Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
Unfortunately, for the people of Antioch in my next novel, this is not a good time to be in town. You see, the Mongolians have invaded….
Enjoy the tantalizing sneak peek at Antioch Burns, my 2nd novella that is still in the pipeline. I hope you like the tidbit.
. Copper Centurion should be out on iTunes this weekend as well. If you like the novels, please rate and review them so that others can join the world of Romanpunk.
*and remember to wear sunscreen!*
The countryside flew by at a prodigious rate, the horses of the auxilia scouting unit eating up the leagues of rolling hills and farmland. The double score of men rode two abreast, sunlight shinning off their glittering scale armor. The detachment of horsemen sent up a thin cloud of dust from the dirt road as they crested a low rise, their leader reining in his steed. Decanus Orestus Flavian reached into his saddlebag and pulled out a map. He traced their route with his gloved finger.
“According to the merchant’s report, he saw the burning homes down this way. He also said there was a lot of easterner cavalry. Pah!” He laughed. “Probably one of those damnable tribal disputes lighting up again. Stupid civilian probably hasn’t ever seen a real eastern horseman in his life.” He quipped to his auxilia. Several of his men laughed. They had been together for some time. Flavian liked to say that he had been born in the saddle. Out here on the eastern border of the Imperial Roman Empire, the massed cavalry forces of the eastern Mongolian Khannates were the main threat, and the Romans had been forced to develop their forces in kind. Flavian was one of the original founders, boys picked from the riding stables of various major cities, given weapons and armor and sent to fight on horses not designed for the job. The fact that he survived the two years of brutal, no-holds-barred warfare spoke to his skill and tenacity. That he rose in rank to lead an auxilia detachment, the ground based eyes and ears of the Roman Army, spoke to his intelligence.
Using this intelligence now, Flavian guided his men off the dirt roadway, to better mask their dust cloud as they approached the supposed scene of the attack. They rode through the field, trampling the high crops with impunity. Finally, the horsemen crested a short rise, and the officer reined his men in.
“In the name of Jupiter…” Flavian’s jaw dropped, gaping at the sight laid out before him.