Monday, 15 July 2013

The Annals of the Relic of Saint Pius AAR (Chapter 4)

Chapter 4, The Last Battle
Unrest reigns across the kingdom.

Rival warbands march across the hills while the country folk have fled their homes and taken shelter in the marshlands and the woods. Ten years have passed since Sorviodunum and the affair of the Holy Toe of St Pius. Victorious against their weaker foes, the proven and legitimate rulers of the land had demonstrated their worth and ruled well for three long glorious Summers.

That was before the Year of the Rains and the three Years of the Famine which followed close on its heels. In those dark days it was only rumours of the reappearance of an old enemy which filtered through to the prince’s court, brought by travelers  bards, priests and merchants. Then, as the prosperity of the land dimmed, the visitors grew fewer but the rumours continued. Women, children and livestock started to disappear and shadowy figures were seen crossing the fields in moonlight. The Prince of Venta’s prestige faltered as he failed to protect his people and the enemy grew ever bolder until now they show no hesitation at stalking the land in broad daylight.

Thus, the prince and his loyal warband saw no alternative but to hunt their enemy and pursue them back to the untamed wilds where they had been sheltering this last decade. With this, his last push, the Prince of Venta, the Holder of the Holy Toe, must destroy his opponent and restore order to the land, or die and be succeeded by whoever has the strength to take his place.

This is the fourth and final 'after action report' of the Relic of Saint Pius campaign, the full details of which can be found here.

As the victors of the ambush at Constan's Ford, Flavius Constans and his Romano-British milites were the defenders in the last battle. Their opponents were the Romano-British equites led by Artorius - the Magister Equitum with pretensions - who had failed to save the day (or gain a single Victory Point) at Sorviodunum.


The rival Britons deploy their warbands. As the attacker, Artorius chose to enter from behind the woods, thereby denying the cover to his enemy's bowmen.

As the two forces slowly close, Flavius Constans forms his spearmen into a rigid shieldwall, ready to repulse any mounted charge from Artorius. Meanwhile, the British archers move ahead under the direction of Calpurnius Draco.

Artorius splits his force in two, while he leads one of his companions and the two companion archers to the right of his line, the two other companions find the shelter of the stone circle on the left and trot out of view of the  foot bowmen. Saint Neot slowly makes his way forward to give divine guidance to the British knights. Artorius' mounted archers try a series of Parthian shots, riding at the enemy shieldwall, releasing their arrows and then retiring out of charge range - but the shots go wide or bury themselves in the hardwood shields.








Then, in a mad dash, one of Artorius' bow-armed companions charges right up to the face of the shield wall. With one well aimed shot, the most gallant of Constan's supporters is taken through the eye. The force of the hit spins him around in a macabre dance of death and to left and right of him the resolve of his comrades crumbles as a result of such a brutal kill.

Flavius Constans' shieldwall and their supporting archers scatter widely. Some flee the field of battle entirely while others rally themselves after their initial shock.

Seeing his enemies flee, Artorius seizes the initiative and presses forward. He knocks Draco to the ground with a glancing blow of his spear and continues on to bury it in the chest of an archer. The other mounted companions also surge into the melee, riding down individual footmen where they stand.

At that point, the impetus of the charge faltered, allowing Constans and Draco to start to rally their forces.

Spearmen bravely returned to the fray, surrounding several of the companions ...

... and even knocking some of them to the ground.

Artorius falls, surrounded by bowmen and for a moment victory hangs in the balance.

At the crucial moment, the archer companions put aside their horn bows and charge wildly into the fray. The renewed assault takes Constans and his men by surprise and one of the spearmen goes down beneath a fury of hooves. That is enough to shake the morale of the weary footmen and again they flee, several of them receive mortal wounds in the back as they run from the melee. Constans turns to run from the fight, tearing off his crimson cloak of office and snatching up the tattered garb of a fallen follower as he fled the field.

One more series of charges by Artorius and his knights see the total obliteration of the last opposition. Draco, fearless to the last, fell with his standard still in his hand as the last archer ran from the slaughter. There can be no denying the outcome of the day's battle. Once the shieldwall had broken, it was hardly a contest - more of a hare hunt. Artorius stands victorius. Constans' body was never found.

Victory Points:
Artorius and his equites - 30
Constans and his milites - -11

****
Year Book photos - Rulers of Venta Belgarum, class of c.490.


And thus our chronicle comes to its blood-stained end. Four hundred and ninety years after the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Artorius mab Uther was hailed as Imperator on the Field of Slaughter. His valiant equites escorted him to Venta whence he was crowned Artorius Rex, king of the Belgae. Over the years he would rise to be the King of Kings, overlord of all the Britons and, ruler even, of many of the lost lands where the Angles and the Saxons now make their sordid homes. 

As I write these last lines, all of Britannia south of the Great Wall sends tribute to my lord and master. The Great King has even seen fit to acknowledge one of his many bastards, a handsome boy by the name of Mordred for whom, I feel, God has a special purpose in mind ...

8 comments:

  1. Another great report. Been looking forward to this one.

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  2. Beautiful painting and a great little campaign. I have a few 28mm Arthurians still lying about - I might need to get them out!

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  3. Really good campaign reports! Congrats! And of course as a Belgian I'm somewhat happy it turned out the way it did ;-)

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  4. I have enjoyed following these chronicles...

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  5. Lovely stuff.

    How did you make the 'standing stones' (Stone Henge)?

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    1. Cheers. I wish I could claim credit but the standing stones came in a little 'stocking filler' kit from a book shop - about AU$4 I think. Can't recall the brand I'm sorry. I just based them up and did a little dry brushing.

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