"Praise be unto the Most High God!!! A victory to match those of the great Caesar and the legendary legions of Rome!!!
The winter has been a merciful one. God has granted us a winter free from plague and with only moderate snowfall. Now, as spring brightens the air and the last of the snow is but a memory, the campaigning season opens. Lord Andruciuus has not been idle through the winter. He continues to put the levy through their paces, sending regular patrols north to the great River Humbre from whence the Saex usually come. He has strengthened the borders of the kingdom with watchtowers and the garrisons from these patrol the coast and the river border. Thus it was that Lord Andrucius did learn of the latest raid from the heathen, coming from across the Humbre intent on pillaging the villages nearby.
By forced marching from the East where the main army had wintered, Andrucius caught up with the enemy as they prepared to raid the village of Storicum-by-Humbre. The village nestles along the slopes of a large hill and the Saex approached through the valley, seemingly oblivious to the approach of the Lord Andrucius and his vanguard comprising the elite commanipulares and milites. The levy, led by Geraint and Maximus Minimus approached in reserve.
The battle that followed was a bloody and brutal affair. The main body of Saex advanced on the village while two groups of warriors, led by the same hulking drunkard who had previously despoiled the fair chapel of St Cadwyr, did assail the Lord Andricius' vanguard as it emerged from the Eastern marshes. The fight was fierce and deadly. The Lord Andrucius, wielding his blade with deadly skill, supported by his brave soldiers, slaughtered the heathen like wheat before the scythe, the combat ending as the Tribune's blade finally rent a mighty gash in the belly of the howling Seax hero sending him across the Bridge of Swords to his heathen gods! Verily was the rape of the fair chapel of St Cadwyr and the loss of his Holy Knucklebone avenged as the surviving Saex fled the field, dragging their dead leader with them.
While this happened, the remaining Saex, led by their heroes, continued to advance upon the village. At that moment, our brave levy arrived onto the field and, forming shieldwall at the edge of a wood, did mightily tempt the Saex Lord's hearthguard into action. Abandoning their advance on the village, the Saex lord's hearthguard did advance on the brave levy, while the remaining warriors and archers entered the village.
As the Saex lord's guard launched their assault, the levy braced their shieldwall and, encouraged by the mighty exhortations of the diminutive Maximus Minimus, held their ground against the very best that the Saex could throw at them. So well did the levy peform, that Anducius' depleted warband, having skirted the woods, came upon them from behind. Though their charge was at best lack-lustre, with many of the commanipulares suffering wounds in the fight, the Saex were bested and their formation broken. At this moment, the Decurio Geraint, who had joined with the milites, seeing his chance for revenge against his former captors, ordered a mighty volley of javelins as his men charged into the attack. Under this hail of missiles and, almost surrounded by our brave warriors, the Saex broke and fled, abandoning the field, the village and their dead, only escaping by virtue of the fact that our men were too exhausted to pursue.
Great was the victory, yet at its end did come a moment of darkness that lends a bitter aftertaste. The Decurio Geraint, still in the grip of battle-rage, did order that the bodies of the Saex that remained on the field should be mounted on spears and planted along the banks by the ford of the great river as a warning to the heathen. It is said that the Lord Andrucius did find this most distasteful, but did not countermand the order for fear of dampening the spirits of his men, which were greatly enhanced by the victory.
This was unbeknown to the populace who, on gaining news of the greatness of the victory did immediately give unto the Lord Andrucius the name of 'Impaler', a name which his Royal Majesty King Mascuidius has requested be written into the official records of the time. His Majesty has also finally recognised Lord Andrucius' promotion to Praefectus. This was achieved after the successful defence of Bleddig's farm almost a year ago, yet was not recognised due to the later defeats and uncontested raids later that year. His Majesty is a hard taskmaster, tis true!
So a most mighty victory has been won and the kingdom has gained a few short months grace, as the Saex lost many men in the fight, including their infamous drunken hero. The Praefectus Andrucius has gained aditional followers swelling the ranks of the milites so that one unit is now greater in number than before. However, the indignity done unto the Saex dead may well be our undoing for there will now be blood-feud between us as well as their insatiable desire for our land. I fear that this victory, great though it surely has been, may yet be our undoing..."
Well goodness me!! What a humdinger of a game! I genuinely thought, when Mike rolled for 3 turns of movement and only 3 of my groups arrived on the field, that this was going to be a defeat!! As it was, it was a see-saw of a game that made me REALLY sorry I forgot my camera! I have a few pics taken on my (crap) phone, so I'll insert these into the text, but they aren't great!
First problem was the village location. Being in the top right hand corner meant that the Saxons had two table edges within inches of the houses. This meant that, if they successfully looted the houses, they could be off in one or two activations. Second problem was Mike's 3 turns of movement before I came on. Luckily he only threw 9s for pretty much everything, but that meant that his men were over a third of the way to their objective before I appeared. Then my force morale roll was as bad as it could get so I was on the lowest amount possible while the Saxons started one better. Add to that only 3 groups on for me and I was worried!!
|The table at the end of Mike's pre-game moves|
Anyway, the fight in the marsh went my way (eventually...we fought it twice as Mike activated them on the wrong noble card first time, utterly tw*tting my force, at which point I DID think I was TOTALLY screwed! However, we put it all back and did it properly!!) After a flurry of 'Step Forth' cards, I desperately tried to gain the advantage (and failed - I played one to leap into Mike's turn and he trumped it with another - curses!!). However, Mike's attack was blunted by less than average dice rolls and the combat went to successive rounds with poor Leofric eventually dying at the hands of the British warbands and all bar one of his 12 men dying with him!! Result - and it should have been, as 2 units of Saxon warriors had faced off against 2 of Briton warriors plus British elites and the warlord plus his champion! Saxon force morale plummeting!
|The body of Leofric the Drunkard being carried from the field by a faithful retainer|
|The British warbands after the destruction of Leofric's forces|
By this time, I'd gotten Andrucius' warband round the woods and into action. It wasn't quite a flank attack, but I did have a Carpe Diem hand - a GOOD one!! However, these were my dice!!!
|How many 1 and 2's (I had 'Aggressive Charge')???|
|HA!! No casualties on the milites...will I repeat for the commanipulares? Not a bloody chance mate!!!|
Now came the crucial point of the game.
|It's looking bleak for the Saxons...|
|Game Over! Saxon force morale gone...|
This was a great example of everything that is so good about this game. The game was on a knife-edge throughout. The scenario was great (and played totally differently from the first time we played it) We both had some dire dice rolls (although Mike had more than his fair share) and the cards really came into their own - my tactical use of 'Strong Arm' being the game winner.
Once again, huge thanks to Mike for being the ever splendid opponent. We hope to reconvene next week to play the next game of the campaign...