A novella of the Steam Empire Chronicles
Daniel Ottalini's latest novella is sure to please fans of the fast-paced, Roman Steampunk inspired Alternate History series - the Steam Empire Chronicles.
When a scouting expedition goes disastrously wrong, Marius Quinctius Regillus finds himself in a horde of trouble. With the Mongols encircling the grand fortress city of Antioch, Regillus and his men are trapped between a governor's ambitions and the fearsome Mongolian weaponry. With nowhere to turn, can they save the city, or will Antioch Burn?
Discover a new threat to the industrial Imperium of Rome in Antioch Burns, a novella in the Steam Empire Chronicles by award-winning author Daniel Ottalini.
“Sir?” Etruscas interrupted. “The Mongols are moving against the flank as well.”
Tearing his attention away from the drama unfolding in the center, he focused on the situation at hand.
“Order skirmishers forward, infantry in Omega formation.” Ranks of pila-armed legionnaires marched forward; opening their ranks to allow men armed with repeater crossbows through. Enemy outriders were already beginning their harassing fire, no doubt attempting to infuriate the Roman flank commander into making rash moves. Regillus turned to stare back at the tribune, safely ensconced behind his infantry forces to the rear.
Phyrsis finally mounted his horse, his aide waving a signal flag at Regillus’ forward command party. Adrenaline pounding in his veins, Regillus gripped the reins and spurred his horse. The rest of the Roman line advanced at a slow march, his light cavalry forces pushing around the flanks to support the infantry’s advance. Mongol skirmishers raced back and forth, spattering the legionnaires with arrows. The infantry marched on, studiously ignoring the light missile fire, while their skirmishers
As they approached a rise in the road, Regillus ordered a stop.
“Eliminate those riders.” He said. “I don’t want anyone fighting us for the hilltop. I want to own it.”
The message was quickly passed down, and a rank of repeater crossbows stepped forward from the line. As they trotted towards the skirmishers, the tribesmen pulled their horses around and took aim at the crossbowmen. The legionnaires went down on one knee and took aim.
Other legionnaires stood by to cover the crossbowmen with their shields when they needed to reload. Their bolts, shorter ranged than the horsebows or long bows, packed a punch, and it was not long before several empty steppe ponies were galloping for the rear, soon joined by their still mounted comrades.
“Good, continue the advance as the tribune ordered.” Etruscas grunted an affirmative. As the infantry took the hill, Regillus pulled his cavalry forces to the west, aiming to support the movements of the center. To the west, Legate General Flavian’s legionnaires advanced as well, cohorts opening large gaps in the line as the cavalry poured through. Opposite them, the Mongols continued to mill around, their light cavalry creating a scene of apprehension and confusion at the advance of the heavy cataphractii cavalry.
Regillus gritted his teeth. It was going to be a long day.