Read Marius' Mules VI: Caesar's Vow Online

Authors: S.J.A. Turney

Tags: #army, #Vercingetorix, #roman, #Caesar, #Rome, #Gaul, #Legions

Marius' Mules VI: Caesar's Vow

BOOK: Marius' Mules VI: Caesar's Vow
ads

 

 

 

Marius’ Mules VI:

Caesar’s Vow

 

 

 

by S. J. A. Turney

 

1st Edition

 

 

“Marius’ Mules: nickname acquired by the legions after the general Marius made it standard practice for the soldier to carry all of his kit about his person.”

 

 

For Dave & Lisa.

 

 

 

 

 

I would like to thank those people instrumental in bringing Marius' Mules 6 to fruition and making it the book it is. Jenny and Lilian for their initial editing, Tracey for support, love and a steady stream of bacon sandwiches. Leni, Barry, Paul, Robin, Glynn, Alun, Neil & Stu for their beta reading and catching a few eye-watering bloopers – you saved me some real trouble there.

 

Thanks also to Garry, Paul and Dave for the cover work. Prue, Gordon, Robin, Nick, Kate, Mike and innumerable other fab folk for their support.

 

 

 

Cover photos courtesy of Paul and Garry of the Deva Victrix Legio XX. Visit http://www.romantoursuk.com/ to see their excellent work.

 

Cover design by Dave Slaney.

 

Many thanks to all three for their skill and generosity.

 

All internal maps are copyright the author of this work.

 

 

Published in this format 2014 by Victrix Books

 

Copyright - S.J.A. Turney

 

First Edition

 

 

The author asserts the moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

 

All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior consent of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

 

Also by S. J. A. Turney:

 

Continuing the Marius' Mules Series

Marius’ Mules I: The Invasion of Gaul (2009)

Marius’ Mules II: The Belgae (2010)

Marius’ Mules III: Gallia Invicta (2011)

Marius’ Mules IV: Conspiracy of Eagles (2012)

Marius’ Mules V: Hades’ Gate (2013)

 

The Ottoman Cycle

The Thief's Tale (2013)

The Priest's Tale (2013)

 

Tales of the Empire

Interregnum (2009)

Ironroot (2010)

Dark Empress (2011)

 

Short story compilations & contributions:

Tales of Ancient Rome vol. 1 - S.J.A. Turney (2011)

Tortured Hearts vol 1 - Various (2012)

Tortured Hearts vol 2 - Various (2012)

Temporal Tales - Various (2013)

 

For more information visit http://www.sjaturney.co.uk/

or http://www.facebook.com/SJATurney

or follow Simon on Twitter @SJATurney

 

Dramatis Personae

 

For ease of reference, the most commonly used name in the text is
emboldened
. Not all characters in the story are here referenced, but the principle ones carried forward from previous volumes are, as well as a few new characters of import. Other names will be introduced in the text appropriately.

 

The Command Staff:

 

Gaius Julius
Caesar:
Politician, general and Governor.

Aulus
Ingenuus:
Commander of Caesar’s Praetorian Cohort.

Quintus Atius
Varus:
Commander of the Cavalry.

Gnaeus Vinicius
Priscus:
Camp Prefect of Caesar’s army.

Decimus Junius
Brutus
Albinus: Legate
and favourite of Caesar’s family.

Marcus Vitruvius
Mamurra
: One of Rome’s most famous engineers.

Lucius Minucius
Basilus:
Lesser staff officer.

Gaius
Rufio:
Staff officer.

 

Seventh Legion:

 

Lucius Munatius
Plancus:
Legate.

 

Eighth Legion:

 

Gaius
Fabius
Pictor: Legate.

 

Ninth Legion:

 

Gaius
Trebonius:
Legate.

Grattius:
Primus Pilus, once in sole command of the Ninth.

Ianuarius
: Senior artillerist.

Petreius
: Senior artillerist.

Marcius
: Junior artillerist.

 

Tenth Legion:

 

Marcus
Crassus ‘The Younger’:
Legate, younger son of the triumvir.

Lucius
Fabius:
Tribune, former centurion & friend of Priscus & Fronto.

Tullus
Furius:
Tribune, former centurion & friend of Priscus & Fronto.

Servius Fabricius
Carbo:
Primus Pilus.

Atenos:
Centurion and chief training officer, former Gaulish mercenary.

 

Eleventh Legion:

 

Quintus Tullius
Cicero:
Legate and brother of the great orator.

Titus Mittius
‘Felix’:
Camp Prefect for the 11th & former Primus Pilus.

Quintus
Velanius:
Senior Tribune.

Titus
Silius:
Junior Tribune.

Titus
Pullo:
Primus Pilus.

Lucius
Vorenus:
Senior centurion.

 

Twelfth Legion:

 

Titus
Labienus:
Lieutenant of Caesar. Currently legate of the 12
th
.

Gaius Volusenus
Quadratus:
Tribune.

Publius Sextius
Baculus:
Primus Pilus. A distinguished veteran.

Lucius Annius
Gritto
: cavalry decurion.

 

Thirteenth Legion:

 

Lucius
Roscius:
Legate and native of Illyricum.

Biorix
: Gallic-born legionary & engineer.

 

Fourteenth Legion (reconstituted):

 

Nasica
: Surviving soldier of the 14
th
and now aquilifer (eagle-bearer) of the reconstituted legion.

 

Other characters:

 

Marcus Falerius
Fronto:
Former Legate of the Tenth.

Masgava:
Former gladiator and confederate of Fronto.

Palmatus:
Retired Pompeian legionary & confederate of Fronto.

Marcus
Antonius:
Senior officer and close friend & distant relative of Caesar.

Quintus
Balbus:
Former Legate of the Eighth, now retired. Close friend of Fronto.

Faleria
the younger: sister of Fronto.

Lucilia:
Elder daughter of Balbus & wife of Fronto.

Balbina:
Younger daughter of Balbus.

Galronus:
Belgic officer, commanding Caesar's auxiliary cavalry.

Marcus Licinius
Crassus:
Caesar’s partner in the triumvirate. Currently in Syria.

Gnaeus
Pompey
Magnus
:
Caesar’s partner in the triumvirate. Currently in Rome.

Publius
Clodius
Pulcher: Powerful man in Rome, client of Caesar and conspirator.

Gaius Fusius
Cita:
Former chief quartermaster of Caesar’s army.

Vercingetorix
: Gallic chieftain & rebel, referred to also as ‘Esus’.

Ambiorix
: Eburone King who recently destroyed the 14
th
Legion.

Cativolcus
: Eburone King.

Indutiomarus
: Treveri chieftain.

 

 

Prologue

 

‘I will hear nothing more of it, Priscus.’

Caesar drummed his fingers irritably on the table top as his brow twitched, leaden-cold eyes locked challengingly on the man before him. The general, Priscus noted, looked more tired than ever, yet there was something about him that had been lacking in evidence this past year or two: a fire. A purpose. Something had changed in Caesar, and it revolved around the missives he had sent to and received from Rome.

Priscus scratched his chin - bristly and none-too-clean - reflectively, wondering how far he could push the general this morning before he was properly upbraided. The state of his chin brought him back once more to a regular theme in his musings: just how much it seemed he was becoming Fronto. When he’d borne the transverse crest of a centurion the very idea of a morning unshaven would have stunned him. A three-day growth would have been unthinkable - he’d slapped month-long latrine duties on soldiers for less. And here he was, looking like some callow Roman youth emerging from his debauched pit after the Lupercalia festival, eyes red-rimmed with too much wine, wreathed in a smell faintly reminiscent of old dog. He would have to make a short sharp visit to the baths when he left here and get himself in shape.

‘With respect, General, you’ve sent for reinforcements. You will command the biggest army Rome has raised since that Thracian gladiator stomped up and down the countryside freeing slaves. Gaul is unsettled and troublesome - more than ever - and now is not the time to concentrate on small things, but to look to the security of the fledgling province as a whole.’

Caesar glared at him and he took a steadying breath, aware of how close to the edge he was treading. ‘I will hear nothing more of it’ was a warning sign.

‘Again, respectfully, you could stand on the throat of all the Belgae tribes with just eight legions; nine if you really feel the need to flatten them. All I ask is
one
legion. Even a green, untried one as long as the officers are competent. I’ll take one legion and unpick this whole damn land until I’ve revealed every sign of trouble. We do know that Esus…’

He stopped abruptly as Caesar slapped his palm on the table angrily, his face contorting with a snarl.

‘Enough with this damned ‘Esus’, Priscus. I am sick to the back teeth of hearing about mythical Gallic rebels who consort with druids and foment discord behind the scenes. If he exists, how come we have discovered nothing about him in over a year of campaigning?’ He pointed at the officer before him, denying Priscus the right to reply. ‘Simply because he is a fiction! Or if not a fiction, then the emphasis that you and your pet spies place upon him is vastly overrated. If he
does
exist, most likely this Esus
is
Ambiorix.’

Priscus prepared himself. He had bent the reed just about as far as it would go and it was clear what would happen unless he acquiesced now. Sadly, a dishevelled appearance was not the only thing he seemed to have inherited from Fronto. A pig-headed unwillingness to halt in the face of trouble seemed to have taken hold in his spirit too.

‘I do not think that is the case, Caesar. Ambiorix was a
small scale
rebel…’


Small scale
?’ snapped Caesar. ‘That piece of Belgic filth wiped out a legion, lost me two veteran commanders - of Senatorial rank, no less - and endangered the rest of the army, almost finishing off Cicero in the process. And despite our timely arrival in force, still the mangy dog escaped us. Now he runs around free once more, gathering warriors to his banner in defiance of Rome. Get out of my tent, Priscus. Go bathe yourself in wine and forget all about your Gallic demi-God and his machinations. This army has a purpose at this time, other than the simple pacification of tribes: vengeance, Priscus. Simple revenge. Now go see to yourself and your fellow officers.’

ADS
15.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
READ BOOK DOWNLOAD BOOK

Other books

Child of the Dead by Don Coldsmith
BeMyWarlockTonight by Renee Field
Wrangling the Cowboy's Heart by Carolyne Aarsen
Out of Orbit by Chris Jones
The Diary by Eileen Goudge
Southland by Nina Revoyr
The Rattlesnake Season by Larry D. Sweazy
Say My Name by J. Kenner