The tall lanky soldier snapped to attention, his eyes filled with fierce energy.
”Sit down Legate. I have a proposition for you.” Caesar motioned to the chair in front of him. He crossed one leg over the other, and perused the man in front of him.
Tall, with a lean and lanky look, with a grizzled beard and shabby uniform, he wasn’t much to look at. His brown hair was filled with hints of grey, and his face had a haunted look. Flavius Marius has not been treated well in life, and had seen it as punishment for his misdeeds by Neptunus. When his wife died in childbirth, he had hurled himself into the work of running his legion with a tenacity that set in at odds with the politicians in Valkora. Forced into retirement, Gaius knew his true worth. Godfearing in the extreme, Marius saw warfare as the work of the god, and so waged it with every bit of ferocity at his disposal. Knowing Danheim’s motives and views on Valkoria, Gaius decided to fight fire with fire.
”You know why I summoned you Legate Marius?” the Emperor asked.
”Yes sir. My duty is to the nation, I only wish to serve.” Marius’ voice had a slight rasp, a bark to it. Men feared and loved that voice. ”The atrocities committed by the enemy are a transgression of deplorable depravity. They must be found, and sent running.”
Gaius smiled briefly. ”You know the force of enemy opposed us? Kleriel, Danheim, even Maruba. The Keelish lines do not break, and the Danheim berserkers do not flee.”
Marius’ words cut like steel. ”Then if they do not run, then they will die.”
Caesar nodded. ”I’m glad we see things the same, General. You will receive the commission when you leave.”
The army set out the same day, sailing north in the fleet, following the western coast of the continent. The new Dux Maris, a lowborn man risen through the ranks named Aetius. Marius was in command of the land army, and the two spent the trip north planning a joint strategy. Marius was insistent in his demands for aggression, to bring the fight to the enemy, and Aetius agreed.
They arrived in the frigid ocean, in the North, 2 weeks of sailing later. Foam curled past from the bows of the battleships, and surf sprayed upon the decks of the cruisers, lower down in the water. Chunks of ice slid past, a reminder of the dangers present. Marius has made sure to issue the men winter clothing, and now they were glad of it. The temperature had dropped considerably as they sailed farther from home, and now the legionaries made the switch to warm woolen garments. The men frolicked in the snow upon the decks, most of them seeing it for the first time. Water froze on the decks, causing a variety of fallen giants to report to the infirmary with minor bruises. But suddenly, all gamboling ceased, and everything was silent but for the humming of the ships’ engines. A gigantic range of snow covered mountains, rose from the horizon, far in the distance, but filled with ominous malice. But the steelships sailed on, their proud flags snapping in the harsh cold wind.
Valkoria had come North at last.