Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ghosts of Carrhae - Chapter IV

Ghosts of Carrhae
 Chapter IV



"They have taken the bait. Shall we begin the attack?" Surena's lieutenants were impatient to draw blood, but their commander did not share their blood-lust. He saw the glittering scales of the monstrous creature, snaking away from the only source of water. He knew he only had to keep the beast's attention until it lost its bearings. Then, it would be at his mercy.

Surena wheeled his mount around, and began the slow march west, setting the pace for the remainder of his army to follow. Composed entirely of cavalry, Surena's force was designed to counteract the strengths of his opponent. Instead of relying on heavily armored infantry supported with cavalry and auxilia, Surena had recruited his troops from the steppe peoples bordering his territory in the east. Trained from the age of three in the art of riding and shooting, the horsemen serving Surena had more battle experience than the roman legionaries serving under Crassus.

Alongside the lightly armored archers, Surena had assembled a force of shock troops. The cataphracts were fellow noblemen, armored from head to toe in chain-mail, and astride warhorses equally protected with iron barding. To protect the these troops from the effect of the sun, Surena had each soldier cover their horse and armor with animal hides. This also served as a disguise, allowing the heavy knights to blend in with the far more numerous light horsemen.

Surena had also done a great deal of planning for the campaign against the Romans. A train of one thousand camels followed a parallel trail, stocked with food, water, and ammunition for the entire army. Crassus had misjudged his opponent, believing the cowardly Persians to be merely buying time, as opposed to setting up a decisive battle. Thus, he allowed himself to be led away from his own supply lines, drawn deeper and deeper into the trap which had been set for him.

"Such hubris." Surena laughs to himself, as he cranes his neck to see the monster's head, peeking over the ridge.