The dust had just settled and the men on the watch tower could now see clearly. The air was not as clear as day and the strong stench of rotten corpses still infested the air. The open battle ground was littered with blood, broken spears and scanty body parts of fallen soldiers. The cliche war had lasted for just a year and Bazoc the barbarian war lord who pledged his allegiance to the roman empire had mounted his troops on the walls of Arkim. His troops were ill equipped yet they had successfully held the defense long enough. In this war, arkim was the strong hold city which prevented the enemies from invading the Octaguron the barbarian capital city. Arkim was once a city were great merchants would come and do good business, a center of commerce in which the wealth and economy of the realm depended on. But now after a year of heavy battle between the barbarians and the Romans, Arkim was no longer safe for business and trade. Arkim was converted into a full time arsenal and was now regarded as the Octagurons last line of defense.
The start of the war showed the odds were against the barbarians as they lost good number of men in attempt to besiege the city. There losses were to heavy that they pulled their troops back. It seemed like they retreated, but it was only a strategy. The barbarians used the the time to cut the Romans off their supply forcing them into attrition. This was a game changer as the entire city suffered severe starvation
Bazoc, the barbarian war lord, was called a traitor by his kinsmen for subjugating Octaguron the capital city to the roman law. The young war hero who led a company of 1000 archers against 13000 spear-men and emerged victorious during the barbarian civil war. After gaining the confidence of his superiors, he was made the youngest commander. It was said that the gods had chosen him to be their right hand and unit the divided realms. And after years of periodic clashes of barbarian lords and chiefs, Bazoc was able to make peace amongst four clan chiefs and made the Octagurion a citadel of peace. With the union of this four chiefs, every other clan that refuse the leadership of the four chiefs were burnt to the ground with their leaders beheaded. At the age of 24 , famous musicians of the realm had started singing songs of bazocs accomplishment. Bazoc was made the highest ranking officer in the realm and the gods demanded a human sacrifice to seal his office as LORD PROTECTOR.
The misty clouds and thick fogs of the morning was just fading and bazocs sleep was disrupted by his guards.
‘my lord’ the guard called out gently. bazoc gradually opened his eyes. ‘the governor is here’. Bazoc reluctantly rose up from his patched sleeping nest and headed straight to the governor’s tent. The guards at the entrance of the tent gave bazoc a cold stare. The grip on their spare was an indication that they still had trust issues even with Bazoc. On entering the tent, Vinictus the roman governor for the barbarian province dismissed his meeting with two other generals and gave signals to empty the tent.
‘Dominus Vinictus’ bazoc hailed as he knelt down and kissed the signet ring of the emperor.
‘General Bazoc, rise’ vinictus replied ‘the gods have been kind to you. But not to your men’ he added. Bazoc , being a man of few words had nothing to say.
‘well, the strife of your men to keep the province safe hasn’t gone unnoticed’ vinictus continued ‘but I don’t mean that in a good way. The walls are holding, your men are fighting and dying as well’ he said with scurf ‘but what is more important is that the capital city is running out of supply. If we put up with this attrition for another month I will be forced to cut the rations of the soldiers’
‘my lord speaks more of the problems’ bazoc said ‘I believe in your wise counsel’
‘I want you to end this war without further bloodshed’ initus said ‘I know roman blood haven’t stained your soil since the beginning of the war,but the citizens of Rome in the capital are no longer safe. The council of generals have lost confidence in my ability to win this war.’ Vinictus said while walking to serve himself a cup of wine. ‘you know’ he continued ‘seeing the chaos surrounding Arkim and the level of damage done to this once beautiful city, it only reminds me of how we came into this territory. Roman soldiers ready and waiting to expand the empire for the gods and the glory of Rome’ he said with so much euphoria and enthusiasm. Bazoc continued to stare in silent like a loyal soldier would do. The plight of Bazoc’s men had turned from bad to worst and the men were actually getting tired. Bazoc felt responsible for this men he anticipated that the governor would order the roman garrison to reinforce arkims defense.
‘until now I keep wondering’ vinictus broke the silence ‘why a man like you would take a bold step to turn against your own people and swear allegiance to people you don’t know.’ Vinictus said ‘can I call it bravery of cowardice.’ Vinictus asked rhetorically. Bazoc still remained silent with eyes intensely staring nowhere. It was as if he was expecting to hear something from the governor and he was just beating about the bush. Deep down in bazocs mind , he knew that they referred to him as a coward who was too scared to fight the invading Romans. Bazoc gathered the chiefs and convinced them to accept the roman rule without a fight. They were just recovering from years of fighting and bloodshed and bazoc being the most respected of all the generals in the realm couldn’t watch his people go into a war he was convinced they were not going to win. At that time, most of the young able bodied men had fallen in those civil clashes and Bazoc wasn’t willing to subject any man who is not willing to fight to arms. Convincing the four chiefs not to fight was the easiest part, but maintaining that level of conviction was the difficult part. After ten years of peaceful coexistence with the Romans, three of the four chiefs rebelled against Rome, slaying and beheading every roman citizen within their territory.
‘well’ vinictus continued ‘I just thought you should know firsthand that an emissary from the three chiefs rode into the capital offering us a peace deal’
‘and I presume you didn’t take it?’ Bazoc said clearing his throat. Vinictus stared at Bazoc with no reply. He then walked to the entrance of the tent and had brief word to with the guards. On returning, a company of ten to twelve heavily armed roman soldiers accompanied him back. Bazoc pulled out his sword immediately and took a fighting stance.
‘No , No general’ vinictus said in opposition to bazocs move ‘don’t make this any difficult than it already is’
‘difficult you say’ Bazoc said breathing heavily. His body and mind were well alert and ready to strike were necessary as well as intercept if stroke at. ‘its my men out there in the misty cold dying and keeping your lands safe by the blood of our people!!!’ he screamed ‘and what do we get in return? an assassination by the people I swore to serve ten years ago.!!!’ He then stared at Vinictus ‘is this how the roman law works?’
‘General don’t be foolish.’ Vinictus said ‘I will advise you to lay down your arms like you have always done in the past and put yourself under my mercy’ Vinictus ordered him. In the past ten years Bazoc had built a cordial relationship with the household of Vinictus. It was speculated that Vinictus was going to make Bazoc a roman citizen via marriage to his daughter. But it was all about trust, Vinictus trusted Bazoc even more than most of his commanders. The look on Vinictus eye was more of an appeal to Bazoc to trust me and on the other hand Bazoc saw a man whose hands were tied and will to do what is necessary was being manipulated.
‘general Bazoc I will not repeat myself’ Vinictus said with an intense voice ‘drop your weapon and I promise that no harm will come on you and your men.’
‘DRAW SWORDS!!!’ one of the roman soldiers ordered the men. The atmosphere was tense and the sound of swords being pulled from there scabbard filled the air. Bazoc knew this was going to be a blood bath,but if he fell today and in a dishonorable way as this , then he will not only be remembered as traitor but as a failure and everything he worked for in the past ten years will die with him. Thoughts like this would cripple the ego of men striving for greatness and a Bazoc was on that path. Bazoc gave a deep sigh of relief and loosen the grip on his sword. The soldiers in the room immediately took hold of him and disarmed him completely.
‘general Bazoc ’ Vinictus said pulling out a scroll ‘you have being found guilty of the mass murder of roman citizens within the province. By the order of the emperor you are to be taken to the capital and tried according to roman law.’. Bazoc stared at Vinictus as he was dragged away in chains but vinictus stared away.
Now, Bazoc is faced with a war he might be forced to surrender to the enemy. His major concern was not loosing arkim, but how much credibility of his will be lost. It seemed like he was been sent to quell a rebellion. But, it turned out differently, this was not just a rebellion, this was a full blown war. The other three chiefs had raised an enormous army to take the city to take back there lands . While the company of soldiers he was given were ill prepared for a full blown war.