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Castra Nemanta, garrison of the Cohors Equitata Raetia, a mixed auxilliary cohort.
This summer the Legion campaigned beyond the wall, burning villages, plundering crops and animals, but meeting no serious opposition. Now autumn is here and the Legion has gone back to Eboracum, leaving a desperate and starving enemy behind.
Inside Castra Nemanta the granaries are bulging, out in the fields the stolen beasts wait to be salted for the winter.
With winter on its way the cohort commander, Caius Stupendous Ego, understands that the starving Picts must fight or die. Were it only his command he had to consider he would simply bar the gates, man the wall and beat off whatever came at him - but these days there is far more to protect, the border area has prospered, is now home to traders, merchants, legionary families, ex-legionary settlers and fat, prosperous farms. Legate Ego must find a way to defend these too.
Caius Stupendous has a plan, he consults his augur - the omens are propitious.
He summons his senior Optios to the Principia
A convoy is despatched, carrying the surplus grain to safety in distant Eboracum - just in case.
Legate Stupendous inspects his cavalry Ala under the command of his lieutenant - Plentious Mucus....
...before sending it South after the convoy - Mucus and his troopers waved on their way by the local ladies of 'negotiable affection'.
A few hours later the infantry commander, Obvious Cumulus Nimbus, leads his centuries out into the devasted land beyond the wall.....
...and offers battle to the watchers in the woods!
The response is immediate and overwhelming, a howling tidal wave of starving, blood-lusting tribesmen bursts from cover to engulf Nimbus' puny command.
As Nimbus and his men are encircled in the warrior horde the handful of archers left on the wall-walk shoot fire arrows, throwing smoke trails against the autumn sky - pin-pricks to a snarling giant!
No warning trumpet blast answers the smoke signal, only the drum thunder of hooves on turf as Plentius Mucus, having looped west to cross the ditch at the next mile-castle, leads his troopers in the classic 'pig's head' . Simultaneously Legate Ego himself leads the last century in a charge from the gate.
Suddenly assailed from behind on two sides it is only a moment before brittle courage crumbles into blind barbarian fear and mass panic takes hold. Each warrior turns to save himself.
And so the slaughter begins!
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