A/N: Rejoice! For here comes another chapter! I made a mistake. The Marcus Licinius Crassus I wrote in the last chapter was the eldest son of THE Marcus Licinius Crassus of the First Triumvirate. Marcus Licinius Crassus the Elder had two sons; Marcus Licinius Crassus the Younger and Publius Licinius Crassus. I thought that Marcus the Younger was alive during this time but only Publius lived and served with Julius Caesar. I went and fixed that. The one with Caesar is Publius Licinius Crassus.
To that other reviewer, I know that the Roman goddess of victory is Victoria but that sounds too English so I'm going with Nike. Sounds more Ancient World hehe. Besides, the Romans were well known to have copied many things. Their pantheon is almost the exact same thing that the Greeks have only with a more martial bent and Roman names.
The Battle of the Wendwater was over. It had been an unmitigated disaster for the Stormlands. Before the battle, the Stormlands had been ascendant. Preceding Storm Kings had waged multiple successful wars on their borders against all their neighbors.
They had expanded their control in the Dornish Marches several generations before this. They had defeated House Fisher, which ruled over the Riverlands, winning control over the lands the Riverlanders held sway around Cracklaw Point and had subdued the rest of the more independent lords in that area. And, of course, they had just recently defeated the Reach and took Tumbleton from them.
They had a battle-hardened, well-trained and more importantly, a victorious army that was the envy of all of Westeros. Perhaps, eventually, they could have pushed up the Riverlands and conquered it. Perhaps they could have conquered the Reach itself and would have then established itself as the most powerful kingdom Westeros had ever seen.
That was the future for the Stormlands right up until the Battle of the Wendwater. After the Wendwater.. It changed the fate of the Stormlands.. No… It changed the fate of Westeros itself!
Accounts of the Stormlands 50 CA, authored by Maester Balwik, Maester to Storm's End
Julius laughed as Anthony leaped from his horse and bounded over to embrace him. Both men slapped each other's back as they reveled in the heady feeling of victory and the thankfulness that they were alive. All was well in the world.
"It is good to see you alive, my friend." Caesar said. "I had feared the worst. Imagine my surprise when you appear like a ghost among my flanking force!"
Anthony smiled. "Likewise." Long years serving Julius had taught him many of his friend and commander's quirks. What he was actually asking was how in Hades had he found the battle.
"After the rout, I spent most of the time gathering as much of our scattered cavalry forces together. It was only on the next day was I able to complete this task. After that I rode until I found camp of our recently acquired allies. From them I received the latest news on what was happening. From look of things, you were going to launch a flanking attack within the next few days so I gathered them to me and we rode to the enemy rear where we met the flanking forces." Caesar laughed and thanked the gods. Good subordinates were such a treasure. The battle would have been more brutal and would have cost him more casualties than they had taken if they had gone with his original plan.
The victorious Roman legionnaires looted the battlefield of anything of use. Julius had given specific orders to gather all horses and their equipment as could be found. The men were already arguing on what they would be doing with the enemies that they would enslave. As the surrendering enemy army was lined up to divest them of their equipment, Caesar noticed a delegation of their nobles had approached Maester Janos. After a few words, he nodded and walked over to where Julius and his officers were clustered.
"My lords." Janos called out. He waved a hand toward the delegation. "They wish to ask what terms do you demand of them?"
Caesar's smile seemed almost predatory. "Ah yes.. Terms. Yes, let us talk terms."
All weapons, armor, horses and other accoutrements of war that the Stormlanders had brought with them were forfeit as spoils of war. A ransom for every lord and knight to be determined depending on the lord's wealth and status while a tribute of fifteen thousand pounds of grain or other foodstuffs a month and twenty thousand gold coins a year for five years. These terms weren't as heavy since the tournaments that the Westerosi were so fond of, and threw every few months, regularly had winner's prizes of fifty thousand gold coins. However, this was made difficult by the last part of the terms imposed on them.
All the land from Cracklaw Point to Maidenpool, down to the Blackwater Rush and Tumbleton, turning up from Fawnton and following the Wendwater to Blackwater Bay, all these territories were to be ceded to the Romans. These absolutely humiliating terms basically tore the Kingdom of the Stormlands in half.
As almost all of the lords of the Stormlands had been captured and held by the Romans, they had no choice but to accept the terms imposed in exchange for their freedom and a mere five-year truce. Once the terms were finalized and accepted, Caesar allowed a third of the lesser lords to leave under escort to their lands so as to spread the word of the outcome of the battle as well as raise the funds for both the ransom and tribute.
The Roman escorts were all chosen for their experience in scouting and observation. They were tasked with the primary role of surveying the lands of the Stormlanders, especially the forts and cities that they passed by or entered while the role of escorting the prisoners was relegated as secondary. As any commander worth his salt knew, information is power. There was no doubt in Caesar's mind that the Stormlanders would try to regain their lost honor sometime down the road. It was not a question of if but when.
When conflict resumed, Caesar would need more detailed maps of his enemy's lands. He also needed information on the other surrounding kingdoms. He had no idea what their reaction to his victory would be. Whether they would be jubilant at the defeat of one of their rival kingdoms or be enraged at the destruction of an ally. He couldn't fully trust the report on the local political situation that Janos had given them. After all, he had been a maester serving under the Stormlanders before his capture. He and his men were the only Romans that existed in these lands. He shuddered at the thought. He needed to be careful with them. One wrong decision and he would doom them all to an inglorious death.
Well, enough of that for now. First, we divide the spoils. Tomorrow, we worry about our deaths.
An eagle's cry reverberated in the air. It was a great and majestic, as if sent from the throne of Jupiter himself. Its feathers were of gold, it's eyes were of shining rubies, it's beak and claws were of unbreakable steel. In its left claw was clutched a laurel of victory and in its right it carried a slave's collar. Beneath it was a battered and wounded stag. The eagle landed on the stag's back and placed the collar on the stag's neck. It then raised its beak and pealed out a challenge to the skies.
To the west, a mighty lion climbed out of its den with claws of iron and fur of pure gold. To the north, a snarling wolf, cunning and vicious, came bounding down. From the east, a falcon, swift and agile, took flight from its high roost. From the south, vines and vipers erupted from the earth.
They each in turn tore at the mighty eagle. For a time, the eagle held its own, tearing chunks of flesh from each of its opponents. But then the creatures united against the eagle. The mighty lion cut off the eagle's beak, the cunning wolf broke the eagle's wing, the falcon gouged out an eye, the vipers injected their poisons into the eagle's body and finally, the vines wrapped around the eagle and dragged it down through the earth and into Tartarus.
Then, as if the sands of time were being blown the opposite direction, the events that had passed reversed. Suddenly, the eagle was once again triumphant over the stag. But this time, the eagle held no slave's collar.
The vines and vipers coiled around the eagle's feet as it tore into a fish. The mighty lion and the swift falcon came against the eagle as the corpse of the stag rotted. The cunning wolf remained aloof, caring not for anything but its own pack. As time passed, the eagle grew larger and stronger until all bowed to the eagle's might and majesty.
Caesar woke with a gasp, a cold sweat covering his whole body. He squeezed a hand to his forehead before stumbling to the table in his tent where a pitcher of wine was placed. Taking a cup, he gulped it down, savoring the taste.
"What in the name of the gods was that?" He murmured. He stared out the tent door as the light of torches illuminated the flaps of the tent. He was taking his second glass when he heard several shouts coming from the tents around him. Grabbing his sword, he rushed out of the tent only to nearly collide with Publius Crassus.
"General!" The young man gasped. "I've had a vision from the gods!"
Caesar frowned and was about to speak when Anthony came out of his tent. "Gods curse this wine. I'm hallucinating! Eagles, wolves, lions and snakes! My head must still be soused."
Caesar grabbed Anthony by the arm. "Did you have a vision too?"
"What? Vision?" Anthony mumbled, confused.
"Of a golden eagle beset on all sides by powerful creature?!" Publius squawked.
Caesar turned to him, mouth agape. They stood there, stock still, staring at each other. Their staring contest was interrupted by a clearing of a throat. The three commanders turned. Every single Primus Pilus of the legions had gathered along with several of the senior centurions from each legion.
"General." Gaius Crastinus stepped forward. Crastinus was one of Caesar's best men, having served under Caesar for seven years as a centurion in the Tenth. Early in the campaigns of Gallia, Crastinus had commanded his unit as it repelled an attempted crossing of a river by the Helvetii. Caesar quickly came to rely on him as his loyalty and personal valor were beyond measure. After many more feats of bravery and strength, Caesar had promoted him to the rank of Primus Pilus or First Spear, the most senior centurion of Caesar's beloved Tenth.
As Primus Pilus, he commanded the first cohort which marched at the front of every marching column and formed up on the first file of the right flank, a place of great trust. AS the most senior of the centurions, only eight other officers were above the Primus Pilus. These were the legate called the legatus legionis, who commanding the legion; the senior tribune called the tribunus laticlavius who was second-in-command of the legion; the Camp Prefect called the praefectus castrorum and the five other tribunes called the tribuni angusticlavii, who served as senior staff officers to the legate. And of course, the general or consul in charge of the army that the legion was part of.
"The men have been having… dreams, sir."
"All of them?" Caesar asked. His officers understood the question.
"Yes sir." All of them, even the centurions.
"Did these dreams all have an eagle in them?"
The centurions nodded, their faces clearly worried. Caesar knew what they were asking. As commander of the army, he had the role of divining the will of the gods before a battle. As they were far from home, he was the closest thing the legions had to a priest. He grimaced before waving for the men to follow him.
The group walked in silence towards the tent of augury. As they walked, the men of legions came out of their tents to first stare at them, then follow them. This kept happening until a huge crowd of men surround the group as they walked. The men themselves knew where their officers where walking to and those crowding ahead, parted to let them through.
Upon arriving at the tent of augury, the centurions formed up leading into the entrance of the tent. Caesar gave all his men a nod before entering the tent.
Caesar began his prayers as he lit the altar. In it he placed incense and paused, waiting until the incense had enveloped the tent. When the tent was filled to his satisfaction, he removed his sword and placed it on the ground before him. Then he knelt in submission before the gods.
Several hours passed as the men waited anxiously outside the tent of augury. The crowd had grown to include all of the other officers and contingents from all the legions. The murmuring was at first, almost imperceptible but as dawn neared, the men became more and more restless. Finally, as the first rays of dawn began to peek over the horizon, the flap of the tent opened.
Incense smoke seemed to wrap itself around their commander as he walked out. He was pale and sweat dripped from his brow. But despite this, a happy smile was on his face.
"Men!" He addressed the crowd. "Never before has the gods blessed such a people as they have blessed us."
He raised his hands and as if on command, the smoke rose with the motion. "Blessed Juno, beloved patron of our city, spoke to her beloved husband and convinced him to warn us of a great peril that is before us. Wise Minerva and Apollo, at Mighty Jupiter's command have sent us a vision of such power that all of us have been blessed." Caesar paused as if gathering strength for his next words.
"The eagle that we all saw symbolizes us, blessed with strength and valor by the gods."
The men let out a great cheer at this. It took a while for them to calm down from that but when they did, Caesar continued.
"The different animals are the kingdoms of the peoples that inhabit this land." The men muttered but nodded, it made sense.
"We will achieve many victories over them despite their numbers." The men gave a loud cheer at this.
But then Caesar's demeanor changed. His face hardened and his tone deepened.
"But though the gods have blessed us with victory, they bring us a dire warning." All the men leaned in, in anticipation for the explanation of this statement.
"Should we continue our practice of enslaving those vanquished, then all the kingdoms will rise up together and slay us!" The men roared their anger and disbelief.
No no! They said. The gods would never allow it. They had been chosen out of all the Romans in their land to conquer this new land. They would fight! They would slaughter all who stood before them. All who resisted would die or be enslaved. Slavery was a way of life for the Romans, it had been with them since the founding of Rome. It provided them with cheap labor that served them and allowed them to live more leisurely lives as well as powered their economy. They also brought quite a bit of money to the individual legionnaire as captives in battle were either sold and the proceeds divided between the men or were given outright as slaves to the legionnaires. To abolish slavery was unthinkable.
For several minutes, the men raged. Caesar remained stoic, as did his senior officers. The younger and more junior officers were getting more nervous as the men became more and more unruly. Normally, the senior centurions would have been barking orders for them to control the men before they turned into a mob but they did nothing.
Suddenly, a lightning bolt flashed lit up the sky behind Caesar followed by a massive boom of thunder. All the men cowered before the sound. Only Caesar remained standing, still as a rock.
"If we continue to enslave them, them the very earth will swallow us whole." Caesar's words were spoken in a soft tone into the silence of the camp. Despite their softness, they carried through the air. For a few moments there was silence.
Then a clanking was heard. All heads turned to the front of the tent. Gaius Crastinus had slammed his closed fist into his chest in the first part of the Roman salute. He then knelt before Caesar and raised his arm to complete the salute.
"Mighty Jupiter has spoken through the general." He gave Caesar a solid look. "I hear and obey." He bowed his head.
There was a beat, then several thuds as several legionnaires of the Tenth Legion who stood in the front of the crowd slammed their fists into their chests and followed their Primus Pilus. "We hear and obey."
This caused a chain reaction as all the legionnaires followed suit. "We hear and obey."
"We hear and obey." As the last of the legionnaire knelt, the entire camp heard an eagle's cry greeting the rising of the sun. They then knew that the gods were pleased.
A/N: And done. I was searching for a way that slavery could be removed from the Romans. Obviously, I can't snap my fingers and boom! Instant free state. Nope.
In ancient history, the Romans were the most prolific slavers in history. Their entire empire was built on war and the labor of slaves. Yes, the Roman legions built roads and aqueducts as well as cities but who do you think maintained them? The slaves of course.
And I couldn't let them remain slavers since the main faiths of Westeros, the Faith of the Seven as well as the faith of the Old Gods, forbid slavery. It would have turned the entire continent against the Romans. There would have been no way for them to survive that. But now, there's a reason why they abandoned slavery. It's because the Gods willed it. The future is here haha.