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The Return of the Prince: A grim beginning...

Julius Caesar watched as the ram struck again and broke through. The gates swung open and the mass of waiting legionaries twitched like a giant predator anticipating the surge it would make towards its intended prey.

It was the end of the campaign season and his men had been granted an unexpected reward today and for this, they applied themselves with a fresh zeal. The Aduatuci leaders had reneged on his terms and attacked the besieging legions in the night. The sortie had been strongly repulsed and perhaps four thousand of their best warriors lost. Now his men had broken down the gate and would enter the citadel and take prizes at will until the Pro-Consul’s cornu sounded.

At the command, the legionaries rushed forward. A thin line of defenders stood just within the gates, their swords drawn and crudely made shields deployed, but the forces they faced were overwhelming. Gladius and pilum ran through them, a brief red fountain glistening in the morning sun before they disappeared beneath the trampling boots that squelched through the defiled, blood-soaked and broken bodies, in search of a live victim…

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© 2021 Tim Bagshaw

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