IMPERATOR: The Last Maurician

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous, Aug 15, 2019.

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  1. Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous Dux Theodoros ton Khaldeia

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    Trapezous, Duxate ton Khaldeia
    Should have announced this last week, but IMPERATOR is going on indefinite hiatus due to personal issues.
     
  2. ImperialxWarlord Well-Known Member

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    Aug 7, 2018
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    Illinois
    Jesus Christ, are you ok?
     
  3. Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous Dux Theodoros ton Khaldeia

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    Location:
    Trapezous, Duxate ton Khaldeia
    I'm fine, don't worry. Just a stressful time at school and with family.
     
  4. ImperialxWarlord Well-Known Member

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    Aug 7, 2018
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    Illinois
    Damn, I’m sorry to hear that. I hope it all works you for you. You and your work will be missed.
     
  5. Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous Dux Theodoros ton Khaldeia

    Joined:
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    Trapezous, Duxate ton Khaldeia
    Thanks. I'll be back.
     
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  6. ImperialxWarlord Well-Known Member

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    Aug 7, 2018
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    Illinois
    I hate to be nosy but do you have any sort of time table or estimate for how long that may be? I hate to sound rude but I had an author who’s work I really liked just drop off the face of the earth so now I’m paranoid about every writer who says they’re on a hiatus.
     
  7. Basileus_Komnenos Imperator Romanorum Βασιλεύς των Ρωμαιων Αὔγουστος

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2018
    I understand that feeling too man. One minute you’re reading a fic only to see that it’s been abandoned for years where you’ll never see the ending you wanted. But authors have issues and other stuff to deal with. Sometimes that demands more concerns which takes time away from stuff like this.
     
  8. ImperialxWarlord Well-Known Member

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    Illinois
    Im very much aware of this. It’s just something that I can’t help but asking.
     
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  9. Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous Dux Theodoros ton Khaldeia

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    Trapezous, Duxate ton Khaldeia
    I'm hoping for sometime in mid-October, but late December at the very latest.
     
  10. ImperialxWarlord Well-Known Member

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    Aug 7, 2018
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    Illinois
    Ok, Thankyou. Take your time and get well.
     
  11. StevenIronside Well-Known Member

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    Mar 5, 2019
    I understand this feeling well i was reading the book series of Hannibals children finished the second only to find there was no third the author died before he finished t
     
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  12. Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous Dux Theodoros ton Khaldeia

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
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    Trapezous, Duxate ton Khaldeia
    Something similar happened to me. I read a series called 'Cypher' in third grade. I had read 3 of 6 books, only to find that the author had been convicted on CP charges and was beaten to death in prison before finishing the Fourth.
     
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  13. Threadmarks: Update #5—It lives!

    Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous Dux Theodoros ton Khaldeia

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    Location:
    Trapezous, Duxate ton Khaldeia
    Alright, so I've got to the point where I can start writing again, but the schedule will be somewhat shaky. I'm hoping for every other day at the worst.
    —————
    15 July 609 - ~2 hours later

    Iustinainus glanced down at the road and then back up at the hills. They were still quiet, the sky blessedly blue with no trace of the dust clouds that would mark an approaching army. He looked back at the riders behind them. They were strung out along the road, but somehow none of them had gotten themselves. Impressing, in a way. He looked forward again. They were coming up on the ruins of a small tower. Inscribed on it in huge letters in a script that he couldn’t read. He reigned up.
    “Delius!”
    The Decurio rode up beside him. “Yes, Magister?”
    Iustinainus pointed at the building. “What does that say?”
    Delius cocked his head. “I can’t read Punic well, but I think it says ‘something something Annibas.’” he looked over at Iustinainus “It’s about eight hundred years old, sir.”
    Iustinainus nodded, then swung off his saddle and handed the reigns to Delius. “I’m going to go see if there’s anything salvageable inside. Yell when the rest of the men catch up.”
    “Magister, I don’t think that’s a good idea-“
    He waved him off. “I’ll be fine.”
    Delius started to protest, but sighed and closed his mouth.
    Iustinainus stopped in front of the rotting door that hung over the entrance. He could make out faint Latin lettering on it. AVGVSTVS. Evidently Annibas hadn’t been the last one to use it. He gently pushed it open, only for it to crash to the ground in a cloud of splinters. At least he could be sure that there weren’t any Visigoths hiding inside. Or anyone, for that matter.
    The first floor consisted of of one room, with a small kitchen and rotting bunks on the far wall. The floor was stone, but he still stepped lightly as he crossed the room. He picked up a small iron pot up off a hearth and flipped it over. A few bronze furcae fell out. He picked them up and put them back in. He rifled through the bunks and found a small iron knife and a copper crucifix, as well as many other smaller items that had rotted out. He scanned the rest of the floor for the glint of metal before easing his way up the wooden stairs to the second floor.
    Most of the furniture had rotted away, leaving only the remains of a few crates on the second floor. He raked through them, producing a broken buccinae. He softly walked across to a small interior wall that was covered with a tattered blue cloak. He pushed it aside. Jackpot.
    Four thyresoi were hung on the wall. He pulled them down and tiptoed back down the stairs and out through the empty doorway. The whole search took about fifteen minutes.
    Delius and five other horsemen were waiting outside. They were all staring agape back towards Malaca. He did as well.
    Horn-boy, the kid who hadn’t even known which part of the saddle to sit on, was riding towards them. Backwards. Sitting sideways in the saddle. Iustinainus grabbed the reigns of the horsemen nearest to him.
    “What’s your name, Miles?”
    He sighed, looking at horn-boy, "Quintus Orcivius, sir."
    Iustinainus untied his cloak, put the things from the fortress in it and tied it back up. He handed it to Quintius and said, “Take this back to Malaca and don’t let anyone open it until either I get back or three days from now if we don’t return. Take that retard- what’s his name?”
    “Lucius Orcivius, sir.”
    He paused. “Is he your brother?”
    “Cousin, sir.”
    “Alright, take this and your cousin back to Malaca. Got it?”
    “Yes, sir.”
    Aelianus tied the sack to his saddle and rode towards Horn-boy. Iustinainus grabbed the reigns from Delius and mounted. He nodded to the Decurio, then continued along the road. Delius started shouting orders as he rode on.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019 at 11:35 PM
  14. ImperialxWarlord Well-Known Member

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    Glad you’re back!
     
  15. Threadmarks: Update #6 - In hindsight, I really should have combined 5&6

    Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous Dux Theodoros ton Khaldeia

    Joined:
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    Trapezous, Duxate ton Khaldeia
    16 July 609 ~12:00

    As they rode on past the tower, Iustinianus couldn’t help but feel that a cloud of desolation was wrapping itself around him. The landscape was sharp and hilly, with the mountains rising to his left and the flat plain of the sea barely visible on the horizon. There were no forests, no plants and hardly any grass, all stripped away by years of constant warfare.
    Across the barren land were the ruins of old Roman villas and their accompanying buildings. Their once-white marble walls were bleached yellow by decades of neglect under the harsh Iberian sun and their wooden supports had either been taken or rotted away. The land itself oozed with a feeling of illness and decline.
    “Vanitas, vanitas…” he sighed, thinking of both the builders of the abandoned structures and of the pride of namesake.
    “…universias vanitas.”
    He glanced behind him. Delius had ridden up to a few feet behind him and was scanning the crests of the surrounding hills. Good, he was a quick learner. Iustinianus looked up at the peaks as well. The only sound was the clatter of hooves on the old road and the whistling hiss of the wind through burnt stalks.
    After a few minutes, the decurio broke the silence.
    “What are we looking for?”
    “Iron. There’s a mine about-“
    “Twenty miles out.” Iustinianus glared back at him. Delius’ expression didn’t change “Hadrianus, the smith, won’t shut up about it. I was asking about what you were looking for when he look at the hills.”
    “First of all, don’t cut me off.” he snapped. After he few seconds he spoke. “Dust clouds. They’re kicked up by any force of size marching.”
    “What color?” There was a twinge of tension in his voice. Iustinianus stopped and turned to face him.
    “Light brown, why?”
    “Drifting upwards, not low on the ground?” there was a tight cord of tension in his voice.
    “Yes.”
    Delius’ expression was somewhere between a grimace and a look of fright. “Sir, I saw a very large light brown cloud back when we were leaving Malaca.”
    “Where from?”
    “The hills to the west of the city.”
    He rocked forward in the saddle, clenching its front and pressing his face against its bridge. A million thoughts flew his mind, most of them I—We—are so dead. After a few seconds he forced himself to take a breath and go through what Mauricius had taught him.
    Position. A few hours’ ride from the nearest Roman outpost. Threat. A sizable Visigothic force between him and Malaca. Assets. Six horsemen, all but two novice riders. Outside factors. None. Plan. Plan? Run like hell.
    He looked back up. Delius was staring at him with a grave look. Another of the horsemen had ridden up behind them, looking back and forth between them. He put his head back down. Could they even make it? Probably not, but they had lost too much time already.
    But if the Visigoths had already taken the city, there would be no refuge there. They would have to ride for Sparteriosis. Did they have enough supplies to even get to Sparteriosis?
    He sat back up and leaned back in the saddle. “Decurio, ride back to Malaca. Stop a few miles outside the town, see if the Visigoths are there. If they aren’t, come out and get us. We’ll be at the mines. Got it?”
    Delius gave a sharp nod.
    “Repeat it back to me.”
    “Go to Malaca, if the Visigoths aren’t there, ride out and get you.” he blinked “Magister, what do I do if the Goths are there?”
    Iustinianus blinked back. "Run."
     
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  16. Paschalis Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2019
    uhhh this is getting tense, i wonder how Iustinianus will make something out of just a few towns at best and some guys fighting with him.
     
  17. Threadmarks: Update #7 - Yeah, there's a time skip, but there wasn't anything important between them

    Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous Dux Theodoros ton Khaldeia

    Joined:
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    17 July 609
    ~06:00

    “Magister!”
    Iustinianus’ eyes flicked open. The sky was tinted with the light purple of pre-dawn and a few stars were still visible. He blinked. Something seemed wrong. Then it hit him. He could see the stars. No tent. They hadn’t brought tents on the expedition.
    “Magister!”
    His head snapped up. One of the miles—his thought his name was Lucius—was running up the side of the hill towards him. He scrambled to his feet, snatching his sword from the side of his bedroll.
    “Yes, Miles?”
    Lucius stopped a few feet before him, panting. “Delius…he’s back…Goths…at Malaca…and…they…wait, stop!”
    He took off past Lucius, sprinting down the hill. The makeshift pen that the horses were tied up in, constructed from a few villa doors dragged across the mouth of a small depression, was open with the doors thrown aside and the rest of the Romans crowded around its mouth. He slowed as he came up on them, pushing aside the four others as they shot him worried looks.
    Delius was slumped against the ground, two arrows protruding from his arm and back. His head hung limply over his other shoulder and he was faintly mumbling something that Iustinianus couldn’t make out. He stooped, kneelbeside him.
    “Decurio.”
    Delius tilted his head up, straining to looking Iustinianus in the eye.
    “Magister…” he rasped.
    “Yes?” Iustinianus said, trying to keep his voice calm in spite of his concern for the Miles—part personal and part logistical.
    Delius began to respond, only for a cough to sieze him and spit a small bit of blood from his mouth. He stopped, took a deep breath and then finished his response. “There were Goths at Malaca…I counted at least eight hundred.” He coughed again, spitting up more blood, then gasped, “They followed…”
    “They followed?” one of the other men interrupted, “How many is they?”
    “Easy!” Iustinianus snapped, whipping around and glaring at him, “Let him breath!”
    Behind him, Delius weakly moaned “I’m not sure…I think fifty.”
    The magister resisted the edge to slam his head into the ground as panic rose in his chest. Fifty Goths? Fifty?! There was no way in hell that they could survive, let alone defeat that many enemies. His gut urge was to flee immediately, leaving everything behind and fleeing for Sparteriosis whether his men would follow or not.
    Get it together, Iustinainus. Think. Position? Their camp was in a small valley, ringed by forested hills except for two small ruts, one of which the Goths would be coming through and the other of which led into a dried swamp. Threat? Fifty Gothic warriors, coming through one specific entrance to the dip. Assets? Five able-bodied men, one wounded, six horses, several bows and a few spears and their tents. Outside factors? He looked up. The sky was cloudless, and the locals had told him they were in the middle of a heatwave. Alright, he knew what he was working with.
    He rose from his crouch, turning and beginning to pace. They hadn’t passed any streams on their way and had been drinking from their waterskins. Odds were, the Goths would’ve been scrambled after Delius and so wouldn’t have much water with them. They would be demoralized, thirsty and hot. Good, it wouldn’t take much to route—
    Heat. Fire. Fill the tents with dry reeds, bait them into the valley and then block the openings, let them burn. He broke from his stride and turned to the nearest man.
    “Name?”
    “Phillippus Apprinius, sir.”
    “Phillippus, you and him,” he pointed at the man next to him, “go and get as many dry reeds from that marsh that we found last night. Bring them to the camp, then go back and get some more.” He pivoted back to Delius. “How long do we have?”
    “Maybe…a few hours.” he murmured.
    Good, good. He spun around again, pointing to the other two men.
    “You two get Delius up the hill, get him behind a log or something and then come back. Get all the food and weapons and other shit from the tents and put it with Delius. Make sure it’s well out of view. Make sure to leave the tents up, though.”
    He faced them all. “Everyone know what they’re doing?”
    They all nodded.
    “I’m going to go take the horses up behind the hill. Go!”
     
  18. [totally a legit person] [totally not an bot]

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2019
    Hi, nice idea for a timeline, and a great update too, I'm certainly going to watch this, I hope you have good luck with writing more updates to come.
     
  19. Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous Dux Theodoros ton Khaldeia

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    Mar 12, 2019
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    Trapezous, Duxate ton Khaldeia
    Thanks.
     
  20. Sphenodon Well-Known Member

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    Jul 15, 2018
    A fascinating premise, with good prose to boot. Glad to see you back in action!
     
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