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Enjoying Pleasantries Now

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1Enjoying Pleasantries Now Empty Enjoying Pleasantries Now 03/03/20, 03:21 pm

Zuzu Mansur

Zuzu Mansur



The rosy fingers of Dawn drew back the veil of night and her golden eyes peered upon the sleeping Earth - yet Zubaidah was certainly not sleeping. With feathered quill in one hand and leather-bound book in the other, she noted some comments upon loose sheets of paper. Looking up and down, she scanned the words and letters for advice before turning to her own scribbles. Filling each line with black ink, she broke down some strategies listed within that hefty volume:

    “If the enemy are superior in cavalry, the general should choose if possible a locality that is rough and hemmed in, near mountains which are least suitable for riding, or he should avoid battle so far as he may until he finds an appropriate place, adapted to his own circumstances. A certain number of soldiers must be left behind at the palisade to guard the camp and the baggage in order that the general of the enemy may not discover that the camp is deserted and send men to plunder its contents and seize the place.

    Wiping the copper nib dry, Zubaidah placed her favourite quill back in its oaken case as she prepared for her meeting in the barracks. That cohort had arranged it with their centurion and his vice had happily accepted. The cohort must have certainly made their approval of her quite clear as she had received a strong letter of commendation from the vice to his centurion. As she took her carriage to the barracks, Zubaidah tucked her beloved volume into the lilac fold of her dress, certain not to let any chance for reading to go amiss. Indeed, once she had arrived at the barracks - rather plain-looking compared to the grand Pincian hill which lay before it - she was told of the waiting-period for her appointment. Invited into the area and led towards the centurion’s quarters, she found a sizable wait which she decided to use as a chance to continue her reading.

    “One should command both retreats and pursuits to be made in formation, so that, if defeated, the soldiers may suffer less injury, when in their flight they encounter the enemy, by not being scattered, man by man, and, if successful, they may inflict greater injury on the enemy by keeping their ranks and companies unbroken, appearing stronger to the fugitives, and moreover being safer themselves. For often the enemy, observing their opponents advancing without order, by a concerted plan about-face, form ranks once more and reverse the pursuit. In a word, the general should say that nothing is more advantageous to his men than remaining in rank, and nothing more dangerous than breaking ranks.

    Tucking away the volume again, Zubaidah checked the sundial in the barracks’ square - her wait was over and her appointment soon to start. Sure enough, the mahogany door curved open to show the stoic figure of the vice-centurion Gaius Maelius, a curt nod the only approval needed for Zubaidah to join with that familiar company of the centurion inside.
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