unexpected voice coming from behind them. Turning, Myelus looked ill. “Draxium! My lord. What are you doing here?”

Draxium and his retinue of half a dozen scholars and another half dozen of Caesar’s praetorian guard strode up to the nervous engineer.

“He’s here because he has not been able to stop talking about what you have building out here and how it’s going to change the world.”

If Draxium, his acolytes, and the royal guard were not enough to spook Myelus, seeing Caesar himself round the workshop and address him was enough to send him into an apoplectic fit.

“Hail Caesar!” Both Myelus and Ioral snapped their arms out in honor of their lord.

Waving quickly to forestall any more abasing, the Roman despot thrust his chin at the humongous catapult behind them. “I’ve come all this way to see this thing in action. I’ve put off the review of the 9th Roman Legionnaires, the cries of overcrowding from the peoples, the pleading and machinations of the senate, the plans for the eastern city granaries, and my own early dinner, so let’s cut to the chase.”

Caesar walked up to the catapult’s base, noting the construction of the war machine. “Draxium has been funding you and your project, against the concerns of my minister of trade who constantly cries poverty.” He turned, striding to within half a step from Myelus. “I have heard nothing but praise from Draxium on this project. The new order he calls it. The use of math and science to better our people, instead of arms and prayers.” Caesar closed the last of the distance, leaning down to Myelus and whispered into the frightened engineer’s ear, “I expect to be impressed.”

Stepping away, Caesar rejoined his group and waved at the stunned man. “Show me.”

Myelus regained his composure with a long ragged breath. Nodding to Ioral, the two men gave the catapult a final once over. When finished, they returned to the firing pin and carefully removed the safety block they had placed there.

Once free, Ioral backed away, leaving the engineer alone with his creation. Myelus laid his shaking hand on the trigger bar. “Men,” he said, his voice cracking with fear and excitement, “Scholars, and my Lord.” He braced himself, pulling the trigger slowly away from the machine. “I give you, the catapult, and the glorious future of Rome.”

He pulled back, firing the great catapult.

The lynch pin attached to the trigger slid away and underneath from the harness ropes. Once freed, the tension wound firing arms snapped forward. The tension bands gave a groan as the entire catapult flexed. Both firing arms hit the frame of the tension housing with a great swatting sound.

A high-pitched hum sang out as the net wrapped boulder was hurled from the guide tracks. The rounded boulder sailed up, up, up, arcing ever higher into the sky. Its rise slowed, leveled out, and gently began to come down. It seemed to gather speed as it fell to the earth, falling faster and faster. In the distance, set up in a line out from the catapult, colored flags were positioned every 20 feet.

The mighty boulder fell out of the sky, smashed one of the poles to splinters, and plowed into the earth with enough force to shake the ground beneath the spectator’s feet. The hurled boulder bounced out of its position and lunged forward another dozen or so paces. A 2nd bounce sent it further still, and then the great stone hit a softer ground and stopped it wild trip.

Myelus was quiet. He counted off the flags, checked his notes, and took an educated guess at the maximum height the stone had reached during its flight. “10, 20, 25 . . . Yes! 230 feet. Caesar, 230 feet and easily 90 to 105 feet at it’s highest point. More than enough to top the walls of Carthage. Caesar. My lord? Caesar? Draxium?”

Myelus turned. The entire group, Ioral, Caesar, the guards, everyone, was staring open mouthed and in shock at Myelus’ catapult and the distant boulder it had just fired.

“Lord Caesar? Is everything alright? Have I displeased you in some fashion?” Sweat broke out on his brow as thoughts of crucifixion ran through his mind. “My lord, forgive me. I wasn’t expecting anyone to be here to see it actually fire. I was expecting a few shots without an audience to fine tune the machine.”

Caesar held up a hand, stopping Myelus’ tirade. Slowly, he turned his palm up gesture to a pointing action, his finger unerringly directed at the rotund engineer. Myelus tried to swallow around the lump that had formed in his throat.

“You. . . ,” said Caesar, slowly drawing the word out. “Have more than impressed me. Draxium!” he commanded, his science advisor came quickly to attention. “I want this man to be given a contingent of slaves, artisans, and carpenters. Give him his weight in gold, and give his apprentice here one tenth that amount.”

“And you,” once more Caesar turned his attention back to the relieved and surprised Myelus. “You, I commission you to make me a half dozen of these. As soon as you can get them finished.”

Caesar walked up to the catapult, lovingly running his hand over its thick frame. “In the mean time, load this once more and let me see it fire again.”
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“Run for your lives!”

Numidian Mercenaries ran from the doomed walls of Carthage. The city’s valiant archers struggled to fire another enough volleys into the packed mass of Roman Legionnaires outside the cities gates. In rapid succession, the hurled boulders from the Roman war machines smashed into the battlements of the besieged capital, sending the defenders scattering.

One of the flying stones skipped over the crenellations, shattering the stonework. It plowed through the massed bodies, scattering their broken forms like blown leaves. Another missile arced out of the sky, smashing through the roof of the Temple of the Evening Star. The cries of the huddled masses praying within were drowned by the sounds of the building collapsing upon them.

Fires were springing up around the city as the citizens ransacked their own buildings, struggling to gather their belongings and flee from the Roman attackers. Lanterns were upset, flames spread. A mass exodus of wailing people were winding their way to the north end of the city, bottlenecking against the narrow gates their.

Once through, the citizens of Carthage ran for the docks and the sea, attempting to fine succor in that direction. Unfortunately, Scipio had planned for this eventuality and the 1st and 2nd Virconium Legionnaires came out from the surrounding hillsides. Swords rose and fell. The few beleaguered defenders that Hannibal had sent to guard his fleeing citizens were mowed down, cut to pieces from the Roman attackers. Once the last of the spearmen had fallen, the Legionnaires turned their fury to the refugees. Men, women, children, the old, the young, infirm and healthy, all were slain without abandon by the bloodthirsty marauders.

The 2 legions hacked their way through the packed citizenry, working their way to the gates of Carthage. Seeing the murderous glint in the Roman’s eyes, the defenders of Carthage’s northern gates dropped the portcullis, cutting off the retreating citizens from the relative safety of the city walls. Before the Legionnaires could reach the downed gates, the guards within dropped the second barrier and shut the heavy wooden doors as well, blocking the sights of their brothers and sisters being torn asunder by Roman blades.

Another series of blows from the Roman catapults slammed into the capital. This time, 2 well placed missiles hit the housing over the main southern gate. Already tortured and weakened, the entire stone gatehouse and winches collapsed backwards into the city. A great cry went up through Scipio’s Army and as one, the mass of three thousand elite troopers stormed the broken walls. The 1st set of defenders, doughty, yet tired spearmen from Numidia, raised a valiant defense against their attackers. However, overwhelmed at 6 to 1, they could only delay the warriors of Rome for so long.

A 2nd set of mercenaries were called to the city’s defense, but the Legionnaires had already established a firm position inside the gates and entrance of the capital. Mounted warriors formed up, lowered their spears and charged the Roman invaders. Before they had closed more than half the distance, a stray missile flew over the broken gateway and smashed down into the packed cavalry. Men and steeds lay scattered about, their bodies broken and twisted. Their charge in disarray, the greybeards from the 2nd Veii Warriors Company fell upon the burdened horsemen. Axes and staves slammed into the cavalrymen, the elders from Rome’s fighting elite and former days, once again bending their arms for the defense and glory of their homeland.

Comfortable that the gates were held, Scipio ordered his legions forward. Iron clad Romans spread out, taking the streets of Carthage by sword and spear point. Block by block, the defense of Carthage was forced backwards. Stubborn areas of resistance were pelted by catapult fire and set ablaze, any found fleeing the area were cut down by Legionnaires.

At the granaries, the conquest of the city came to a halt. A double line of archers, fortified behind makeshift barriers and defended by wildly screaming Numidian mercenaries, fired arrow after arrow into the approaching Romans. The rigid thoroughfares denied the Legionnaires any cover. Still bogged down at the western end of the city, Scipio was unable to bring his army or his expertise to this stubborn knot of Carthaginians. Out of range of the catapults, and the streets too narrow to wheel the great machines through, the defenders were safe from missile fire.

Pompeii ordered the 6th Rome Legionnaires under his command to form up a turtle formation. Quickly, shields were raised and set, their edges interlevened against each other. The mass of Roman Legionnaires were split into 3 forces of 330 men each. Pointing, Pompeii directed each “turtle” of men down the 3 main avenues toward the granaries. Satisfied that his orders could be carried out by his centurions, Pompeii took the remaining 10 soldiers with him and crawled into the sewers. Counting his steps, the daring legionnaire snuck under the defenders position and into the basement of the Granary.

Once inside, they rapidly climbed to the main floor. They locked and braced the doors from within and raced to the 2nd and 3 story grain houses. On Pompeii’s command, the chute doors were opened, spilling the building’s interior onto the fortified troopers below. Surprised, the Carthaginian archers’ fire faded as they struggled to get clear of the choking grain. On seeing this, the 6th Roman Legionnaires took advantage of the lull and stormed the grain silo. The battle for the granary was over in 10 minutes, with Pompeii emerging victoriously with his strike force.

The battles for Carthage’s freedom ended as Scipio’s army and the remainder of Rome’s might turned their attention to Hannibal’s palace. Standing 4 stories tall, gilded in gold and highlighted in alabaster, the glorious building known the world over as the Den of the Golden Lion was set ablaze and its treasures plundered. Harem girls were dragged out and thrown to the wild men of Rome as prize. Hannibal’s military and foreign advisors, both unable to flee along with their Lord earlier that day, were dragged through the streets and hung from the walls, their bodies mutilated beyond recognition.

Paintings were slashed, sculptures were shattered, tapestries were burned. The glory of Carthage was fed to the fires, a black column of smoke rising into the sky. A search of the city revealed no presence of Hannibal or the rest of his retinue. Captured nobles traded information for their lives, telling of the Lion of Carthage’s escape earlier. Undaunted, the Romans had a hundred crucifixes drawn up and positioned in the fields outside the city. By the following morning, not a cross was empty.

Another hundred crosses were ordered to be built. Leaving 5 companies of Legionnaires behind to hold the peace, Scipio took his army, the Roman Catapults, and the remaining healthy companies of Legionnaires to the northwest in a mad race to capture Hannibal before he could find succor in another Carthaginian stronghold.

Prior to his leaving, Scipio gave the order to his garrisoning troops that any citizen found resisting or fostering a revolt, was to be taken to the fields to be crucified, their families to be enslaved.

And every day, for weeks on end, the garrisoning Roman forces added another row of crosses to the fields until the citizens of Carthage, tired of their brothers and children being killed, turned over the rebel leaders to the authorities. The consortium of 5 resistors were tried and convicted under military law and sentenced to beheading.

By the time Caesar came to Carthage to dedicate the building of the Temple of Zeus on the former site of Hannibal’s palace, he was cheered by the people of Carthage as their leader, without the threat of violence to bring them to the streets.

The subjugation of Carthage was over.
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