Child of the Flames

AVAILABLE NOW on KINDLE and in PAPERBACK from AMAZON

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The Knife in the Dark

AVAILABLE NOW on KINDLE and in PAPERBACK from AMAZON

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The Old Man of the Temple

AVAILABLE NOW on KINDLE and in PAPERBACK from AMAZON

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The Cult of Aeglar

A Treatise on the Cult of Aeglar

“During the birthing years of the world, the Gods bestowed their gifts upon their new creation. Evmir forged the world, and his brother Eindor gave it magic. Devla formed the wild forests and the beasts within, while Neesa handed down art, love, beauty, and music. Bast made the laws and forms to govern the world, and Aastinor instilled war and revenge to drive humanity to enforce it. Even Saarnok had his place, tending to the souls of those who lived a foul and evil life, holding them in the Six Hells and bringing pain and suffering to the world so those living there would appreciate life.
One God, however, did not partake in the making of the world. This God grew jealous of his immortal kin, of the gifts they handed out freely to this new creation. Aeglar knew of magic and of forging, like the brothers Evmir and Eindor. He would rule mankind with these abilities rather than grant them freely. The more the world grew, the more his jealousy festered in him. As humanity built itself up in power and knowledge, Aeglar sat and watched. He saw that in people there was great strength and purpose, but there was also fault. Humans had within them greed and lust, the need to aspire to something greater than what they were.
So Aeglar went into the world and walked among its people. He whispered in the ears of men and women that shared his envy, telling them of the arrogance of the Gods. He spoke of power that the Gods hid from them still, that humankind was destined to be so much more. He taught them secrets that he had kept through the forging of the world, giving them to a select few in exchange for their worship and obedience.”
~From “The Gods Among Us,” written before the Second Great War.
I think it worth mentioning, curator, that no one this scholar has been able to find has any written records of the Cult’s true origins. These passages, and others like them, are the first appearance of the Cult in history, though we cannot be completely sure. This account is taken from a religious text. The Cult itself denied any requests to view a written history, and interviews with members yielded only mythological answers to questions about their origins. The leaders of the Cult of Aeglar are a secretive group, and declined any request to meet personally.
What this scholar has been able to gather from reading historical accounts throughout Alderak is that the Cult of Aeglar most likely formed in Lesmira after the Treaty of Duadan of was signed with the Sevenlands. The Cult is a widely known anti-sorcery organization, and there exists no mention of it in the historical record until Lesmira signed the Treaty. There has always been an undercurrent in Eastern society that is fiercely anti-magic, and it seems most likely that the Cult arose from various groups of political dissidents that banded together in order to put pressure on the Lesmiran monarchy. It was two years after the signature, the year 501, that the Cult attempted to assassinate the King and Queen, and were summarily banished from the Lesmira forever.
The Cult has been known to openly protest policies it regards as “pro-sorcery” all over Alderak, but at its core the Cult of Aeglar is a military organization. It has used its might for political bullying before, and it is suspected of much worse. Stories abound about the Cult abducting those born with the spark of magic in their blood and carrying them off to meet some grim fate, though these allegations have never even been officially investigated. This scholar has personally interviewed wizards from the Lesmiran School of Magical Arts that insist the Cult has attempted to abduct them, and many wizards report incidents of being followed and harassed when traveling outside of the country.
The Cult operates openly in every country on the Eastern Continent except for Lesmira. They have a particularly strong presence in Dannon, but are widely regarded as religious zealots in the lands south of the Moravian grasslands. There are rumors that some members of royalty and other world leaders may be secret members, or supporters of the Cult, though no proof currently exists.

Child of the Flames

Coming August 1st

Coming August 1st

Child of the Flames is coming this Monday, August 1, 2016.

It will be released on Amazon at $0.99.

It’s a story of revenge, of tragedy, of triumph.  And it’s got blood, swords, and magic.  What more do you need for a good story?  It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s finally here.  I know you guys are just as excited about it as I am.

I know a lot of you have already read up to The City Under the Mountain, and may not want to start back at the first book.  However, Child of the Flames is not The Sentient Fire.  It’s a new book through and through.  While many of the same things happen (you can’t revise and not hit the plot points) they happen a bit differently, and to characters who are much more three-dimensional.  In short, The Seven Signs is maturing a bit for it’s relaunch.

You can certainly just pick up at The Oath of the Blade when it comes out if you want, and you won’t miss anything, nor will you be confused.  But, if you’re like me and you re-read the entire Game of Thrones, or Wheel of Time, every time a new book came out because you forgot a lot of the story…

Child of the Flames will be enjoyable for you.  It’s like re-reading, only with new writing 😉

(You guys should know that I love you–that’s the first time I’ve ever used an emoticon, after years and years of refusing to do so.  I broke my prohibition for you, ‘cuz I love ya)

So look for Child of the Flames on Monday.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Child of the Flames

Coming August 1st

Coming August 1st

Child of the Flames is coming this Monday, August 1, 2016.

It will be released on Amazon at $0.99.

It’s a story of revenge, of tragedy, of triumph.  And it’s got blood, swords, and magic.  What more do you need for a good story?  It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s finally here.  I know you guys are just as excited about it as I am.

I know a lot of you have already read up to The City Under the Mountain, and may not want to start back at the first book.  However, Child of the Flames is not The Sentient Fire.  It’s a new book through and through.  While many of the same things happen (you can’t revise and not hit the plot points) they happen a bit differently, and to characters who are much more three-dimensional.  In short, The Seven Signs is maturing a bit for it’s relaunch.

You can certainly just pick up at The Oath of the Blade when it comes out if you want, and you won’t miss anything, nor will you be confused.  But, if you’re like me and you re-read the entire Game of Thrones, or Wheel of Time, every time a new book came out because you forgot a lot of the story…

Child of the Flames will be enjoyable for you.  It’s like re-reading, only with new writing 😉

(You guys should know that I love you–that’s the first time I’ve ever used an emoticon, after years and years of refusing to do so.  I broke my prohibition for you, ‘cuz I love ya)

So look for Child of the Flames on Monday.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

New Site

So, I got this done.  It all looks pretty nice now, and we’ll be doing some cool stuff.  Cool stuff.

More coming soon, I’ll be updating this tomorrow to make sure everything works.  This is just a test post, and you’re still reading it.  Still reading it.

Still reading it.

I’ll blog at you guys tomorrow, and we’ll talk about the upcoming release of Child of the Flames.

Timeline Updates

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Time to send out a quick update to let you guys know what the current timeline looks like for the release of the upcoming books.  As you may have realized, they’re not coming out at the end of this month.  That was a tentative date anyway, but it’s not getting pushed too far to the right.

Tentatively, again, look for the books to drop around the end of June.

Here’s my logic behind setting the date for June.  First of all, it’s obvious that this project was going to take me a little longer than I had anticipated, especially with the portions that required heavy rewriting.  Child of the Flames is now finished, and that means that the lion’s share of the work is done.  I’m currently working on The Knife in the Dark, which won’t require nearly as much rewriting.  Basically, I’m taking the amount of time I think it will take me to finish the next two, and doubling it.

One reason for this is simply to make sure I give myself enough time to do this right.  Another is that my school schedule is ramping up as the middle of the semester rolls through, and I have a full schedule of classes.  Failing them is just something that I won’t do, and that means I’ve got to dedicate a little more time to them when needed.  College is expensive, and my G.I. Bill is fairly limited.  One has to maximize one’s time.

However, if you just don’t want to wait for Child of the FlamesThe Knife in the Dark, and The Old Man of the Temple to publish on their regular date, you can JOIN THE CONCLAVE.  I’ll be leaking advance copies of the first two books to the mailing list as they become ready for market.

The going plan is to have six books out by the end of the year, the audiobooks ready before Christmas, and possibly to make a few changes to the blog.  I plan to start blogging more regularly once The Seven Signs is back on track, mostly about nerdy stuff, but not always.  You all know of my general disdain for social media, but maintaining that in today’s world is virtually impossible.  It might be time to shake hands with the devil.

Anyways, back to The Knife in the Dark.  I’ll be posting here to talk a little more about Child of the Flames next week, and how the story is changing, and how it isn’t.  Stay frosty.  Remember to bring disgrace upon your enemies.

~D.W.

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World of Eldath: Magic, the Blessed, and the Learned

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Many scholars throughout the years have attempted to discern exactly what magic is and where it came from.  Its effects have been studied by the School of Magical Arts, the Conclave in the Sevenlands, and even the Minsdurim Academy, upon occasion.  There are multiple books on the subject, the foremost among them being Garland’s Song of the Fabric of Creation.  Still, at the time that this report is being written, this scholar has found no invention, scientific method, or even a magical device that can test the essence of magic and tell us what it really is and where it came from.

The accepted view by most laymen is that magic is the “fabric of creation” or the “material of creation” left over from when the Gods forged the world.  Such a simplistic explanation can be credited to the Epics of the Gods and the mythology that most religious texts perpetuate.  The general idea, explained by a Devlan Devotee, is that Evmir shaped the world and everything we see from a magical base material.  The phrase so often repeated is that he  “commanded the world come forth from the ether”.  When asked exactly what magic is, or what the “ether” is, most religious explanations fail to satisfy, as they so often do.  If one wants to learn of magic, one must go to a wizard.

According to representatives of the Conclave of Wizards, children who are born with an inherent connection to magic, referred to as “Blessed”, begin to show signs of the power between the ages of seven and fourteen years.  This range is not as accurate as it could be; the Conclave admits that some children may go for years using magic undiscovered by their scouts or their parents.  The manifestation seems to correlate directly with the children aging into sexual maturity, though there have been cases which seem to show no correlation.  Sometimes trauma has been shown to be a direct factor as well, though those cases are rare.  Findings from the School of Magical Arts directly support the information from the Conclave.

Magic is described by wizards as having an empathetic nature.  It apparently responds to emotions felt by magic users, and those emotions can either intensify, confuse, or entirely null the effects of their intended spells and evocative castings.  By their own admission, the use of magic can be a very dangerous undertaking.  Wizards have been known to lose control of their powers and kill themselves–or others–because of the emotional factors at play, though the Conclave assures me that such things are rare and easily controlled and prevented through proper training.  Strenuous mental discipline is the best deterrent, according to those who traffic in the use of magic.

Magic apparently responds to outside stimuli as well.  It has been shown to resonate differently with different materials, such as brass, stone, various gems, and even water.  Mathematical and geometrical formulas seem to evoke a response from magic, as do certain shapes in nature, the most common of which is the circle.  This scholar had heard rumors of a great circle constructed in the bowels of the Conclave called the Crux, but any reference to it, or request to see it, was met with denial.

The most interesting magical reaction seems to be with music.  Apparently musical tones have an intense effect on magic, and the Conclave has studied the phenomenon for a long period of time.  They have found that the most interesting reactions seem to come from entire compositions of music rather than individual tones, as if the music produces an emotional response from magic, as ridiculous as that sounds.  The theory seems to hold water when compared with the earlier knowledge that magic responds to emotions from those who use it.  The two phenomenon seem to be intertwined somehow, though sufficient time and effort would be needed to study it further.

Magic seems to be able to perform almost any action the wizard can imagine, though the boundaries of such power are blurry and undefined at best.  Most wizards seem to operate on their own preconceived notions about nature, and such a thing can be a serious deterrent to studying magic’s full potential.  Some of the more mundane uses for magic, such as moving large objects or producing a small light from nothing, can be as simple or as complicated as the mind of the wizard wielding the power.

This scholar personally listened to two different explanations on how one would move a rock with magic.  One wizard preferred to simply seize the rock with his “Kai”, as he put it, and move the thing a small distance.  He explained that in his mind, he pictured carrying the stone in a large, invisible hand.  The second spoke of an invisible force holding the rock to the ground already, and he simply pictured himself coaxing the force to let go for a small amount of time while he moved the rock.  The results were the same, though the methods were clearly different.

Wizards do seem to have a limited amount of endurance for using magic.  Each person would appear to have a different threshold for holding a certain amount of power, and it has been determined by the Conclave that every wizard grows slowly stronger over time.  Exposure to the power also seems to lengthen the lifespans of all wizards, though it is said that most older magic users retreat from society in order to better commune with the strange energy.  It is also said that wizards heal faster than normal people, and are more resistant to disease, though the factor by which this happens is minimal.  It has been demonstrated to this scholar that magic also cannot heal any ailment with reliable results.  The two things may be connected, and that subject may warrant further study in the future.

It is possible for those born without the ability to touch magic to gain it through careful study and training.  In the Sevenlands they call those wizards the “Learned”.  The differences between Learned and Blessed magic users stop at the method by which they gained use of the power.  There appears to be no correlation between the method of training and the final ability and strength of any wizard in question.  This would suggest that physical properties and breeding do have some effect on these phenomenon, though those effects have yet to be studied.

From A Treatise on Magic and its Effects, by the Magister Sir Umril Genhardt, of the Tauravon Archive.  Written in the year 1066, archived in 1067.

Hope you guys enjoyed that little tidbit about the setting.  I’ll be uploading little blogs like this to help flesh out the story for you guys, as the World of Eldath will be an ongoing setting for stories long after the Seven Signs is finished.  More news on this to follow, and I’ll talk to you guys soon.

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New Timeline for the Seven Signs

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Alright folks, it’s time to hammer down the official timeline for the re-release of The Seven Signs.  I’ve been plugging away at it hard for the past few weeks, and looking out over the upcoming landscape, I’ve got a much better idea about how to go about releasing it.  Here goes.

First of all, much to everyone’s disappointment I’m sure, the date has to move to the right.  Not by much, though.  Let me go ahead and let you guys know how this is going to happen.

The first three books in the series, which will replace The Sentient Fire, will be released at the end of March 2016.  It’s not January, but it’s not too much later.  The bottom line is that in the process of revising this thing, I’ve had to chop and rewrite huge sections of the first book, Child of the Flames.  It’s taking me much longer than I had anticipated.

The good news is that the next two books, The Knife in the Dark and The Old Man of the Temple will need much less in the way rewriting.  In reading ahead and figuring out how much I’ll need to revise, it is very clear that the second two books in the series are already much closer to being complete than Child of the Flames is, at least in it’s original form.

Child of the Flames needed many sections completely redone, it needed lots of new material, and entirely new POV characters and sequences.  Essentially I’ve been going through it and rewriting the entire book line by line, which is something that the next two won’t need.  Child of the Flames will be a very different story than the first part of The Sentient Fire was.  The next two will have lots of new stuff too, but the revision process will go much faster than this one has.

Right now, Child of the Flames will be finished on January 2nd.  From there, I’m giving myself a month each to finish The Knife in the Dark and The Old Man of the Temple.  This includes the editing process.  Those three books will be ready for the market by the end of March.

From there, I’m going to put The Oath of the Blade up for preorder, and set the release date for July 1st.  That will give everyone enough time to read the books again if they wish, and ensure that the book isn’t rushed through the editing process.  Going any faster at this point will sacrifice quality, bottom line.  Plus, it allows the newly revised series to gain a little steam and get some exposure.  Releasing all the books at once will cut it off at the knees, so to speak, and I’m listening to a little advice from other writers on this one.

The sixth book, which will be called City of Cages, will be released January 15th, 2017.

The next month is going to be a little crazy for me.  I’m writing ten pages a day, every day, until the middle of January to get this stuff done.  That includes Christmas and New Year’s Day.  I’m basically shutting myself away and going monk-mode until this is done, and right now it’s going swimmingly.  I’ve got the time away from school, no commitments until the middle of January, so I’m maximizing that time for effect.

Since this is the last update you guys will get from me until next year, I’d like to wish you all Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Saturnalia, or whatever it is you celebrate this holiday season.  Enjoy your leave, and I’ll talk to you guys next year.

Much love, and JOIN THE CONCLAVE.

The Battle of Alesia

In honor of Veteran’s Day I thought I would write a blog to you guys about one of the craziest military engagements of ancient history.  Throughout human existence there have been these great moments when the courses of entire civilizations have been decided upon the courage of fighting men, the guile of generals, and the edges of swords.  One such battle was the siege of Alesia, a fortified town in the Roman province of Transalpine Gaul, where Gaius Julius Caesar finally closed in on the Gallic general Vercingetorix.

For years before this battle took place, Roman legions under Julius Caesar had been ravaging the Gallic countryside, bringing the region firmly under the control of Rome.  At this time, the Roman economy had morphed into this beast that was almost entirely dependent upon foreign conquest and the subjugation of native peoples.  Romans had settled in the region, and Caesar had been squeezing the Gauls for tribute for around six years.  The Gauls, having been crushed by the Romans, were simmering at the Roman boot upon their throats.

After a tribe called the Carnutes, who had been previously pacified by the Romans, rose up and slaughtered all the Roman settlers in the town of Cenabum, Caesar mustered his legions and marched over the winter-locked alps into the province of Transalpine Gaul to put down the rebellion.  He was unaware that the major Gallic tribes had previously met and elected someone to take the fight to the Romans, to drive them from the lands of Gallia.  That man was the chieftain of the Arverni tribe, and his name was Vercingetorix.

Vercingetorix defeated the Romans in the field at Gergovia, and fought a decent field campaign against Caesar.  The Gallic cavalry was much stronger than the Roman cavalry, and Vercingetorix was famous for using his mounted soldiers to devastating effect.  After a few engagements between the two forces, Vercingetorix withdrew his army to the fortified town of Alesia.  Caesar followed him, and trapped his forces within the city walls.

Where Ceasar Crushed Vercingetorix

Alesia was a relatively small settlement by our standards.  It was built upon a solitary hill between two rivers, and overlooked a small valley that surrounded it.  There was high ground beyond the valley, but Alesia would have had a decent view of the surrounding countryside.  It was surrounded by a low wall that ran for around 5 miles, and probably had a fortified gate of some sort.  It wasn’t a very large settlement, but by Gallic standards of the time, it was a well fortified position.  Vercingetorix had some 80,000 men inside, along with thousands of civilians.

Caesar surrounded Alesia with somewhere around 50,000 legionnaires and Germanic auxiliary forces.  Imagine what a man like Julius Caesar would have thought when he looked up at the town of Alesia.  By this time, Caesar was already a seasoned military man and commander.  He was a strange figure in history, and there are famous (and infamous) stories about him in the Roman records.  Caesar was a popularis–which would have been roughly the equivalent of a democrat in Roman politics, with a definite violent twist–and he was loved by the Roman lower classes.  He was known to buck convention, and, in the words of Dan Carlin, was something of a “punk rock like figure of the ancient world”.  He was said to have moved twice as fast and decisively as other men.

Caesar was also fiercely loved by the men under his command.  He regularly ate, camped, and fought with them, and earned their respect through his deeds.  Caesar’s men supposedly loved him so much that, when they messed up in battle, they begged for him to punish them so that they could once again be in his good graces.  Caesar heaped rewards and praise upon his soldiers, and they were fiercely loyal to him–something that would bode ill for the Republic in the future.  Any one of them would have died for him without a second thought.

Caesar was also known to be a military genius, and that will become apparent during the Battle of Alesia.

Caesar knows that Vercingetorix has the advantage.  The Gallic cavalry had devastated Caesar’s own mounted units, and from the high ground in Alesia he can send his horsemen out to raid the Romans virtually at will.  Caesar has to neutralize the advantage that Vercingetorix has taken, but how to do it?  He sets his men to digging.

One thing that the Roman legions could do better than any other ancient army was build.  Every single night a Roman legion would fortify their camp.  They built walls in record speed, they brought tools and technology with them, coupled that with a fiercely industrious nature, and used it all to great advantage.  Caesar has his men dig a wide trench all the way around the city–a distance of around ten miles.  After this wide trench is dug, he has them dig another trench and fill it from the water of the nearby river, creating an effective moat.  After another trench goes in, he fills all of this with stakes, caltrops, and other nasty defensive surprises the Romans were famous for.  He turns the ground around Alesia into a killing field.

Then he sets the legionnaires to building a wall around the city, turning a defensible position into a prison–a tactic called circumvallation.

Vercingetorix isn’t stupid, and he can see all of this happening from the city walls.  He sends his best troops–that Gallic cavalry we spoke about–to raid the Romans building the wall, but the legion regularly pushes him back into the city.  Roman legions were also good at defense, and Vercingetorix was unable to break through the Roman lines.  Day by day, his sorties failed again and again.  Finally, Vercingetorix makes what many people believe to be the mistake that sealed his fate–he sent his cavalry out into the countryside to rally the tribes for help.  The move cripples his ability to harass the Romans building the wall.

Caesar, ever the clever opportunist, uses the escape of the Gallic cavalry to his advantage.  He orders his quartermasters to procure a supply of food from the surrounding countryside for thirty days, and sets his men to building even more fortifications.  With the ability to build with impunity, the legions get right to work.

They build a second wall around the first, and this one is around twenty miles in length–a line of contravallation.  It goes up without incident, and in record time.  Caesar makes his camp between the two walls and, anticipating the appearance of a Gallic relief force, prepares to be besieged while besieging Vercingetorix.  Wild, huh?  The walls that Caesar’s legion built had only one weak spot–the western side, where the walls met the river.

After about seven weeks of being besieged, the people of Alesia began to starve.  There is a small supply of beef and corn inside the walls, but Vercingetorix has seized control of the food for his men, and the civilians are running out of sustenance.  What happens next is a strange thing, to be sure.  Either Vercingetorix, or the tribal elders inside the town, decide to send out their women and children–some three thousand people–to the Romans.  Doubtless these people thought that the Romans would hopefully let them through to safety, or even take them as slaves.  Either way, from their point of view, they might avoid starvation, and the possible slaughter coming their way.

Caesar, though, turns the civilians back toward the city.  He denies them any sustenance or mercy.  This might have been a cruel thing to do, but from a tactical standpoint, it’s quite devious.  Caesar’s armies aren’t doing much better than the citizens of Alesia, as Vercingetorix had enacted his famous “Scorched Earth” policy and convinced the Gauls to burn their own crops before the Romans, and allow them no succor from Gallia’s fruits.  The legions are struggling to forage food from the countryside, and they’re in hostile territory far from their home.  Caesar knows he cannot feed these refugees, and doing so would place his own supplies in jeopardy–which might have been Vercingetorix’s strategy from the start.

What he does next speaks to that intention, because Vercingetorix turns the civilians away from Alesia, too.  He keeps the gates tightly shut.  There are different estimates of the number of women and children that were left to starve in the killing fields between the city and the Roman fortifications.  I know that this was a darker time, and these people were used to killing, but it’s hard for me to believe that the soldiers on both sides–not to mention the husbands and fathers of those left to die–could listen to the cries of the helpless without feeling some kind of sympathy for them.  I couldn’t even imagine the sight.

Vercingetorix eventually breaks, and allows the women and children back into the city.  Caesar wins the battle of wills.  Alesia is starving, Vercingetorix’s men are getting desperate, and he knows he’s on his last leg.  Caesar now has the upper hand.  It was in that desperate hour, however, that Vercingetorix gets the reinforcements he was hoping for.

His cavalry has returned, having rallied the surrounding Gallic tribes, riding at the head of a force 60,000 strong.  They are commanded by a man named Commius.  They occupied some high ground outside of the outer walls of Caesar’s defenses, screaming and beating their shields at the enemy below.  Caesar had anticipated them, though, and was prepared.

Commius immediately sends in his cavalry, covered by archers from the high ground, at the small groups of Roman infantry that were outside the walls.  They begin killing everything in their path, and Caesar sends his own cavalry out into the hills to counter the Gallic forces.  A battle ensues where the Gauls slowly retreat, drawing Caesar’s cavalry into the range of their archers, where they begin to get cut down in a storm of arrows.  Caesar orders in reinforcements, and they somehow manage to fight their way to a nearby hill.  The Romans swing around and charge down at the flanks of Commius’s cavalry.  The Gauls are routed, which leaves the archers to the mercy of the Roman cavalry.  They are easily cut down before the Romans, and Commius is forced to pull his army back, losing a tithe of his mounted soldiers and almost every archer under his command.

The victory emboldens Caesar’s men, and makes Vercingetorix even more desperate.  Caesar, outnumbered over two to one, has managed to fight off a larger force while keeping Vercingetorix easily besieged within the walls of Alesia.  Vercingetorix must have known that the help he was holding out for may not be his salvation, and it must have been crushing.  The Romans were notorious for the things they did to the people that crossed them, and it was doubtlessly on Vercingetorix’s mind.

That night, Commius and Vercingetorix launch a coordinated attack under the cover of darkness.

The Romans had withdrawn within their defenses by this point, and Caesar had stationed his men along the wall in various strategic positions.  Suddenly the Gauls come screaming out of the night from both directions, trying to fight their way through Caesar’s defenses and create a breach.  Caesar reinforces his men on the outer wall, but the defenses and traps he’d left on the inner wall are wreaking havoc on Vercingetorix’s forces.

The Gauls had to run through a field sprinkled with Roman style caltrops–called Goads–before passing through yet another field that Caesar’s men had dug with row upon row of buried, hidden traps with sharpened stakes.  If one made it through this field, they then had to cross the moat, which also had traps inside of it.  After that they had to battle through two separate trenches that were five feet deep and filled with a forest of sharpened stakes.  Only then could they attack the wall.  The entire time the Gauls would have been pelted with Roman arrows, javelins from ballistae, and stones from slingers.  The grounds around Alesia would have been choked with the dead.

Vercinetorix’s assault from the inside was suffering the entire weight of Caesar’s preparations.

The outside assault under Commius is going better.  The Gauls, by sheer weight of numbers, are putting a lot of pressure on the Romans.  The fight for the walls goes back and forth, and the Romans nearly break more than once, but the quick actions of a young commander by the name of Mark Antony saves the fight.  The Gauls are repelled from the walls and sent back into the night without the will to continue.  It was that night that won Antony the respect of Caesar, and Antony became his right-hand man after the Battle of Alesia.

The Gauls are pushed back from the Roman defenses a second time, and Vercingetorix retreats into the walls of the city.  This was a crushing defeat for the Gauls.  Vercingetorix, after having watched Caesar repel yet another attack by a larger force, must have been feeling the weight of destiny on his shoulders by now.  The Roman general has managed to spend his forces at just the right times in order to win through by the skin of his teeth, and the people of Alesia are starving.  Things aren’t looking good for the people of Gallia.  They know they have to do something soon, or their cause will be lost.

It is about this time that Commius finds the weak spot in Caesar’s wall–the one on the western side near the river that we talked about earlier.  He sends in his men under the cover of night, and hides them near the river.  The next day he springs his trap on the unsuspecting legionnaires, and a fierce battle ensues for control of the wall.  Both sides are tired from the battle of the night before, but the Romans are still outnumbered more than two to one, and have to fight more often.  They’re beginning to flag, and start to get pushed back into the space between the two walls–back into their camps.

Vercingetorix sees this from the walls of Alesia, and orders his men to attack.  At the same time, a third force under one of Vercingetorix’s cousins attacks the outer wall, and the Romans are beset on all sides.  To the west, Commius has fought his way into the camp and is pressing the legion hard.  On the eastern side the defenders are facing another army of Gallic tribesman on the outer wall, and Vercingetorix is pressing hard from the inside.  Romans are being slaughtered everywhere, and for a time it seems that Caesar will die under the walls of Alesia along with all of his men.

Caesar is standing atop a tower he’d made his men build into the defenses, watching everything happen.  He can see that his lines on the western side–where the Gauls are streaming into the camp–are starting to break.  If those legionnaires give way, the Romans will be routed and slaughtered to a man.  It’s now that he does one of those things that he’s famous for, at least in his early history.  He straps on his famous red cloak, rallies four cohorts of reinforcements, and leads them right into the teeth of the enemy, where the fighting is most desperate.

This is where you have to remember what I told you earlier about the regard Caesar’s men had for their general.  Caesar was like a combination of Patton, Kennedy, and Russel Brand to these guys.  They loved him.  They trusted him completely, and each one was ready to lay down their lives if he thought it was necessary.  He had won their respect over years of campaigning beside them, and had taken good care of them along the way.  Imagine if you saw your idol hoist a sword, yell “follow me, boys!”, and rush right into the worst of the fighting.

When the legionnaires saw their leader charge down upon the enemy, a fire must have lit along the battlefield.  Each man who was throwing javelins, or pelting the Gauls from a distance, was said to have dropped his missiles, drawn his gladius, and followed Caesar right into the fray.  Right when their lines were about to break, the men at the front saw Caesar come rushing down into their midst at the head of hundreds of reinforcements.  Suddenly their salvation had appeared, and they rallied to meet their fates.

Commius had committed his forces to a narrow strip of land where Caesar had been unable to build up the walls enough to keep them out.  He had somewhere around 40,000 men behind him, but as the numbers on the battlefield grew, the flaw in his tactics became apparent.  The Gallic infantry basically just rushed down on their enemies with swords aloft, the way you could imagine any barbarian horde might do.  The tight space they were rushing through started to choke their advance as more and more bodies filled the gap.  This was exactly the kind of fight in which the legions excelled.

Caesar pushed his advantage and tore into the Gallic lines, pushing their advance back to the weak point in his defenses.  The Romans fought for their very lives, and with the advantage of numbers neutralized, began to slaughter the Gauls right and left.  As the Gauls saw their countrymen being sliced down in droves, their attack broke, and they began to run away in fear.  The Romans pushed their advantage and routed the Gauls, pursuing them all the way back to their camp.  In one decisive move, Caesar took a full third of the Gallic army, and Commius’s forces melted away into the forests.

Meanwhile, the forces attacking the outer defenses were unable to gain a foothold.  The legions under Antony and Caesar’s other commanders continuously pushed them back.  Vercingetorix fared no better against the circumvallation lines than he had before, and was forced to retreat back inside the city walls.  Once the Gauls had learned of the destruction of their camp and the rout of Commius, the tribes retreated into the night.  By the next morning, the battlefield outside of Alesia was deserted, save for the dead.

Vercingetorix was alone.

Imagine the way he must have felt looking out over the destruction of the countryside, and the Romans camped outside of the walls.  He must have known that Caesar was now free to attack the city at will, or starve them out in short order.  The people were already dying, both of starvation and the continuous fighting.  He knew that if the Romans were forced to breach the walls, the city’s innocents would probably be raped, killed, or sold off into slavery.  I think the next decision he made was a noble one.  He put on his armor, opened the city gates, and rode out to meet Caesar alone .

The romantic version of the story has Vercingetorix being brought before Caesar, drawing his blade, and dropping it silently at his feet.  Caesar takes Vercingetorix into custody, but in a surprising move, spares a large number of people inside the city.  This was out of character for him at the time, especially on the heels of such a tough battle.  Perhaps it was a political move designed to quell the ill feelings toward the Romans at the time–after all, the local tribes had been killing Romans for awhile at this point.  Perhaps it was the beginning of Caesar’s tradition of clemency for his enemies, or perhaps Vercingetorix begged for him to spare the city.  I have a feeling that the ones left alive and free were probably from tribes that Caesar wanted as allies in the region.

Whichever thing it was that spared the people of Alesia, the same couldn’t be said for Vercingetorix.  He was kept imprisoned for five years as the political turmoil in Rome upended Caesar’s life.  During that time Caesar fought more wars against his own people, and maneuvered his way into being declared dictator in Rome.  It was after his defeat of the Senate that Caesar organized his own Triumph–a huge party and parade that was considered one of the highest honors a Roman man could be granted–where Vercingetorix was paraded out for the plebians to see.

There, after being paraded before the assembled people of Rome, Vercingetorix was strangled to death in a Roman dungeon.  Gallia was subdued, and eventually became a Roman province.  It would be around three hundred years before another uprising.   Later in the Roman history, there would be campaigns to extend citizenship to the Gauls, who had become close to Romans themselves.

It started bloody, though, as do a lot of things in history.

I hope you guys enjoyed that little story.  There are a lot of details I glossed over about the battle, and historians always disagree on a lot of details.  Feel free to google it and read up on it yourself.  It’s wild to think that this stuff happened, even in some way close to the story we accept today.  I’ll update you guys soon on Child of the Flames, and don’t forget to JOIN THE CONCLAVE, like, subscribe, and all of that nonsense.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Kylo Renn

I find it a little ridiculous that I’m even writing this blog post.  However, not to do so would be to ignore something that absolutely needs to be said.  Here we go…

Dear Idiots, kindly keep your politics out of my Star Wars.

We sat a few nights ago and watched a parade of craziness come across Twitter and other places on the net.  I saw everything from general complaints about the races of the actors involved in the upcoming film to outrageous claims that Star Wars actually promotes “white genocide”.  White.  Genocide.

Seriously?  Is this where we’ve gone?  Is this the kind of outrage that everyone is keen to drum up these days?  Things with no clear basis in reality, statements utterly devoid of rational thought?  Was this a 4chan prank?  Please tell me it was a 4chan prank.

Ahem…on the off chance that this was a 4chan prank–well done, nameless ones.

However, to those out there who take this ridiculous claim seriously I would say this:  Just stop.  Stop looking for things to be mad about.  You’ve got your sleeves rolled up, you’re digging in the mud and pulling out lumps of coal and proudly proclaiming them diamonds.  You don’t look very sensible with all that froth coming out of your mouth and those crazy words spewing from your gullet.  You can’t seriously believe that Star Wars or J.J. Abrams is pushing some agenda of white genocide by choosing a black actor to play the hero in the new movie.  If you seriously do, then you’re in dire need of a reality check.

We’re talking about a story that has the Force, aliens all over the place, sentient droids, evil empires, laser guns and giant wookies.  With all of that, you’re seriously worried about a black guy?!  Get over it.  Please, just get over it so the rest of us can stop talking about these so-called “issues” and just get back to the excitement.

On that note, what is wrong with a black hero?  Who cares about the color of his skin?  IT MEANS NOTHING!  This modern idea that skin color is of the utmost importance goes completely against the painstaking work that civil rights leaders throughout our history have been doing.  Do you think that what MLK would have wanted was people concentrating so hard on skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or creed?  No!  What they wanted was for society to move past these arbitrary things and see only the things about people that matter–who they are and what they accomplish.  They envisioned a rising tide lifting everyone to the same level, not a giant sword chopping anything offensive from our society.

Here’s a thought.  According to modern genetics, we are 99.98% genetically identical to chimpanzees.  How close do you think that makes you to every human being on the planet?  You may as well be worried about the color of someone’s leg hair if you’re going to worry about skin color.  It’s just arbitrary genetic packaging for what really makes us who we are.

This is simply another outgrowth of the P.C. outrage culture from the other side.  On the left you have the Progressive nannies that want to police everyone’s speech, thoughts, feelings, and workplaces for offensive material, and now the other side has figured out how to mine popular culture for things that piss them off.  Congratulations, you’ve discovered how to toss more mud on the pile.  Welcome to being part of the problem.

They tried to take our Heavy Metal.  They tried to water down our comic books.  They have been trying very hard to ruin video games for everyone, and now they come after my Star Wars.

So, go ahead.  Boycott Star Wars, and good luck making any dent in a franchise that crashed ticket servers in the U.K. the same day they went on sale.  Good luck destroying a story that grew from a cult film to infect the very speech that we use every day–or have you never told someone to “use the Force”?  Do you think you can stop something that inspired a march on the Great Wall of China?  Go ahead.  Stay home.

There will be more seats for nerds like me if you do.

Sorry to get political with you guys, but I feel these things need to be said.  I grew up with Star Wars, and as odd as it sounds, it means a lot to me.  To have the things I love–metal, comics, video games, comedy, and now Star Wars–attacked and defamed on such a basis of stupidity really makes me angry.

Work continues on Child of the Flames, and I’m pretty sure you guys are going to love the reboot in general.  I’m probably going to let a sneak peek go to my mailing list next month, so don’t forget to JOIN THE CONCLAVE and tap into all that’s going on in my world.  Like/Share/Subscribe and all of that happy stuff.