Varus interrupted: “— get to the point, General.”
“Very well,” he said, bluntly. “It is the consensus of my senior officers that we remain behind these fortifications until we can send for reinforcements from Haltern. Some are even threatening resignation if we continue on this course to the west. And because of the civilians and supply trains require additional protection the other commanders believe attempting to move out in battle ordered will mean our destruction.”
“And what then, General Vala?” he Varus asked. “If we hide from these barbarians now, what outcome will follow?”
Vala reflected for a brief moment before responding: “After reinforcements arrive, we winter the legions at the Rhine as planned. We can then seek retribution in a spring campaign.”
“And just whom will we campaign against; a village here and a tribe there, until the entire country is at war with us? We are dealing with an isolated force of traitors that needs to be destroyed before that spirit can fester. If all of Germania takes up arms against Rome in open revolt, what should I then tell Tiberius, or Caesar Augustus, for that matter? All one has to do is look at the problems Rome had in Pannonia, where Tiberius was engaged in the Illyrian revolt. Does Caesar what that here, in Germania, as well? I should think not. Tomorrow, we’ll form up our ranks at the forest perimeter and then round up these criminals, raiders and renegades, including that traitor from Cherusci. I will then line the Amber ro...
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...ll help you,” she said to Thusnelda.
Joth offered the stag meat to women. “Please, feed the wounded who can eat first; I’ll have what’s left.”
Rinka shook her head. “No, Joth, you need your strength for tomorrow.”
He returned a self-assured smile and then took hold of her hand. “Do you think that Hrothgar will remember me when I seek him out in the afterlife? Would he honor me to join him at the Valhalla warriors’ table for the brave deeds I have attempted and do you think I’ve made him proud?”
She nodded and smiled. “Yes, Joth, I do.”
The words appeared to come as a great relief for him, as though his existence among the living had been validated, and that perhaps, tomorrow would be his last tomorrow. “If he were here among us, on this night,” Joth said hesitantly, “would he be pleased by the union of his eldest daughter with his most loyal follower?”
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