Rome: Total War Stories

I think I''m hitting the point where the game is going to get tedious for the foreseeable future. With Gaul, Germania, Britania, and Spain all under Julii control and no where else to go but through eastern powerhouse Thrace, I''m going to be sitting on my hands until I can either rebuild my military in the east or if I can somehow build enough popularity with the P in SPQR to invade Rome.

Last night I beheld the simple beuty that is a wardog company charging into the unprotected flank of an enemy infantry unit. I wept openly at the majesty of packs of hungry pups pulling down the fleeing remnants of a once proud phalanx.

I had one of those ""deja vu"" moments when a friend was playing on one of my systems here at La Casa del Computeros. You know all those movies about the king mercilessly crushing the valiant peasant rebellions? Well, I walk into the room and he''s got a unit of heavy cavalry with his head of faction, and a pack of dogs, facing less than a hundred rebel peasants.

And indeed, he turned the dogs loose on the peasants, to break them, and then the cavalry moved in and casually speared the rest of them from horseback. You could almost hear the noble shouting ""Turn the dogs loose on those dogs!"" as he and his bodyguard trot slowly forward. I could picture the heroic but anguished figure of Errol Flynn, accidentally left behind and trying to catch up with his loyal peasants, watching from the nearby woods. Of course, he''d have been killed too, but it was the perfect 1930''s movie moment.

The Gauls last stand:

I attacked their capital and second last stronghold last night with a small force of about 400 men. Mostly because I wanted to get the leader of my troop killed, he was a good for nothing cousin who was poison to any troop he lead and city he resided in. Turned out the only Gaul troops left were the three remaining family members, including their king. They attacked all at once but from different areas of the map. The battle was fought in a heavily forested area so I used my chariots to draw the first group of heavy cavalry in while my swordsmen waited in a large semi-circle in ambush mode. Chariots drew them in, and then the troops enclosed the horse men and slaughtered them. We did the same to all three groups and when the battle was over the Gauls fell into a leaderless rebellion. That''ll learn em''

This is quite a bit long, but after reading this thread I was just astounded by the insperation some of the story tellers here had given me.

This was my first battle... and yes I was a bit arrogant in my tactics.

Here we go.. my first story!


General Vibius Julius was always the pompus sort. Growing up as the heir to the Julius fortune has always given one of his arrogance a certain amount of... over-confidence.

""He has no idea what he''s doing. Then again he probably does but doesn''t give a damn about what happens to us."" Slate grumbled as he tightened his scratched and dented armor. Becoming frustrated as one of the leather straps to his chest plate finally tore he added disgustedly ""How can he push on like this! We need to wait for reinforments. Most of our gear was fired up by those blasted Gaul firebrands and my company only has half the men we started with!"".

""I don''t know what your so worked up about. Vibius is a great man. We just won 3 battles in a row against those so-called Vicious Gauls."" said Pappi as he tossed an extra rawhide cord he stashed away to Slate. ""They run like little girls whenever we show them the tips of our spears. We will come back as heros of Rome!"".

Slate looked at the Triarii company commander in disbelief. ""We barely escaped 3 skirmishes with half our battle group in tact and Vibius is pushing on into their territory. We were only supposed to capture and hold Mediolanium, not run all over Germania attempting to exterminate every blasted Gaul we see"".

Loosening the straps on the rest of his chest plate, Slate took the cord Pappi had given him and tied it to the torn clasp. ""This is gonna be damn uncomfortable. Probably wont hold either."". Putting on the plate once more he mumbled half under his breath ""Thanks"".

Pappi smiled as he looked at his old friend and thought ""Wow he actually said Thank You, I dont believe it."". Having fought countless battles over the past several months alongside the Hastati commander, Pappi had never once ever remembered the man being gratious, let alone voicing it. Slate was a large man, heavily muscled and true to an infantry commander''s stature. Being criss-crossed with numerous battle scars, he was a fierce looking man. Especially with the empty scarred socket of his missing left eye. Although always the pessimist as his usual voice of choice, Slate had never been known to back down on the battlefield, let alone had he ever been routed.

""What was that?"" Pappi said.

""Huh?"" Slate replied as he bent over to pick up his sword and remaining gear. Seeing Pappi''s smirk as he straightened up, he thrust his sword in his scabbard and heaved the heavy satchel over his shoulder with a soldiers grace. ""You better go ready your men. Vibius wants to route these Gauls before they can enter the woods to the north."". Looking his friend in the eye, Slate said in a serious tone ""If the Gauls make the woods before we can catch them, we wont live to see nightfall."".

Pappi leaned forward and took his friends wrist in his own strong grip. ""Honor to you my friend. The gods will bless our Roman blood."".

""Aye."" Slate said as he shook Pappi''s wrist with his own calloused hand. Releasing the embrace he turned and started to walk away. Stopping at the edge of the cookfire''s warmth, Slate glanced back at Pappi and added ""They better or our blood will flow like a river if the Gauls make those woods."".


""...we might be outnumbered, but these are not men that can stand in our shadow! We are Julii, blessed of the Roman Empire with valor not matched in the world! Go forward to battle and FIGHT FOR THE GLORY OF ROME!!!""

The rucous cheering echoed in the chill misty air as Vibius waved his sword above his head. Slate could see the cold light shine off the emblazened sigil of house Julii on the frontpiece of the General''s shield as it rested at his side next to his horse''s pommel. Glaring with his one good eye through the slat of his helm, Slate turned to his bedraggled company with foreboading... and pride.

""Alright men. We march once again for the glory of Rome. May the gods bless our Roman blood to victory!"" Slate had to smirk at his own use of his friend Pappi''s words. Slamming his sword against his shield, he started the march with his men onto the outskirts of what will soon be a bloody field of weeds and brush.

""Remember, keep it tight! Do not lose site or sound of the General. Maintain rank in front of him at all times and never lose your courage!"". Although his men probably know his words by heart, consistancy on the battlefield has saved the life of his company more times than he can count. ""Discipline is what sets us apart from these savages.... even if we are outnumbered two to one"" he thought as he watched the other infantry columns keep pace beside his own. Thirty yards ahead of him he could see his friend Pappi order ranks on his famous Triarii company.

""Always takes the brunt for us... and always believes in his General"" Slate mumbled to himself as he watched Pappi march forward into the darkening mist.

They had finally caught up to the Gaul savages on the outskirts of the Northern Forest. But with the speed that General Vibius forced upon his army in the fading afternoon light, there was at least 2 miles to go before they could seek cover in their blasted woods. Before they could be run down, the Gaul commander decided that the distance was too great and he had to turn and fight.

""Why wouldnt he"" Slate thought to himself. With 2 light calvary, 4 light infantry and 1 blasted Firebrand archer company, it was no surprise that the Gaul commander would turn to defend himself.

Marching in the middle of 2 other Hastati companies and behind the ever valiant Triarii spearmen, Slate could hear the orders to march at full speed from the General behind him. ""We are on good offensive ground, with a heavy calvary behind us."" Slate thought as he worked the strategy in his mind as he picked up the pace. Although he disliked the pompas ass, the General definately had a knack at pulling off astounding victories in the face of such odds.

""Marshel company on the right with me, Slate take your men and Cali''s on the left flank behind the spearmen. KEEP IT TIGHT!"" the general bellowed as he swung his calvary unit around to the right of Marshel''s Hastati.

""Damnit, there he goes again with no regard for our rear"" Slate thought to himself.

The Gaul infantry had set up a defensive posture not 200 yards in front of the oncomming Roman army with the damned Firebrands behind them. The Gaul commander was better than his men. One light calvary on each side of the flanks would keep out any unwanted surprises by the oncomming Romans, but even with such a plan the Gaul men could be seen shaking in their boots. After being routed 3 times in the past 2 days by the very same Roman army charging before them... they should be scared.

""FORTY YARDS AND WE ARE IN RANGE.. PREPARE SHIELDS FOR INCOMMING!!!"" the general screamed at the top of his lungs as the entire mass of bristling armor and swords surged forward. ""KEEP IT TIGHT!!!"". Slate slammed his sword against his shield to signal full charge to his men. By now the general had pulled his calvary further out on the right flank in order to try hit the defending army from the side.

Swinging out and breaking formation, the general took his men around a rock outcrop to the east. By now Slate could no longer afford to pay attention to anything (especially that damned man) but his own charge and the men he was about to engage in front of him. Pappi''s company had put on full speed once they saw the Firebrands unleash their shafts of death. Not a bad plan since by the time the flaming brands landed the Triarii would be past them and his own company would raise their shields to fend off the majority of the onslaught.

50 yards now seperated the two armies. The Gaul commander could be seen waving his arms and gesticulating rapidly to his men without much success. After the first Firebrand volley had landed with little success on the charging Hastati''s, the Gaul lines could be seen wavering in fright before the battle had even started.

40 yards and the Firebrands loosed another volley into the Roman''s ranks. Again raising their shields, very few men went down.. ""but still men we will need on the long march back"" Slate thought. Pappi''s men had now lowered their lances and charged full speed into the Gaul infantry ranks. After seeing the left side buckling, the Firebrands threw down their arrows and turned to flee. The Gaul commander tried to signal his two calvary units to close in on the Triarii''s flanks but he was too late. By then the three Hastati companies had come up around the embattled spearmen and hacked at any and all foes in their midst. To their right, Slate could see the general swing wide of the eastern Gaul calvary and charge into the backs of the retreating archers.

""Discipline and honor is what sets Rome and all foes apart... in light of that fool"" Slate thought as he brought his sword down on the neck of a young Gaul soldier. To his right Marshel had his men hacking away at the legs of the Gaul calvary and to his left Cali''s company was doing the same. Once Slate''s men had charged up to the backs of the embattled Triarii, Pappi and a few valient men broke through on the left flank and now started closing in on the opponent infantry from the side.

""Even outnumbered, we cannot be beaten!"" Marshel yelled from his right. The screams and cries of the dying was blocked out by the pounding of the blood in Slate''s head. He could now see what he had seen in the past 3 battles. Gauls in the rear tossed down their shields in order to run in the wake of their fleeing archers. With the back end of their companies rapidly turning to run, the remaining calvary on the left also threw down their swords and leaned into their horses mounts fleeing towards the northwestern woods.

""Their breaking ONCE AGAI...."" Cali''s shout was choked off by the crushing hoof of a fleeing horse. With the majority of the archers running as fast as they could before the general, the rest of the Gauls surrounding his men also turned to flee. ""KILL THEM!!"" Vibius yelled. ""LEAVE NONE ALIVE TO INSULT THE GLORY OF ROME!!"".

""Now is the most dangerous point in the battle"" Slate thought to himself. ""Form ranks to me!"" he yelled to his men. ""TO ME TO ME!"". To his right he could hear Marshel yelling the same orders to his men along with Pappi in front of him.

But the lust of battle was upon them. Again the general screamed his vengence at the retreating Gauls and charged head-on into the fleeing backs of what remained of the Gaul infantry. ""LEAVE NONE ALIVE I SAID!!!!"" It was a mad dash for each of the Roman soldiers to uphold their general''s command. Gauls were fleeing in all directions but South and on their heels were the now broken lines of the Roman army. Being coaxed on by the blood heat in the general''s shouts, Slate could not get the attention of his men as they slaughtered any and all Gauls that they could get their hands on. Looking to the north, Slate could see Pappi also being ignored by his men as they chased the fleeing gauls towards the distant woods.

""FORM RANKS FOR YOUR FATHERS SAKES!!!"" Screamed Marshel to his right. ""TO ME TO ME"" Pappi was yelling at the top of his lungs.

Slate grabbed hold of one of his rushing men and smacked him over the head with his shield. ""What in Hadie''s name are you doing!"" Slate screamed at the younger soldier. Abashed, the young man looked Slate dead in the eye and replied ""Following the general''s order for the glory of Rome, Sir!"". Looking up from the soldiers face Slate could see what he feared the most. With the blood lust in his men from the battle and the orders being yelled at them by the general, every Roman company had been spread so thin that there was no chance of stopping them. Running full out towards the retreating Gaul army, any and all order had been lost with the victory of the battle.

""Damn!"" Slate yelled as he brushed past the young soldier and looked for the other company commanders.

At that moment, the brazen sound of a northwoods horn was heard over the tumult. Looking to the Northwest, Slate could see a distant cloud of dust as an ordered line of heavy calvary charged out of the woods. Again the horn sounded with another answering to Slates right. Glancing to the Northeast, he saw another company of Gaul heavy calvary break out of the woods and begin bearing down on the thin lines of the Roman army.

As the new comers past their fleeing allies, the disorganized Romans attempted to form what ranks they could and set up a defensive position. But it was too late. Looking directly North of him in order to determine the whereabouts of his general, Slate could see coming out of the northern woods rank upon rank of Gaul wildmen and infantry.

Right then the northwestern Gaul calvary had met the thin line of the general''s company and decimated them in one pass. Slate could see his general go down under the rush of Gaul battle axes. Directly north of him Pappi had pulled together what soldiers he could find and put up a meager defensive group but it wasn''t fast enough to avoid the charge of the northeastern Gaul calvary.

""For the glory of Rome"" Slate heard himself yelling as he charged towards his fallen friend.

And in response to his words the Gaul commander of the original fleeing Gaul army yelled ""TO THE ARROGANCE OF ROME!"".

Wow Par, Excellent!

Nicely done Par!

Par excellance!

Well, you won''t have to worry about those Thracian slugs, I told you I''d take care of them. Now I just need ten more territories and I can take Rome and win all at once.

Thanks guys Thats means alot!

I''ve always wanted to write something but never had the gutz to do it. I was amazed at how motivated I was on this. Even when I went Mountain Biking this morning I was thinking about the story


How the hell do you get the women reproducing? My family is down to about five members and I''ve already had one army turn coat on me. The bastards!

Fantastic story Par! Had me on the edge of my seat from the moment the battle began.
You''ve a good pen hand for great narrative.

Drunk, you need new blood. If an unescorted stack wins a ""heroic victory"", you usually gain a leader. Try sending some guys out. They need to be outnumbered to even have a chance...Use highly experienced troops.

When facing an enemy cavalry charge with Spearmen. Is it better to stand fast and receive the attack, or is it better to charge cavalry The tutorial indicated to charge them, but I always thought that spearmen facing a cavalry charge had to brace the spears on the ground, hard to do while running I would think.

"Drunkagain" wrote:

How the hell do you get the women reproducing? My family is down to about five members and I''ve already had one army turn coat on me. The bastards!

Wine, Barrius Whitecus, and candlelight?

Another thing, Drunk is that sometimes when you''re really hurting for progeny, the most unexpected people will suddenly get adoption-happy. I had one son of my Brutii faction leader who had racked up a slew of undesirable characteristics by the time he was 20, so I sent him and a unit of archers to ''guard'' a ''critical'' mountain pass for the rest of his life. Somehow, he finds a wife out in the boondocks, and I begin sweating out the next few turns, waiting for this psycho and his spouse to start churning out more babies with his defective genes.

After a few years passed and no new family members, I checked up on the fellow and it turned out that in addition to being a paranoid, disloyal alcoholic, he was also sterile. Thank Jupiter.

In the turns that followed, my exiled son and his doubtlessly long-suffering wife began adopting men left and right. Presumably from the group of archers that had accompanied him on his trek into the mountains. In a span of 3 years they adopted no less than 4 people, all of whom turned out to be exceptionally good generals or governors. In the end, it was this adoption-happy outcast who saved my faction, as all of the natural-born sons of my second generation were killed in a bloody war to take the Northern Italian cities of the Julii. In then end, only the adopted sons and the few remaining elders of the second generation lived to see the last Julii faction leader put to the sword.

I always stand my spearmen fast before the cavalry hit. That seems to work well. I could see charging a hesitant group of light cavalry, but then, I can see them running away, too, exhausting your troops and maybe exposing a flank the spearmen were covering...

In the turns that followed, my exiled son and his doubtlessly long-suffering wife began adopting men left and right. Presumably from the group of archers that had accompanied him on his trek into the mountains. In a span of 3 years they adopted no less than 4 people, all of whom turned out to be exceptionally good generals or governors. In the end, it was this adoption-happy outcast who saved my faction, as all of the natural-born sons of my second generation were killed in a bloody war to take the Northern Italian cities of the Julii. In then end, only the adopted sons and the few remaining elders of the second generation lived to see the last Julii faction leader put to the sword.

I must be playing pretty cautiously. I have like 7 or 8 cities and I''m very defensive. Just recently I started making some good money, but it already like 253 or 248 BC (at work). My first faction leader has already died of old age!

I''m like you Karma. I hold all of Sicilia, my starting city, and 2 going on 3 in Greecia. And my second leader just died of old age! Last time I noticed, it was something like 235 BC. I play very slowly and conservatively, I think as a result of Warlords pounding the lesson of never leaving a city undefended into my head, via repeating beatings. One thing I do now, though, to save cash, is only having some cities be military unit producers.

- Funny story, when I finally felt I had enough troops top take on Carthage, I sent an invasion to Africa only to find that Carthage had been taken by the Numedions, and their entire empire was in decline! Talk about slow.

Wow, some great fan fiction here! It really speaks volumes about the game. I wish I had a talent for writing.

After a hectic week I hope this week allows for more free time to get back into my campaign. Reading these stories (great one Par!) just makes me want to play sooner!

That was awesome, Par.
Can''t wait for another installment the next time a muse bops you over the head.

Hey folks,

I think I''m finally getting the hang of it. I restarted as the Julii and now my empire extends from Northern Europe down to Greece. I still have trouble with finances. I''m trying to maintain three large armies which might be my problem.

Some funny things have happened on the way:

I had a lowly lot of family members when I started (except for my faction leader). By the time he died, I had gained some good managers but not many good generals. I was forced to use this young, morose boring speaker to defend a pass near a critical city. His speech before the battle went something like:

""Well, here we are on the battlefield. I know a lot of you don''t want to be here. Heck, neither do I but sometimes you gotta do things you don''t want to do. Plus I told my mother that I''d make a good show of it, so here we are.""

Pretty hysterical! Anyway, despite his lack of talent for inspiring his troops before battle he''s become a fantastic general with a huge retinue of followers. Sure he''s got his flaws, but because I''ve used him so aggressively both strategically and tactically he''s developed into a great military mind. He''s quite old now so I''m trying to make the most of his golden years. Don''t let your family members rot in some provincial backwater. Throw them right into the heat of battle and let them earn the right to carry your family''s standard! I''ve certainly discovered that greatness isn''t always born. It''s often thrust upon the village idiot with the force of a hundred Carthaginian elephants!

Also, I''ve noticed a lot of drunken ""uncles"" showing up in my retinues. Is there something you can do to curb bad retinue members? They''re an embarassment!!

If you haven''t used ""fire"" mode on the onagers when attacking a city, do so! It really shakes up the enemy. Also, I''m finding that using war dogs at the right moment (like right after your infantry charges) can cause the enemy to rout extremely quickly. I make sure I have at least one unit of war dogs whenever I attack.

Great stories folks. Keep em coming!



Also, I''ve noticed a lot of drunken ""uncles"" showing up in my retinues. Is there something you can do to curb bad retinue members? They''re an embarassment!!

transfer them to some ass-hat of a family member that you have, and make them go gaurd the passes in the swiss alps

Before my original faction leader dies (sniff) he used to carry on for 5 minutes on how he wanted to see the battlefield ''littered'' with blood. Various ways. He wanted to taste it. And so on.

What a great leader!

You can definitely tell the difference with the better generals.

I had a son that was useless and had no military ability. I made him do a little traveling, to see if I could get him some military xp fighting rebels. The first battle we ran into, it was even odds. As soon as the other sides calvary hit my line, he sprinted away in the opposite direction. Which immediately caused his small mercenary army to sprint away also, leaving the few loyal Roman conscrips to die horribly...

I played the demos to the first two TWs, and really did not think much of them. I played the demo to RTW and didn''t think much of it. Based on my respect for this community and the solid reception the full game received, I purchased it. Now, it is all I can think about. I love this game. I know that this is not a story about my battles, but I thought I''d post here to say that I love the fan-fict and I hope it continues.

Thanks for the efforts you are putting into your stories. Keep them coming!

Edgar, MTW is nearly this good, with the Viking expansion. When you get a spare $30, it''s a great choice.

Too many games, too little time.

By the time I am ready to put RTW down, I am hoping that Pirates! will be ready. I know, I know. It''s a sickness . . . .

What the hell is this all about? The Senate can demand your faction leader to commit suicide? Where do they get off telling me that? Oh, they''re gonna get it now...

Bought the game Saturday at about 6 PM EDT, I do not think I have seen the light of day since except to A. Go to work or B. Go get the newspaper on Sunday. I even skipped football it is soo addicting. Anyway here is my story (my story also includes comments of the ineptitude of the enemy AI on Med diff):

Mighty Brutii were given an order by the Senate to capture the famed city of Sparta in the next 10 turns.. the thought of attacking this famed city made its fearless leader Mayfield the Conqueror think twice.. attack a city of foes who''s only thought in life is to fight and die in battle... This sounds like suicide! (it actually was tough on paper I think the Senate was getting jealous of my power and decided to send me off on a fools errand in order to weaken me)

But then the analytical general thinks.. hmmm Spartans all spearmen and hoplites, but NO CAVALRY. After training 4 units of Equitanes and 2 units of war dogs I merged it with my already tough army of 4 Hestati, 2 Preatan (heavy inf I forget proper name), 3 Vestitane (spear chuckers) and my best general and a son of the faction leader for a bit more heavy cavalry.. I set sail and get these in two turns.. and prepare to lay siege to this famed city.

Mistake #1: Lo and behold, the enemy is cocky.. it LEAVES THE CITY TO ATTACK (this is with me outnumbering it by ~200 men, a 7 star general, and I have 6 units of cavalry to his one.. AI makes horrible tactical mistake).. it has ~4 units of armored hoplites and 2 units of spartan hoplites (elite troops.. actually help their line for awhile) along with a few other assorted spearmen.. woefully inadequate force but on paper and with the right strategy it could defeat my army... but as I am thinking that I will have it easy there arrive reinforcements from my left flank of 4-5 hoplites (mixed).. a dangerous position and one that could have been used by the enemy cunningly.

Mistake #2 of my enemy.. it has the high ground and it LEAVES it.. ON BOTH SIDES. The enemy decides it is best to combine forces (no it is not, it is best to press the attack on me from both sides) so its reinforcements CROSS MY LINE OF MANEVOUR.. asking for a Cavalry charge in the rear.. of course I oblidge and rout his forces.. unleashing the war dogs after the fleeing foes (god I love war dogs).

So then sent into battle is my line of hardened Hestati and heavy inf (heavy inf taking center with two units of hestati covering flanks) and my Vestitane coming behind them for support.. I also send my calvary and a few town watch (oh yes I did not count them on the order of battle) to the enemy''s right with a unit of heavy calvary screening the enemy''s left from using his only calvary against it.

Mistake #3. After one assault of thrown spears the enemy takes his Hoplites and charges into my main battle line.. hoping to break me as he has the hill to his back and he is even with my forces. (when he should have waited to see what my Cavalry were doing, he did not even attempt to screen them) Of course my trusty infantry does not break, and once his forces are tied up my light cavalry round him and SMASH into his Hoplites rear (And I mean smash the graphics of the horses ramminginto the rear is so viceral and exciting I cannot think of a gaming experience like it).. meanwhile his general attempts to flank on his left and my cavalry with the help of my missle troops end that quickly.

So my foolish enemy underestimates the Romans for the last time, and I enslave the populace and take the city for the Senate and the Glory of Rome.

I do hope the AI gets better at higher difficulty.. because I am flanking with calvary and pounding it with artillery and missle troops too easily.

Also SQUALOR IS EEEVVVIILL.. how do I combat this invisible foe?

Much better than M:TW and S:TW.. this is a strategy gamers ultimate dream. Only critique is that I lose track of my agents too easily and there should be a screen to organize them like in M:TW but oh well one flaw is nothing.

How about a different perspective then?

Just Outside Sparta, 253 BC

Abreas was not a great general, no. He was not a great general yet. As with all things, that time would come. He knew it. The seers had to have seen it in their visions, had to have seen him, picking up where Alexander himself had left off, recapturing Alexander's empire, ruling the world"….

But not yet.

He was not Gyreas "The Infantryman", as the people now referred to him. Gyreas had proven the tip of the scales when the war had begun, thoroughly defeating his enemies time and time again, reclaiming Corinth for Macedonia. Gyreas was the heir, the people's hero, a man to be respected. Abreas still had to truly prove himself.

The war with the lying Greeks was a decade old, and much blood had already been shed. The Greeks, in their poison-tongued ways had connived their way into taking Corinth from King Antigonos in 261. Gyreas had been sent to reclaim the land, which he did, becoming a hero of the city in the process. Abreas was sent in reserve and, to his credit, he had been blooded, his Army aided in the lifting of the siege of Corinth, as the Greeks tried to reclaim what they had so unjustly stolen. Cleon of Sparta died that day, another soul gone to Hades.

And now, here, outside of Sparta, Abreus waited. Waited with his army, an army of 800 strong Macedonian men. Hoplites, Pike Phalanxes, and Macedonian Cavalry, along with a unit of mercenary Cretian Archers whom noone entirely enjoyed the company of, but had proven themselves useful too often to oust.

The siege had gone on for three years now, with and the Greeks were finally showing signs of faltering. His spies within had said that pestilence and famine were beginning to spread throughout the city as a result of their actions, and, without food, their general, Diomedes of Sparta would be forced into a dangerous gambit to lift the siege. Today would be that day.

Abreas's horse started for a moment, and he patted its neck, gently soothing the beast. It was nervous, much like his men. Taking Sparta, as Antigonos had commanded, meant facing the Spartans themselves. The heroes of Thermopylae would not be easily conquered and subjugated, but risks had to be taken. The timid would never make an impact in this world. Moreover, the spies of Macedon had put their advantage in men at 2:1. Still, against superior Grecian Armored Hoplites and Spartans, those numbers could become much closer very, very soon.

He shifted his shoulders slightly, the armor rubbed him unpleasantly. He'd never quite adjusted to the sensation of wearing quite so much armor while riding around on horses, much less charging into enemy lines. But that was what this would require, of that he had no doubt.

"My General?"

Timon was looking at him, wearing an odd look on his face. Abreas realized he must've looked quite concerned in his reverie.

"Thinking, just thinking Timon."

Timon was his second in command, his most trusted advisor, the man who had aided him in putting together this entire campaign in the south of Greece. Despite not being of noble birth, Timon had quickly become a staple of Abreas' army, and noone doubted his ability. The man may have not had the look of the warrior, not even one Orgyia tall. But his mind seemed to move twice as quickly as that of any other man, both in strategy and in battle.

"Do you think they will come my General?" Timon asked.

"They must, there is no other way. This ends today." Abreas nudged his horse gently, sending the animal into motion as he began to ride along his lines, looking over his men.

Their phalanxes must have looked imposing indeed. Shoulder to shoulder, man to man, a wall of speartips to gut and kill those who would attempt to break their lines. These men were experienced, they had all been blooded in the ways of combat, even the Milita Hoplites would hold the line now.

Timon rode alongside him. "The archers are in place, our cavalry ready, but you have given no orders to the Peltasts. What would you have them do?"

"Deploy them to the right flank. The Greek armor will stop much of their attacks unless they can find a strong position to fire from. Instruct the archers to ignite arrows."

As Timon called out orders, Abreas stopped, turning to look at the wooden palisade that protected Sparta. It was a majestic, beautiful city. He had heard stories from travelers and merchants of the wonders in Rome and Carthage, to the east, and the beauty in Alexandria, to the south. But now, to him, Sparta seemed to be the biggest city in the world, the focal point of all the conflict. Such beautiful fields his men stood on, and soon they'd have to mess it all"…

"There! They move! Prepare for attack!"

The call came from somewhere in the lines, but Timon squinted anyway, seeing the growing cloud of dust appearing behind the walls of Sparta. It was beginning"…

"Men!" He cried, wheeling his horse around. "Today, we will crush the lying Greeks! We all will fight, and some of us will die, and those of us that remain will tell great stories of those who died! Here, today, we shall all be remembered, as the men who conquered the unconquerable Spartans!"

A great cheer went up from his lines, and, from inside the burnished bronze of his helmet, he smiled.

"Then let us go to our bloody business! Infantry! First
three lines!"

The men knew the formation well enough by now that it didn't take long for the group to settle themselves. A few hundred yards from the gates of Sparta, they sat waiting, spearmen in front, Archers and Peltasts behind, cavalry in the rear.

Abreas and his personal guard of men settled in the rear. They would see action today, they would all see action today.

"Prepare yourselves for attack! Keep them at spear length! Remember, they are desperate, we are disciplined. But they have nothing to lose! The caged animal always fights hardest!" Abreas could feel his voice beginning to strain. "Archers, fire once they are in range!"

The echoing sound of acknowledgement from the men echoed across the fields. The silence that followed seemed to cover the whole of Greece. Not a bird chirped, the horses did not grunt. The flashes he always had continued in his mind, of glorious victory"… or of his death in a painful defeat.

The gates of Sparta opened.

Slowly, the soldiers garrisoned inside began to file out. For a moment, Abreas considered moving his lines up, allowing his archers an early shot, but decided against. He'd learned already how skilled the Greek hoplites were at ignoring and avoiding missiles. If they hung back, they forced them to make the run across the field.

"I do not see their general my leader." Timon commented. "He must be elsewhere, ready to support his men."

"From the outsides, most likely." He frowned. They would need every horse the could to break the back of the Hoplites, wasting men dealing with their general was not a prospect he enjoyed.

"They're charging us!"

Abreas' head snapped up, looking across at his rivals. Indeed, the Greeks were attacking, speartips down, at the ready, three phalanxes were slowly approaching their position. That did not concern him so much as the charging mass of golden helmets and red cloaks.

"Eighty of Sparta's finest." Timon said, "They head right for the weakest parts of our line, our militia. Should I tell them to switch position with the Pike Phalanx?"

"It would ruin our line. No, they will hold, they must hold the line."

The Spartans were moving quickly, like the hellions they were. Only Spartan men would be as crazy as to charge a Phalanx, and only Spartan men would charge a Phalanx with nothing more than their swords to attack with. And only Spartan men knew that their odds were perfectly good.

"HOLD THE LINE!" Abreas cried, wheeling his horse towards the left of the line, where the Spartans were headed. "Archers, at the ready!"

The Cretian archers were, if anything, prompt. He'd barely finished the words when eighty bows lifted lighted arrows, drew the drawstrings, and prepared.

"FIRE!" Abreas thrust his sword forwards, and the Archers unleashed their deadly payload, contrails of smoke spiraling behind the arrows as they screamed across towards their targets.

The Cretians were accurate. But Spartans are Spartans. Not a one fell. Now they bore down on the Miltia Hoplites, swords at the ready, a fierce warcry seeming to rattle Abreas's own army.

"General?" Timon's concern, while appreciated, was not helping. Abreas had to remember the lessons he had been taught all those years ago. Let the enemy come to you, force them to react to the situation"…

The Spartans crashed into the poor Miltia Hoplites, going right past the assorted pikes and spears, bringing their anger to bear upon the men themselves, cutting a swath or terror and blood through the first few ranks. If those men broke, all was for naught.

"HOLD THE LINE!" Abreas commanded again. "HOLD YOUR POSITONS MEN!" He quickly rode up just behind his Hoplites, gesturing to the group just to their left. "You men! Fold in, as we practiced!"

Greek hoplites of this quality were only to be defeated in one manner. Overwhelming force, Abreas simply couldn't match the quality. The goal was to treat each of their armies like a sword being forged. Once the metal is placed upon the anvil, bring the hammer down. And, as his hoplites moved into position behind the Spartans and lowered their spears, he couldn't help but smile.

Counting the Spartans, the Greeks only had four units of Hoplite infantry with which to attack, and still, their general, Diomedes of Sparta was nowhere to be seen. Worrisome, at the least.

"Our right flank is engaged! They are beginning their main attack!" The cry came across the battlefield, and, as Abreas surveyed the growing carnage, he said a silent prayer to Ares, to protect him and to help him win the day.

The Spartans had all but cut through the Militia Hoplites, less than 20 of their original number remained, but they impressed by staunchly refusing to cut and run. They traded blow after blow with the Spartans, who were finally beginning to see their men drop at the hands of the Phalanx behind them. Still, however, with two units of Armored Hoplites and regular Hoplites to contend, the battle was far from over.

"Cavalry, move out!" Abreas kicked his horse into action, running to move around the right flank of his armies lines. The hope was, whichever units of enemy hoplites he could not fold upon with other soldiers, he would crush and break with a cavalry charge. If the move did not have the intended effect, Macedonia would lose many fine cavalrymen in the attempt.

"Move, move, move!" He swung his sword forwards, urging his men onwards. Every moment counted now, every second was a Macedonian dead, an advantage gained by the elite Greek Hoplite warriors. He pressed his horse harder, whipping around the right side of the battle line, coming to a halt at in the clear, behind two groups of Greek Hoplites.

"Diomedes sir!" Timon said from his left. "He intends to catch us unawares, break our lines!"

Indeed, the Spartan and his elite guard had appeared from the left side of the walls of Sparta, and were bearing down on the unit of hoplites that had engaged the Spartan warriors from behind. There was no way to catch up to them in time"…

Abreas whipped around in his saddle, turning to look over his numbers once more. Fifty-five of Macedonia's finest cavalry, along with his elite guard. It would have to work.

"We kill their general now, we end this now!" He raised his sword, readying his men for the charge.

Turning his head, he looked over at Timon, and nodded.

"For honor."

"For glory." His friend nodded, readying his spear.

"Men, for Macedonia! CHARGE!!!!"

Abreas had always wished that he could be one of the gods, looking down at the battle as it happens, seeing the spectacle of men fighting men for their favor. He wondered what he must've looked like, seventy cavalry storming across Greek plains, every moment bringing them closer to combat.

Diomedes made the battle lines before he did, crashing into the flanking group of hoplites from behind. His guard was not at its full compliment, but it was large enough to damage. Still, the men did not break. There would be a great feast to the men's bravery after this battle.

His horse seemed borne on the wings of Mercury, preparing to crash home the charge. He egged his horse on faster, harder, pointing his sword and letting out a fierce warcry echoed by his own very men.

He could see the glint of the helmet, the cape, the crest that denoted Diomedes of Sparta, but lost it as his horse thrashed through his own men and stormed into one of Diomedes's men. The charge was of sufficient size that the Macedonian Cavalry, in their numbers, ended up crashing into a neighboring group of Greek hoplites, slaughtering men in the initial shock of the charge.

Pushing his steed through the men fighting on the ground, he came to one of Diomedes's guard, catching him unawares, a swift blow of his sword cutting his arm to the bone before a solid thrust under his armor sent him keeling off his horse. Leaning to one side, his blade swung again, raking itself down the back of one of the Spartans.

With every swing of the sword, every clash of metal, every time a blow hit home, the screams and sounds all rang inside of his helmet. The cacophony was deafening, immeasureable, horrific"… and yet, he pressed on.

As he reached to swing at another Spartan warrior, he felt the clang of a blade along the side of his helmet. Reeling, grasping widly at the reins of his mount, he turned to face his new opponent as best he could, only to see him bearing down upon him, sword in hand"…

His opponent fell off his horse dead moments later, Timon's accurate slice removing much of his head from his shoulders, his advisor letting out a keening cry.

"Retreat! Retreat!"

Abreas did not know the voice calling out the command. But it was there, persistent, pleading.

It was the Spartans! The Spartans were broken!

They had destroyed the unit of Hoplites they had faced, but those Hoplites had fought to the last man, allowing another group to get into place to engage the Spartans, and to hold them in place. Through sheer attrition, their numbers dwindled down to less than 10 now, all trying to find their way through a maze of spears and swords to safety. His men, encircling them, were closing in for the kill now, closing off all routes of escape.

"Let none escape!" Abreas yelled, beginning to wheel his mount. "Kill them all! Cavalry, pull back and prepare!"

Removing himself from the conflagration was like wading through mud, but slowly, he began to emerge from the scene, happily no worse for the wear, other than the ringing in his ears from the close call he had had. His guard were still alive in number, and, as he turned back, he was happy to note that Diomedes was not so lucky. Sheer numbers had reduced his elite guard down to the last few, the general himself hacking and slashing wildly to try and forge a way out of the throng of Macedonian men. He did fight with all the heroism and ferocity that Abreas expected of the Spartans, but one Spartan is not the worth of fifty armed Macedons.

Abreas did not join the cheer that went up as Diomedes was pulled from his saddle and disappeared into the mass of infantry. There was still work to be done.

"Diomedes is dead my lord!" Timon cheered. "Their hearts must be filled with fear! The day is nearly ours!"

"Not until every last Greek retreats." Abreas turned his horse to the last, strongest group of Greek Hoplites remaining. "Not until they all are dead my men! Once again, CHARGE!"

The last charge did not last long. The amassed force of
the remaining 50 cavalrymen from behind utterly broke the remaining Greek Hoplites. Much to Abreas' pleasure, the Pike Phalanx had done a more than admirable job of holding off the remaining Hoplites, allowing another unit to fold upon them and destroy them as well.

By the end of the day, Sparta stood without 325 of its favored sons, defenseless as the conquering army of Macedon now walked the streets. Abreas himself took great pride in taking Diomedes place upon the seat of the Governor of Sparta, removing his helmet with a sigh and a slow smile.

"Timon, send a messenger for Thessalonica." His voice was weary, yet still strong. "Tell Antigonos that Sparta is his to command."

A couple of questions?

What''s the latest date anyone has played the game to so far? Just curious.

Are there any repercussions for ignoring the senate? For most of my campaign I''ve just ignored them except when it suited me and haven''t noticed any problems. But now I''m about to go to war with Briton and Rome is yelling at me to back off. Am I gonna have the Legions come down on me for hitting an ally of Rome?