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Author’s Note: This is an alternative historical piece, focusing on an Amazonian Empire that rose into power instead of Rome. I had fun with it, and tried to take a lot from history, but some stuff I certainly had to change (naming conventions was a big one) just to fit. So there will certainly be some inaccuracies. I do hope you all enjoy.
Also do note the opening is a battle and contains some strong violence, and there will be some M/M in here though the focus is on the F/F content.
The line was breaking, and the screams of the wounded flooded the ears of Rhoda Livia Verina. The trumpeting of elephants was a haunting cry across the battlefield as they continued their charge beyond the third cohort of the ninth legion, and into the fourth who were hopefully more prepared. Two full centuries were little more than smashed corpses and mangled wounded.
Now the infantry were coming in. The rebels letting out their warcries as they rushed the faltered tetsudo of the Amazon line. Shields in front of them, spear tips forward as their feet pounded across the Libyan sands, raising a growing cloud of it behind them, starting to cut off the vision of what lay behind the first line.
Back of her hand dragging across her face to wipe at the sweat, Rhoda looked to her left, at the gaping hole filled with the bodies of Legionaries. The rebels would pass right on through, and start to flank, to widen the gap.
“Fifth century, rear two ranks shift left,” Rhoda shouted. The women under her command didn’t question, instead immediately starting to move. The rear two ranks turning to their left and quickly jogging towards the gap.
Rhoda looked to her side again, met eyes with her fellow centurion in the second century. The woman saw the manoeuvre and lifted her own spatha to acknowledge before she began to bark her own orders.
The Legionaries were moving slowly over the bodies of the fallen, but they managed to get into position before the Libyan rebel charge hit. Their shields raised, swords brought to bear, pilums readied to be thrown, they waited the next command. Bringing her whistle to her lips, Rhoda flexed her fingers around the hilt of her spatha, waiting for the collision of bodies and steel.
With a sharp whistle blast, her century threw a volley. The throwing spears sailed at the charging Libyans, smashing into shields and flesh. A dozen fell, many others tossing away their now unwieldy shields. Without a command, the Amazon line braced themselves. Standing in the middle of her now split Century, Rhoda watched over the rim of her shield; no time for a second volley.
The rebels crashed into the Amazons and fresh screams of pain and death filled the air. Whistled clenched in her teeth, Rhoda caught a spear tip at the edge of her shield. Pushing it aside, she thrust her spatha into the Libyan’s chest. The robes he wore didn’t stop the sharp steel plunging into his ribcage. Using the face of her shield she pushed him off and quickly glanced to either side, inspecting her line.
They were holding. Their shields keeping the rebels at bay while swords stabbed around to find flesh and spill blood. What dry spots of sand was left was being churned by the spilled gore and stomping feet.
Blowing her whistle, Rhoda caught an axe in the centre of her shield. The front rank of her century shifted at the blast, moving sideways through the narrow lanes between their comrades. Rhoda’s sword swept upwards, taking off her attacker’s arm at the elbow while the second rank of her century surged forward, shields smashing, swords stabbing. Rhoda finished her opponent with a side swipe of her spatha, splitting his throat open down to the spine. He fell choking on his own blood.
Another glance to either side. It was getting more difficult to see with the sand rising up around them. She saw a legionary take a spear to her sword arm. She let out a scream, but already those behind were dragging her back into friendly lines, a replacement already stepping in. To the left though, a legionary’s shield was caught and pulled down. A spear thrust inwards, scraping up the centre of her lorica and jamming into her throat. Her eyes went wide and blood poured from her mouth. She tried to fight back, but slumped down on the spear. The rebel didn’t retrieve it in time, the weapon wrenched downwards. It was lost completely from his grip when the dead legionary was shoved forward for the single replacement to step in and plunge her sword into the man’s face.
“Rear rank, reinforce the left,” Rhoda called out, her soldiers immediately complying with her orders, moving with the discipline they had become renowned for.
Another glance. The second century was faltering. She couldn’t see their centurion, whether because she was dead, or because of the haze Rhoda couldn’t be sure. She sent out a sharp blast again, changing up the lines. Taking a step back she grasped one of her nearby soldiers and pulled from the line. Pressing her whistle into the woman’s chest, Rhoda had to shout to be heard.
“Hold this. Until I’m back, Göztepe Escort you’re in charge.”
“Yes ma’am,” the legionary shouted back, bringing the whistle to her lips and stepping to where Rhoda had been.
The Centurion fell back, and started to run. Skirting behind the left side of her own century she moved to close with the other side. Their right was buckling, starting to shrink in length as women were killed. It was creating too large a gasp between the second and fifth centuries.
A rebel charged through the gap and Rhoda met him with her shield. She felt his elbow crack against the centre boss before she slammed the rim under his chin. Blood and teeth shot out from his mouth before she brought the shield downwards onto his knee and slashed upwards. The blade caught in his armpit and dug deep before she shoved him away and continued on her path.
Coming up behind the second century she grasped the shoulder of a woman in the rear rank. The legionary turned, blood streaming from a cut along her cheek.
“Where’s your centurion?” Rhoda barked.
“Dead ma’am,” the legionary replied, and Rhoda gritted her teeth, her head moving to take in the situation. The rebels were smashing themselves against Amazon shields, but there was so damn many. She looked back, still hearing the occasional trumpet of an elephant, but it was starting to sound as if they’d mostly been dealt with.
“Get back to the next cohort. Tell them we need reinforcements. And we need them fucking now,” Rhoda said, earning herself a salute before the woman ran off.
Moving towards the right edge of the spread out Century so she could watch the second and her own women of the fifth, she started calling out fresh commands. Shifting soldiers around to keep the line as stable as she could.
As the battle continued, and more died, Rhoda spied a man with a lion’s pelt upon his head. The sword in his hand looked Amazon in make. He was shouting though Rhoda couldn’t understand a damn word of it. She could guess though. Glancing to the two centuries she found herself looking over, she saw the women were getting tired and increasingly more bloody. More and more of their number laying dead in the mud.
They would break, and she would not see her century break under her command. She had one shot if her fucking reinforcements weren’t coming.
“Reform in single century. Push forward,” she shouted to the second century before taking the few steps necessary to be heard by her own women of the fifth as she called out the command again.
The response was the seventy four legionaries still alive to let out a single guttural shout. As a single unit, moving together to reform a single century they began to push forward. Climbing over growing mounds of the dead, their sandals pressing down on comrades and enemies alike. Blood flowed over their sandal clad feet as they moved in concert. The usual drumbeat of marching drowned out by the screams and shouts. By the clash of metal, and the slick crunch of bodies underfoot.
Moving towards the left edge she always occupied, Rhoda found the legionary from before. Stopping the woman for a moment the centurion took her whistle back, before pointing at the rear of the reformed century. The woman didn’t hesitate as she ran to rejoin the others, her shield arm grasping the back of the armour of the legionary before her.
Rhoda announced her arrival by crashing the top rim of her shield into a rebel’s face. As he fell limply back, the tip of Rhoda’s sword tore through his thigh with a spurt of bright blood. It splashed across her chest, dripping off the edges of her lorica as she placed her whistle back between her lips. She blew harshly, and the first rank twisted and pulled back while the second lunged forward.
The enemy commander narrowed his eyes, trying to scan the hazy battlefield. His gaze settled on Rhoda, who met it evenly. Blood dripping from her knuckles, she stood spatha in hand, staring him down. At her side, her legionnaires killed yet more of the rebels that had once thought they had the battle won.
The commander started to moved towards her, when Rhoda blew out a long blast on the whistle. The rear two ranks pulled out their second pilum, and threw, aiming just over their ranks heads. The rebels weren’t ready and fresh screams tore out. The enemy command, striding over towards Rhoda shouted out. Two pilum speared through him and he fell to his knees. Even from here, Rhoda could see him coughing blood as it frothed at his mouth.
She pulled her eyes away, scanning the battlefield, her century, and blew her whistle. The legionnaires of the fifth and second let out another gutteral shout as the front rank switched back again. Fresher soldiers coming to the fore. Smashing, stabbing. Their sandals pounding into the blood choked mud.
By the time they reached the commander he was well on his way to Pluto. The Rebel infantry was starting to pull back, trying to hold their shaky formation. The Amazons slowly advanced, the flats of their blades cracking Göztepe Escort Bayan against the edges of their shield.
The blast of a horn caught Rhoda’s attention. She looked back, and saw shapes appearing amidst the sandy haze. Amazon legionnaires. Judging by how many, the next cohort was pushing up. She smirked and looked ahead, where cavalry was smashing through the back of the enemy’s so called formation. They broke.
“Bit fucking late,” Rhoda muttered, glancing down at the ground. Beneath her feet was the woman she’d given her whistle to. She let out a sigh as the next cohort pushed past. She felt the stares of others upon her and her women.
Meeting each stare with one of her own, blood of her enemies and her own soldiers streaming down her face. Her armour. She could taste it on her lips. A fellow centurion stared incredulously at the piles of enemy dead. Hundreds of them. The survivors of the second and fifth knelt to catch their breath.
“Ma’am?” a legionary said, rising to her feet, moving towards where Rhoda still stood, watching the reinforcements. Fresh, clean.
“Be ready for further orders. This isn’t done. Not yet,” Rhoda said, her eyes turning to the young woman, her gaze softening.
The legionary nodded, and moved towards her comrades. Members of both centuries pulling out water skins and bandages to quench thirst and patch wounds.
Rhoda wasn’t done yet though. As the rest of the legion continued after the breaking rebel forces, she began moving through the two centuries, finding every single fallen soldier she could. Reaching inside their armour she found their signaculum.
The least she could do now was ensure their families knew the fates of their loved ones. Could get their final payments. Could move on.
Drinking a glass of water, Legate Maera Aquillia Amantia ran her eyes over the latest reports coming across her desk. She was thankful for the shade of her pavilion, but even that did not stop the oppressive heat of this place. She wasn’t sure anything could, and she was looking forward to returning to the villa she’d been granted while she was here with her legion.
A legion that had been hit badly these past few months.
Beside her, Governor of Libya and fellow legate Phaedre Cornelia Alypia stared wide eyed at some of the reports. The woman’s own legion, the eighteenth, was in shambles after the initial onset of the rebellion. It had been embarassing to the Empress, and so she had deemed it fitting for the ninth to come in.
“You’ve got him,” Phaedre said, and Maera merely nodded, draining her cup. One of her attending slaves quickly shuffled over to fill it.
“It would seem so. I’ll want that confirmed before anything is sent back to Roma. Last thing we need is an imposter to have taken the fall while the real man runs about Libya. I remember what happened to Hector,” Maera said, taking her refilled cup back from the slave.
“Hector was just a story.”
“Stories have lessons if you can find them. What will the stories of this rebellion say? Anything worse than what is already being said in the senate?” Maera said, and Phaedre stiffened. Her eyes narrowed slightly.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be leaving once I have confirmation of this… Tabnit’s death. I had plans before your failure brought me to this shithole,” Maera said taking some amusement from the curling of Phaedre’s fingers into tight fists. The corners of Maera’s mouth curled, ever so slightly. The governor opened her mouth to speak, but Maera was quicker.
“If you’ll excuse me. I need to see to my legion,” she said.
Without a further word she straightened herself and moved to the entrance of her pavilion and out into the sun. The blue cape hanging from the shoulders of her armour swirled in the wind and she squinted against the harsh sun. One of Phaedre’s body slaves came running over with a parasol in hand, but Maera waved them away. It would not do to be seen pampered so by her legion.
Arete, her Primus Pilus, was soon by her side. A wax tablet in her hands, with all the records of dead, and wounded.
“How bad?” Maera asked, with barely a sideways glance.
“Not bad ma’am, with the exception of the third cohort. Third and fourth centuries are wiped out from the elephant charge, their Pilus Prior is dead, along with the second century’s centurion. Many of the centuries sustained heavy losses when the cohort was cut off by the elephants and cavalry flank,” Arete said, reading off the tablet though she knew all the information well. She always made sure to get it right.
With a heavy sigh, Maera glanced over towards where the dead were carefully being piled on pyres. Tonight they would be burned as their spirits crossed the River Styx. Logically, she counted the money it would cost to recruit and train the replacements she would need if she intended to go north. But she refused to let herself forget these women had fought, bled, and died for Amazonia.
“Who leads the third cohort now?” Maera asked.
“A young Escort Göztepe Centurion, though clearly skilled. Rhoda Livia Verina,” Arete did not need to double check any writing here. She knew each officer in the entire legion. “She’s the one that rallied the second and fifth centuries, and confirmed the kill of the enemy commander.”
“Confirmed? Tabnit?” Maera said.
At this news Maera smiled. Plans already swirling through her head. Letters to be written, palms to grease.
“I’d like to give her command of the cohort. Do you agree?” Maera asked, looking to her Primus.
“I do. In the meantime, start getting the legion ready to move. We march at dawn. I hope to be on ships back to Roma within a week,” Maera said, and Arete responded by punching a fist to her chest in salute, then smartly marching off.
Maera turned and called for one of her tribunes. The young woman, in armour she likely inherited from her mother, came running over. There was excitement on her features. The eagerness of youth, not yet tempered by experience.
“I want you to find the Centurion Rhoda Livia Verina, and tell her the night after tomorrow she is invited to my villa. As reward for her services,” Maera said, and the young noble woman raised an eyebrow. She was about to salute regardless and run off to complete the order when Maera raised her hand gently.
“A lesson, for free young one. For one day you will be in my sandals, leading a legion of your own. Treat the women under your command well. Make it that they fight for you as much as the Empire. For that, they will deny Elysium to personally see your enemies to Pluto. This Centurion may be of common birth, but if I’m correct, her deeds may see her made nobility before her career is done,” Maera said, and the tribune nodded, before saluting and running off.
Maera bit her lip and released it. She was becoming rather excited about the idea of a small private triumph for the young centurion.
The Legate’s villa overlooked the city of Cyrene, the stone and marble of it’s construction pristine and beautiful compared to much of the sandstone and baked mud the majority of the city was built from. Walking up the paved pathway towards the front doors, Rhoda had a single hand resting on the hilt of her spatha. It was a cool night, at least compared to the scorching heat of day, and the simple blue tunic she wore felt far too simple for where she was headed. She felt entirely out of her element, though she knew the honour that was being bestowed upon her.
Or perhaps it was simply for the Legate to show off her latest hero to nobility to fawn and drool over.
Fingers flexing around the hilt of her sword she moved closer to the doors of the villa, walking alongside the marble lined pool that dominated the front yard, a simple fountain gurgling softly in its centre. She took note of the two guards in their black capes, heard the soft notes of music drifting out through the windows. Laughter, and the buzz of conversation.
Forcing herself to let go of the spatha in case she gave the guards the wrong idea, Rhoda moved between them and introduced herself. The two women nodded, and gestured for the Centurion to let herself in. She gave each a gentle nod of the head and walked up the three steps and opened the doors.
Out poured the scents of incense, the noise of the party growing now that she was walking inside. Through a small ante chamber where a barely clad slave man bowed to her. His body glistened, lathered in oils. Rhoda could guess what his duties would be later this evening, and started to wonder what she’d gotten herself into.
Proceeding into the central room, she spied women and men of high class. Some Amazons, some Libyans. Dressed impecably in vibrant colours and silks, all layered to show a curve, or skin, without being immodest. Though, Rhoda wondered if commoners would see this as modest at all. One woman’s left breast was nearly falling from her dress though it seemed the garment was designed that way. A man’s toga was cut in such a way that the midriff parted to show the dip in flesh from his hip to just before sprouts of pubic hair would be seen.
Standing in the door in her simple tunic with a sword at her hip, Rhoda let out a breath. She was less nervous out in the sands. At least there she was trained for. Here, was a pit of vipers, and she had no knowledge on how to keep herself alive. A blade was very little defence. She let her eyes sweep through the room, and over those that crammed within its walls.
There were six exits, including the one she stood in. The others though each had a curtain of silk obscuring the view of what lay beyond. Occasionally one would shift to allow a well dressed guest, or a barely clad slave to move through.
In the centre of the room was a shallow pool, maybe ankle deep, that had a marble column at each corner. It its centre was a small platform, where a pair of men, naked and painted gold, gently ran hands over each other. Their cocks erect, gliding against the body of the other. Their expression was impossible to tell through the pristine white masks they wore, but their bodies were fine displays of muscle and sexual appeal. Even Rhoda found her eyes lingering a moment before continuing on, reminded of such displays her own husband had made for her back in Roma.
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