Titus Severus, Imperial Legate and Commander of the XXVII Legion, sat on a stool under an awning listening to the reports of his sub-commanders and smiling tightly.
There was no question that he had won a mighty victory, his legion routing the ferocious but over-matched and disorganised Celts after he finally trapped them and forced them to battle. The enemy dead littered the battlefield, and reports of fleeing bands being chased down and slaughtered were coming in with every new dispatch rider.
He had ended the threat that began two months before when the tribe had risen in revolt, capturing a few poorly defended settlements and butchering every Roman they could find. The Legion commander on the scene had proved sadly incompetent, unable to corral the rebellion, much less defeat it.
It was only when the Emperor appointed him the command of the legion that the tide turned. He had cut the rebels of from their base, harried their supply lines with cavalry, and forced them into a series of delaying battles as they attempted to escape. During one of these the Celtic leader had been killed, and although reports held that his wife had taken command of the tribe, there was no doubt that from that point on the fighting abilities and organisation of the rebels was greatly diminished.
All that remained now was the mopping up, Titus thought to himself. Then a return to Rome, and a public triumph, and from there......who knew what fame and riches lay ahead?
His attention was brought back to the present by the arrival of another dispatch rider, this one followed by four other riders, each of them leading a gaggle of captives tied to ropes. Titus glanced over at the prisoners, quickly noting that they were all female, then turned his attention to the dismounted rider standing in front of him.
"Beg to report, Legate," he said with a salute. "We bring captives. Among them the family of the rebel leader." He gestured to the group of women, then pointed to one.
"That one is said to be called Agrona. It was she who led this rabble after her husband was killed in battle."
Titus followed his pointing finger, his eyes taking in the proud but dusty figure of a red headed woman.
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