“Your Majesty, we in the Mountain Reconnaissance Brigade had undergone the toughest training in the past decade just for this day! You can rest assured that we will succeed even if it rains heavily and the river swells!” Izam said proudly as he finally showed his true colour.
“Excellent, that’s the Izam I know!” Davos laughed and said, “Don’t forget to send someone to notify me after your mission is successful.”
Davos then looked at the legates and asked, “What’s your impression after seeing Rome?”
“Your Majesty, although Rome’s walls are ugly, walking around them shows how long they are and means that the city should be large as well…” Davos added to Olivos’ words, “According to the information we now have, Rome has a seven-kilometre long wall. And Rome was known as the City of Seven Hills because there are seven hills within the city, so its actual size is much bigger than we thought.”
“However, with the Romans taking all their soldiers on the campaign to conquer Hernici and leaving few soldiers in the city who could fight, they will expose their weakness of having insufficient troops by defending such a long wall…”
Matonis also chimed in, “I’ve just noticed that the quality of their soldiers is horrible. Ledes, would it be possible to send a cavalry squad towards the wall to test them?”
With Davos’s acquiescence, Ledes promptly sent a cavalry squad to approach the city wall. However, as they rode diagonally towards the wall, the Roman soldiers became agitated and began to rain down javelins and arrows. But despite the enemies’ sudden attack, the swift cavalry squad was able to retreat quickly from the area.
Seeing the result, the veteran generals watch with relaxed smiles on their faces. After all, it was impossible for cavalry to attack a walled city, not to mention the fact that a small number of men would pose no threat to the wall, so the Roman soldiers could have handled the situation calmly without wasting their javelins and arrows on such a hasty attack.
“Your Majesty, you ordered our various legions to attack different sections of Rome’s walls at the same time instead of concentrating our forces in one or two places in order to force the Romans to spread out their temporarily recruited and poorly trained soldiers, weakening their defences and allowing us to break through the city faster and easier!” Matonis said, glancing triumphantly at Olivos.
Olivos cursed inwardly since Matonis’ words were what he wanted to say but couldn’t finish his words.
“But while we are attacking the city of Rome in full force, Rome’s colonial city-states and allies would surely send reinforcements after getting notified!” Giorgris reminded with concern, “Especially the Romans that are attacking the Hernicans and the Roman army that we had just defeated to the west. If they arrive while we are attacking the city-”
“The Roman army in the west suffered heavy losses yesterday, and the pursuit of the First and Second Cavalry Legions captured many of their routed troops. Our legion soldiers alone had removed the hands and feet of over three thousand captured Romans. And this doesn’t include the Romans’ casualties in the battle and those who fled, so they are unlikely to pose any further threat to us for a while.” Litom affirmed, “As for the Roman army in the northeast-”
“They do have a large army, but from our information, their camp is more than fifty kilometres from here, with an uneven road in between, so a normal march would take them at least three or four days. By then, we would have occupied Rome already!” Trotidis said loudly.
“Do not take the enemy lightly!” Davos warned them sternly, “The Roman dictator Camillus isn’t a simple person. He had fought in countless battles, had a great deal of experience in warfare and had also commanded many battles and had never suffered defeat-” As he said that, Davos saw Amintas smirking but soon frowned as he remembered how his last battle with Camillus had resulted in the First Legion suffering heavy losses.
“So we cannot judge the army led by Camillus according to the usual situation… Two days!” Davos pondered for a moment, held out his two fingers and said thoughtfully, “We need to halve the time required for the Roman army to return. Thus, we can only judge that Camillus and his army will return in two days, so we need to attack Rome tomorrow since we only have one day!” Davos said his last words with emphasis.
The legates felt the pressure upon hearing this.
“The squads of mounted scouts and mountain reconnaissance of each legion are temporarily under my direct command. I will have them scout the enemy movements around Rome throughout the day and report immediately if there is anything unusual. The cavalries of the First and Second Cavalry Legion will remain in camp, recovering their strength, and will be ready to attack at any time. And you-” Davos gazed at the six legates before him, Amintas, Matonis, Litom, Olivos, Giorgris and Trotidis, and said deeply, “Go back to your legion quickly and command them to construct your camp as soon as possible according to the locations I designated. It must be a camp that will allow the soldiers to rest peacefully and ensure a certain level of defence. At the same time, prepare for tomorrow’s siege. Each of you will be responsible for attacking a section of the city wall, and I want to see who will be the first to break through Rome’s defences and enter the city!”
Upon hearing this, the legates exchanged glances and began to feel competitive.
“But you must be careful when attacking and not let the soldiers suffer too many casualties, for capturing the city of Rome is only the beginning, and the real battle is still to come!”
Davos’ words alarmed the legates as they hurried back to their respective legions. After leading the palace guards and the two cavalry legions back, Davos looked at the sky and asked, “Has Epiphanes already departed with his men?”
“If we are following the plan, he should have departed this morning and be on his way now,” replied Tolmides.
Davos thought of another matter and said with a hint of anticipation, “I hope the Volscians and Hernicans can follow the plan and help us buy more time.”
At this moment, Tolmides could feel a sense of tension in the heart of the always invincible commander of Theonia. Since he didn’t know what to say, he decided to remain silent.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Milesius set out this morning feeling somewhat depressed. Although he could not attend yesterday’s Senate meeting as he was not a senator, his father had filled him in on what had happened, leading to a quarrel between them. Milesius admired Camillus and resented that his uncle, Maluginensis, had taken advantage of the dictator’s expedition to direct the other senators to make small moves behind his back. Nevertheless, he decided to accept the task assigned by the Senate, as he felt that he would be much more lenient in making Camillus execute the order than others.
But not long after his departure, he received a new order from the Senate. However, even after they cancelled the order that displeased him, he was still not happy since shock filled his heart, ‘The Theonian army was on its way to the city of Rome!’ Last night, he only heard the Theonian army had landed on the coast. But today, they were already marching to Rome?!
The Theonian army’s speed had completely exceeded Milesius’ expectations, and the sense of crisis had forced him to go even faster.
After passing through Praeneste and Sagnia, the road ahead became increasingly uneven. However, Milesius tried not to slow down.
Suddenly, a horse came rushing, with its rider hugging the horse’s neck tightly. But even after seeing Milesius and his team, the horse ran into them instead of avoiding them.
The soldiers accompanying Milesius rushed forward to intercept, prompting the frightened horse to drop its rider. Since the person was wearing Roman clothing, had a javelin stuck in his back, and was seriously wounded, Milesius had decided to come forward to check on him.
The man woke up with a groan. Seeing Milesius, he immediately said, “I am…I am Caerulus, a servant of Lord Potitus…ahead…the Hernicans had set an ambush…and attacked us…be careful…”
Milesius already knew why Potitus’ slave had appeared here even without thinking about it. So he quickly asked, “How many enemies are there?”
“More than seventy men…”
“So much?!” Milesius was startled, turned to look at the ten soldiers following him, and felt uneasy, ‘Should we push forward? Or turn around and bring more soldiers?’
After a moment’s thought, he decided to turn around and head for Sagnia.
It wasn’t because he feared for his life. On the contrary, he believed his mission was linked to Rome’s survival, so he must not be careless. Besides, Sagnia is close and will only take a little time.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
In fact, when the various legions of Theonia arrived outside the city of Rome, they were already en route to their assigned areas as per the plans agreed upon last night. The engineers of each legion had even drawn up a preliminary construction plan for the entire camp, according to the plan decided upon by Davos and the drawings of the city of Rome. Now all that remains is for them to visit the site in person to revise and confirm the plan.
Soon, they drew up a new camp construction plan.
They then took the legions’ engineering brigade to measure and mark the land outside Rome according to their plan: Where to start digging the trenches? How deep should they dig? Where should they build the earthen wall? How high should they make it? Where would they place the camp gates? The location of the sentry towers?… There are naturally special regulations for constructing Theonia’s field camp, which has undergone multiple battles and revisions. In fact, there isn’t that much to change, and the soldiers were already familiar with it after undergoing countless military training. Therefore, when the legates assigned specific tasks upon their return, the low-ranking officers and soldiers worked feverishly to complete them.”