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The Blood of The Fourteenth Legion (standard:adventure, 718 words)
Author: Shadow ScribeAdded: Aug 15 2007Views/Reads: 1781/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
43 AD. A fictional Roman battle in SE Britian through the eyes of centurion Boarus
 



The Blood Of The Fourteenth Legion Shadow Scribe 

Centurion Bourelius and his young optio stood facing their century.
Bourelius silently cursed to himself. Many of the centuries in the 
fourteenth legion had been badly depleted in the last month, they had 
recently received replacements which brought the legion back to 
fighting strength, but to the dismay of Bourelius and the other 
veterans the replacements were mainly fresh recruits from Gaul. As 
Bourelius stared at the ranks of the first century, he observed all the 
young faces that stared worriedly back at him. He noted that no matter 
how hard they tried to conceal it, many of the replacement legionaires 
bore looks of stress. 

Bourelius spun around, facing the same direction as his men and looked
into the distance. Ahead of the legion lay a river that snaked its way 
through the valley, it was about fifteen feet wide, and waist height at 
the deepest point. The Britons had fortified the far bank by the time 
the legion reached the river, a crude rushed palisade had been erected 
at the top of the river bank, and stakes had been driven into the 
ground all the way up the bank. 

Bourelius looked downriver at the long line of soldiers. The first six
cohorts of he legion would cross together and assault the bank in an 
extended line, and the other four cohorts would follow behind them 
awaiting their turn. Bourelius saw a figure riding on horseback down 
along the frontline of the legion confirming that each cohort is ready 
to begin the assault. The centuries further up the line snapped to 
attention and awaited the chief centurion to ride past them. Bourelius 
turned to his men, then adopting his full parade ground voice gave his 
command and brought his century to attention. He then positioned 
himself a pace positioned himself a pace in front of the front rank, 
and his optio followed suit. 

Within a few minutes the chief centurion reached them, his red cloak
swirled behind him in the gentle breeze, The chief centurion reached 
Bourelius, looked down at all the faces opened his mouth and yelled, 
“first man to the palisade will receive a bottle of wine from me, I 
will see you all after!” then with a small nod he turned about and 
galloped back down the line. 

Several seconds later Bourelius and his optio took a step back so they
fell into the first rank, then in a loud voice the centurion yelled 
“First century, advance!” The legionaires began to march slowly 
forwards, holding their shields and throwing spears. A very loud noise 
of chinking armour and stamping feet sounded all the way across the 
plain as the legion advanced together towards to river. They reached 
the river several minutes later; slowly the men waded into the cold 
water, and kept wading. By now many Britons had assembled on the crest 
of the hill behind the palisade and looked down upon the roman army, 
jeering and yelling insults at their enemy. 

Bourelius watched as a mass of Britons ran out from gates in the
palisade and lined the banks, this part was expected. Still the army 
continued to advance, the legionaires were half way across the river, 
when I fully naked tattoo clad Briton yelled something. Immediately all 
the other Britons loaded their slings and began to unleash a hail of 
metal balls at the romans. “Testudo” bellowed Bourelius, and the 
century rapidly changed into ‘tortoise' formation. Those few who were 
unfortunate enough to not raise their shield in time were struck by a 
metal sphere that as Bourelius knew could shatter bones, and uselessly 
crumpled. The showers of metal shot continued, Bourelius cleared his 
throat and boomed loudly to be heard over the clanging of the sling 
shot. “Century, halt!” The century halted and crouched low, by now the 
water was only up to their knees. 

On the Roman side of the bank six balistas were loaded and then began to
provide return fire, after several volleys of ballista fire the 
slingers were driven back up the hill and behind the palisade. The 
balistas fired a final volley at the retreating Britons then stopped. 

“Century, advance!” Bourelius and his men moved out of the testudo
formation and began to continue their advance across the river. 


   


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