54,000 Words for Laurel Emperor

Salve! Here’s today’s snippet of what’s happening in the novel! Still making good progress on the goal of 80,000 for NaNoWriMo2017 with 27ish days to go! As a reminder, be sure to subscribe to the blog for up to date news in your inbox!

Not sure what’s going on? Check out my other novels to learn all the background of the Steam Empire Chronicles!

“Get those mechaniphants turned around. Take the gate! We can still crush them. We have six legions, by Mars’ sake.” He ordered. Messengers fled from his presence. Minnicus ignored them, as he strode ahead. The men of the III Hispania cowered behind their shields, but he would show them. Athanatoi ran ahead of him, their shields deflecting incoming fire. He peaked over their shoulders as they paused. The wooden and iron ramparts of the loyalist castellum were crammed full with soldiers, and those new roofs they had assembled… even Minnicus had to admit they were a good idea.

“And figure out what our air fleet is doing. They were supposed to be here hours ago! The loyalist fleet hasn’t even put up a fight!”

Ahead, the legions slowly began to move, even as the messengers reached their overwhelmed junior officers. One of his handful of mechaniphants even managed to turn around, scattering his own men in it’s wake, before charging at the gate.

A mechanical screech and earth shaking crunch echoed out over the battlefield. The mechaniphant was in flames, obviously the result of some close-in defenses. But the beast’s momentum was unstoppable, and it slammed into the gate, collapsing the walls and setting fire to the battlements. The legions were already advancing now.

Minnicus considered the situation. Two of his legions were still on flank security, with a third one in reserve. Three of his legions were engaged with the fort’s defenders.

“They can’t have more than a single legion and whatever remnants of the Syrians managed to escape.” He said to himself. “Send forward the XII Silician around to the right. They’ll stretch the defenders and we can overwhelm them on two sides.” More messengers dropped away.

Now Minnicus smiled, looking at his Athanatoi. “Now we take that fort.” He pulled his sword and began to jog forward. More and more legionnaires, seeing their commander moving ahead, followed in his wake. Minnicus felt pride in his men, mixed with contempt for their officers. When this battle is done, we’ll look at finding some more loyal men to police these units. Someone with the right…qualities.

“Let’s go, boys!” He shouted. Repeater bolts sliced past him as his feet thumped on the dry dirt. Small fires burned everywhere, no doubt started by the embers of the wrecked mechaniphant. A cheering wave of soldiers followed him, aiming for the newly opened gap where the gate once stood. Dazed enemy legionnaires struggled to form a line over the hole, shrinking back from the intense heat of the burning war machine.

The same searing heat forced the attackers to narrow their front. Only a slim, narrow band of men could push past to attack. Minnicus, his armored prosthesis whirring as he swung his spatha, crushing shields and throwing men to the ground. Blood flowed onto the thirsty ground as his men advanced.

“Break them!” He spat, his Athanatoi pushing past him, finally managing to form a cordon around their charge. The men of the III and XVI Hispania advanced with him, funnelling into the narrow breach. The crumbling defenses gave way and legionnaire met legionnaire inside the walls.


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Author: Daniel Ottalini

Author of the Award-Winning Steam Empire Chronicles Series

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