Chapter 55 The Glory of the Army
Translator: Yi-chan, Tchu
Besides this official designation the 13th Cavalry Army of Byzantine Empire, it had also a special nickname, “Vexillationes”. The meaning “Vexillationes” in Byzantine ancient language was “The indomitable knights”.
(TL: Go see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palatini_%28Roman_military%29 for more information of Vexillationes)
In Byzantine Empire, only a cavalry who distinguished themselves through meritorious military exploit had the qualification to be crowned an alias.
However, the 13th Cavalry Army undoubtful deserved this glorious title.
In the Byzantine Empire army’s history, the 13th Cavalry Army also boasted a prominent and honorable military, and was truly the trump card among the army’s elite troops and lived up to its name.
Its predecessor was called the “Rhodelia Cavalry Army”, whose history could be dated back to two hundred years ago at the Sixth Patriotic War of Byzantine Empire. At that time, in order to suppress the rebellion, Emperor Aurelius recruited knights born in the rash area of Rhodelia and formed this cavalry Army. It immediately achieved illustrious military exploits in the Patriotic War and from all its battles all over the empire, it suppressed six rebellions and repelled nine invasions of Odins. Rhodelia native’s had bellicosity and hot bloodedness ingrained in their nature. They were brave and tenacious in battle and set a record among all armies since the establishment of Byzantine Empire: There wasn’t one single retreat in a total of sixty-four large and small battles!! (In this regard, no armies in Byzantine Empire could achieve that, even the prominent Imperial Palace Guards had a record of escapes after defeats.)
The size of the Rhodelia Cavalry Army was only two thousand strong, but the way of fighting of these two thousand knights from Rhodelia appeared to be quite special at that time. When the cavalry charged, they were accustomed to carry a special four-meter-long lance and lifted up a large-scale oval shield guard over them – Only men from Rhodelia possessed such outstanding and heroic physical strength and were able to use this type of heavy weapons. When they charged, they were intrepid and never afraid of death while never backing down.
It was worth mentioning that in the Patriotic War which the Rhodelia Cavalry Army fight through and never retreated once during all sixty four battle, among them there were 13 times where the whole Army was almost wiped out. Even when all the knights were dead in battle, still they did no retreat!
The slogan of Rhodelia Cavalry Army made all Byzantine soldiers ashen upon hearing it!
“Forward Unto Death!!”
This was not a superficial slogan; everyone inside this army, from military officer to soldier used their blood and life to demonstrate to this world the authenticity of this slogan!
After experiencing a bloody baptism time after time, the soul of this army actually became more and more tenacious. Even when this cavalry army had been smashed to pieces or wiped out in brutal wars, the rulers at that time would always rebuild it again and again without hesitation! It was because, no matter how idiotic the ruler was, he always understood how precious this blood baptized invincible army was to the empire!
After the Sixth Patriotic War ended, the Rhodelia Cavalry Army was turned from a temporary recruited army into a conventional force and was officially listed into the regular army of the Byzantine Empire. At that time, it was renamed as the Empire 13th Cavalry Army and its size also expanded to 12000 people, which had continued to this day.
Over two hundred years, from the establishment of army to the present, along with the change of the empire territories,the area which was formerly Rhodelia turned into a sparsely populated wilderness because of alternation of political situation and ethnic migration. The original rough natives of Rhodelia with its traditional pure Rhodelians did not exist anymore. They had completely assimilated to every corner of Byzantine Empire’s territory and had become a drop of water in the ocean.
Nevertheless, the 13th Cavalry Army had still retained its traditional iron and blood spirit of the Rhodelia Cavalry Army.
“Forward Unto Death!”
The officers and men of the past 13th Cavalry Army had all defended this glorious slogan with their blood from generation upon generation. For more than two hundred years, this cavalry army had been stationed at the southern coastline of the Empire, suppressed the rebellions of military Generals, resisted the aggression of the west frontier nomads and participated in every battle against the Odin Empire at the northern border. Any commander would, without hesitation, place it at the most difficult and toughest frontline to fight the hardest battle and crack the hardest bone.
Even when facing against the Odin’s Sacred Berserker regiment, the officers and men of the 13th Cavalry Army had never retreated one single step.
Therefore, the 13th Cavalry Army had also set some records in the Empire’s history: it was the army with the highest damage ratio during all previous battles; meanwhile, it was also the army which was rebuild the most.
……Moreover …… same as before ……Zero retreat recorded!
Certainly, there was another record: It was as if the soul of this army had been injected with the Rhodelia people’s natural full of valiance and fierce temper two hundred years ago. This cavalry army always took the leading role among the Empire armies, furthermore, its successive commanders had characteristics of psychopaths or madman.
Even if the emperor occasionally wanted to restraint this army by dispatching some military officers who were considered as “calm” and “experienced” to govern it, miraculously, once these military officers joined this army, they would quickly be assimilated by this army. No matter how calm and experienced he was, he would turn into a madman.
Once upon a time, the military headquarters sent a new commander to this cavalry army. That young general was of noble birth, and a famous honorable gentleman with elegant manner in the Royal Capital. However, after that aristocrat arrived at the 13th Cavalry Army, in less than three months, the first “achievement” he accomplished made the military headquarter astonished and angry. He ordered to grab the assigned military supplies of a friendly army and led a group of subordinates to burn this friendly force’s camps into ruins. Furthermore, without going through the trial, he directly executed several logistics officers who he identified were corrupt. Later on, because of fighting, and other misconducts, he repeatedly offended the empire law and became the top madman who was a real pain in ass for the military headquarters.
That commander later became a lieutenant general after accumulating sound achievements and the highest rank he served was becoming the governor of one of the empire’s military region. When he recalled the times where he held the post of the commander of the 13th Cavalry Army, he said one sentence:
“As long as you join this army, you would feel its fighting spirit everywhere! Under this circumstance, you have only two choices, either gets the hell out! Or, become one of them! I am very lucky and chosen the latter.”
Since then, all successive commanders of the 13th Cavalry Army took their predecessor’s words as their motto. While the 13th Cavalry Army had never came up with a single obedient and modest general, in Empire’s discipline violation record, it was always ranked at the first place……
Shaar departed along with the General Adrick’s party and on the way he dropped by at his home. General Adrick left Kevin who had competed military skills with Shaar in order to wait for him and to bring him back to the military camp.
Shaar’s carry-on bag was very simple. He carried a bag of gold coins, put a piece of dragon skin at the bottom of it and several pieces of dragon scales at the top. Of course, his killer weapon, the fire pitchfork was inserted by him on the waist. Before leaving, he ran to the back side of the mountain and lead a horse away, while leaving several words to the goblin: “This Uncle is going to join the army, watch over the house carefully” and floated away.
During the whole journey, Kevin didn’t show any hostility towards Shaar, despite their brutal fight against each other. This fellow took off the face-covering helmet and revealed a bald shiny head that made Shaar amazed each time he looked at it.
Kevin wasn’t bad looking. He had bushy eyebrows, big eyes with a tall and elevated body. His arms were sturdy and strong. However, he chose to shave his hair and that gigantic luminous head made him appear more hideous.
It was the first time for Shaar to join an army and it seemed that he was curious about everything. Kevin however always seriously explained those matters to Shaar. He even particularly made some simple introductions to the deeds of the 13th Cavalry Army with a tone full of undisguised pride.
After hearing that, Shaar could not help but sigh: “Awesome! Forward Unto Death. This is freakin awesome!”
With his temper and age, he naturally admired heroes. Since he was just at the age where his blood easily boiled, after hearing this, he could not help but starting to yearn for battle in his heart.
Thinking for a moment, he looked at Kevin’s bald head and suddenly could not stop his temptation to ask: “Ehm……Kevin, why is your head……”
Kevin glanced at him and said in a muffled voice: “On a battlefield, it is easy to get hurt by arrows. Having your hair shaved off would be more convenient to bandage wounds and apply medicine to it in case there are any wounds on your head or face.”
Shaar nodded repeatedly upon hearing this.
However, a silly idea suddenly popped up in his mind: Your head could be easily injured……Then what about your body? If the thigh was injured …… could it be that the hairs around that area were also shaved?
Thinking about this, Shaar subconsciously took a peek towards Kevin’s special region. And could not help but keep wondering….