Gazing out over the broad field known in ancient times as Mhalak, Tiberius released a deep breath of anticipation as he scanned the barren flat for the waiting enemy. Clad in a breastplate of polished electrum with chiseled muscles with an unbound eagle in the center, the sacred eagle clasped a sword in its talons and arrows in its beak with a laurel crown overhead, the young Consul rested a hand on the pommel of the sword at his left hip. An emerald cloak clasped to the armor adorned with the golden lion's warhide across his shoulders signified him as having total imperium over the army. He assumed a wide stance atop the ridge overlooking Mhalak, right hand holding his helmet to his breast.
"The Vith are moving, Consul," said the regent to his right. "Your troops are lagging in mobility."
Allowing the corner of his mouth to crook up slightly, Tiberius released a snort. "Well ordered troops bring a swifter victory, King of Lorica. Charging into a wild fray invites doom. I'm sure your Emperor is familiar to it."
Ignoring his insult as purely jest, Aresthenes chuckled instead to his dismay. "I am unaware of what the Emperor is familiar to, as I am king of my country. I defend my people ferociously, Consul."
Looking at the king with his icy gaze, Tiberius admired his grizzled face. Covered with numerous scars which criss-crossed his visage in savage patterns, it appeared as though his head had been chewed on and spat out by some beast which found him distasteful. The old king's right eye was a dark green while the left appeared a milky blue-green, possibly affected from the scar which passed from his eyebrow and across the bridge of his nose. He had to have warred his whole life, Tiberius thought. "I am aware by your countenance, King. Know that we are allies on good terms and for a common goal."
"I am aware, Consul. I pray the gods to smile favorably on this day, for my kingdom, and your republic." Aresthenes wore his battle-scarred breastplate of steel, marked by the many foes he smite in years before. His short dark beard streaked with white extended to his long mane tamed into several warrior braids about his head with the rest hanging to the middle of his shoulder blades. His build was sturdy and heavily muscled with scars splayed across his exposed skin on arms and thighs.
Tiberius nodded in agreement to the king's humility and reverence of the gods. "I have prayed as well, my friend. The gods have blessed us, for the time."
"Then let us commence and further our march."
Just then the Margrave of the Ring approached, his eyes downcast and sunken. "The Imperial Knights are on the move. Consul, King, the armies await."
Aresthenes set his helmet in place, pulling down the visor of a lifeless face over his own. He retrieved his spear and pounded his knuckles forcefully against his breastplate. "And so it begins."
"And so it shall," Tiberius replaced his helmet, the transversal crest adorned with emerald dyed horse hair, and nodded to his captain who in turn barked orders to his men in a harshly disciplined voice.
The trumpets sounded and the vanguard legions began their advance. ©
Excerpt from my as yet untitled book, 28-MAR-11