Saturday, July 2, 2016

In Ch 13/Sc 1a of RAGING SEA by @KimHeadlee Angusel shows his companions a new tactic #amwriting

Graphic overlay (c)2016 by Kim Headlee.
Very little is known about the Picts, the ancient aboriginal inhabitants of what is now Scotland. Their only written records survive in the form of stones carved with glyphs whose meanings defy explanation and precise interpretation.

Some of those glyphs, however, depict warriors armed with what appear to be javelins rather than spears. I have chosen to incorporate that interpretation into my historical Arthurian series, The Dragon's Dove Chronicles, as one of the battle tactics that distinguishes Pictish—excuse me, Caledonach—warfare from that of their opponents.

Although Angusel has been ostracized from Caledonach society, he well remembers his training in the javelin-armed cavalry charge. In today's excerpt from Raging Sea, he is pleased to be sharing this knowledge with his Breatanach comrades-in-arms.

Previous excerpts of Raging Sea 
Chapters 1–6 in Raging Sea: Reckonings
 Chapter 7: Sc 1 | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4 | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |
Chapter 8: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2 | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |
Chapter 9: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 1d | Sc 1e |
Chapter 10: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2a | Sc 2b | Sc 3a | Sc 3b | Sc 3c |
Chapter 11: Sc 1aSc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 2 | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |
Chapter 12: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4a | Sc 4b | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |

Raging Sea Chapter 13, Scene1a
©2016 by Kim Headlee
All rights reserved.

Angusel trotted Stonn away from the straw target, flexing the soreness from his shoulder and letting the whistles and lauds from the other soldiers tell him that he’d scored a perfect hit.

“That’s how it’s done, lads,” he said as he rejoined them and halted Stonn. “Your turn. Form a single line, and each of you have a go.”

The men did as he bade them without so much as a single curled lip, and one by one they began racing off to fling their javelins at the target. In between casts, ala drudges removed the spent weapons from target or turf and ran them back to the starting line while Angusel offered the soldiers suggestions for improving their approach, aim, and timing.

That the five turma decurions, who outranked him, were also practicing the drill made his chest swell, but when Centurion Cato stepped up to the line, Angusel all but dropped his teeth.

The centurion grinned at him. “Can’t have my men learning a tactic that I haven’t mastered.”

“Right, sir.” What to say to a man with more years in the legion than he had on this earth? Angusel sucked in a breath, praying for wisdom. “Just be patient, gauge the distance, mind your mount’s speed and course, heed your instincts, and throw it as hard as you can.”

The centurion saluted Angusel with the javelin and pricked his horse’s flanks to send him leaping toward the target.

To say that Angusel’s unofficial training sessions with Drustanus and, more recently, Gawain, had been noticed was an understatement. Their commander began foregoing his own evening free time to join them, sometimes offering suggestions, participating on rare occasions, but most often just observing from behind the fence. He’d demonstrated particular interest in the javelin drill, which the all-Caledonach alae practiced constantly since it was a fundamental battle tactic for them. The mainly Breatanach First Ala was trained to run the enemy through with leveled spears upon initial engagement, a tactic Angusel was pleased to learn; he could see combining both in mounted combat. Breatanaich never used javelins.

Until today.

“A fine cast, sir!” he said as the centurion returned. Though two hands wide of center, the height of the javelin’s strike was good. In battle it might mean missing the intended mark but felling an adjacent enemy. “You’ll improve your aim with practice.”

“Indeed you will, Cato,” said a deep male voice behind him. “Well done.”

Angusel knew that voice, and fought the sudden churning of his gut as he turned Stonn to face the newcomer.


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