Rome: Total War.
This chapter starts off with the two brothers in the snow sitting near the trees as one of them slowly loses hope.
The Cold Road to Glory:
Chapter One: Waiting and Freezing
It was a cold, cold night for us legionnaires especially since it was snowing in the middle of winter up here in Central Gaul. The other troops seemed to be shivering in the cold snow near the weak camp fire, while the superior officers enjoyed themselves in the tents. Life was hard for us, as soldiers and as human beings; we lost half our legions in the past few months when we had conquered all of the tribes, villages and hordes nearby; now we're just freezing our selves to death ever since our general died in battle last week.
"Valerius, I've just heard news that Captain Placus Silanus Furius is taking over command, and we're heading north for our last campaign against the Valontia Tribe then we'll finally be back to our homes in Arretium!" My brother, a fellow legionnaire, told me this as I was beginning to lose hope.
"At least we'll be able to leave this frozen hell, Decius how far off, is the Valontia Tribe?" I asked.
"About 20 miles north of here, we'll be able to make it there by tomorrow night." He replied.
"Hmm… just don't die on me during our last battle. We've already lost half our cohort." I said.
"Don't worry; I'm a veteran as much as you are; besides our remaining 60 legionnaires is enough to defeat some worthless barbarians such as the Valontia Tribe." He arrogantly said.
"Don't underestimate the Gauls, that's what cost us so many soldiers during our campaign from Arminium all the way here in Central Gaul." I said in counter to his arrogance.
He laughed. "You shouldn't praise the enemy; you might become one or worse, lose to one."
"Decius, I've fought against chosen swordsmen, naked fanatics, spearmen and even falxmen; not to mention being chased by wardogs, being bombarded with flaming arrows and javelins, then being charged by cavalry units. I wouldn't be scared or even think about defeat after so much battle scars I've earned in our campaigns." I said with my sense of pride.
He laughed again. "Well, let's see if those battle scars will do any good in the next few weeks."
"Get to sleep soldiers! Tomorrow we head forth to Valontia Head Village." A superior officer yelled.
It seemed to be an hour before sunrise when our new commander woke the legions up and ordered us to march north. Our army was called "Gallic Legios VIII", it comprised of 6 legionary cohorts, 4 legionary first cohorts, 4 cavalry wings, 2 onager units, and 4 auxilias (archer, soldier and light). My brother and I were in the 2nd legionary first cohorts marching in the early winter of 92 B.C. Food was scarce, the cold air wasn't helping and every other day we were ambushed by a horde of thieves. Some say this would be a living a nightmare, but I think it's just another day to die in glory.
"Tomorrow's our last day before we finally head back home, I can't wait to taste my wife's cooking again and being able to see my kids after all these years in this campaign and the ones before as well. I can't believe we've fought and survived the Carthaginians, the Spanish, the Dacians and now the Gauls." He said while marching next to me and reminiscing.
"Yeah, I'm gonna miss holding my gladius, my red shield, and wearing my blood-soaked lorica segmenta" I said.
"Let's celebrate and get wasted after our triumph in Rome and at our houses in Arretium." He said with excitement.
I laughed. I reminded myself of our days as kids dreaming to fight alongside the legions and winning victories for Rome. Now I look at myself, my dream has almost been completed, not only that, I'm a first legionary cohort at the age of 37. We became first legion after our double campaign in Spain fighting the Carthaginians and Spanish, when I turned 29 and my brother 27. This would count as illegal, but our legion (2nd Legion Cohort IV, at the time) proved to be more than enough qualified.
Then as the legions marched on the snowy road between two large groups of trees, we heard a loud, unnerving noise, it sounded familiar and impending.
"What the hell is that noise?" Decius asked seemingly irritated.
"A warcry…" I said.
Hope you enjoyed it... sorta.
Here's some RTW vocabulary: Gladius short roman sword used for stabbing, used by soldiers, guards, etc. Lorica Segmenta legionnaire armor. Onagers literally meaning donkey, because of the kick it gives; it's basically a catapult. Auxilias foreign soldiers used to support the legions; usually armed with chainmail and a spear.