Ardaric : King Of The Gepids
" We Will Make Them Come To Us ! "
" Our scouts have informed me that the main Hun army, commanded by Ellac, is located somewhere near the river Drina in Southern Pannonia. Which side of the river he is on is unclear at the moment. Therefore we will march half the army on the west side of the river, and half will journey south along the east bank. " he began, before being interrupted by Rodulph of the Heruli.
" Is it wise to split our forces ? " the Heruli king asked.
Ardaric acknowledged Rodulph's concern with a smile and a nod.
" Normally I would never divide my army to engage the enemy. But I am not interested in fighting Ellac this far south. Down here he might be able to entice more warriors from his brothers armies to join him in a war against us. Therefore it is my intention to make him chase after us and lead him north. My fiends we will make him come to us, and then fight him as close to our homelands as possible. " he explained.
Remismund, the king of the Suavi, was the next to put forth a question.
" Do you think we can draw the Huns all the way up to the river Danube ? " he asked.
Ardaric stroked his beard and thought for a moment.
" That would be my hope, but if we cannot draw them that far north, then possibly we can force them to follow us up to the river Sava at the very least. " he told the Germanic kings.
Flaccitheus stood up and drew his sword.
" Ardaric ! I ask to be given the honor to lead the army south with my Rugii warriors ! "
Deorold of the Turcilingi pounded his spear into the ground angrily, and protested the right of the Rugii king to be awarded such an honor.
" My warriors are equally as skilled as those in the Rugii army. Why should his people lead and not mine ?! " he demanded to know.
The king of the Gepids stepped forward and interposed himself in between the two overly proud Germanic leaders.
" Petty rivalry will not help us defeat our enemies ! " Ardaric quickly told the kings.
Ardaric first turned to Flaccitheus, and pointed to the west.
" You, the king of the Rugii, will lead the right arm of our army down the west side of the river Drina. Remismund and his Suavi warriors will follow, with my Gepids bringing up the rear ! " he ordered.
Ardaric then turned to the Turcilingi king, who now had an angry scowl etched upon his face, and told him the marching order for the army on the east side of the river Drina.
" Deorold, I will allow you the honor of leading us on the left. However, you must be cautious my old friend, for your army is smallest. King Hunulphus ! Your Scirii will follow, with King Rodulph's Heruli acting as the rear guard on our right flank. And remember we want only to find the enemy, and not to begin a battle we cannot win ! " the king of the Gepids told them all in a commanding no nonsense voice.
King Ardaric looked around, and seeing no one protesting his decision, he then ordered the kings to mount up and get their warriors formed into columns for the march south.
Most of the main Germanic army moved slowly and cautiously south along the river Drina. The one exception, however, was Flaccitheus who pushed his Rugii far out in front of the other divisions of the army. Despite repeated warnings from Ardaric, the king of the Rugii moved out of sight of the rest of the army day after day.
On the fourth day of marching King Remismund sent a courier to inform Ardaric that once again the Rugii had marched beyond the sight of his army. When Ardaric received this message he was so displeased that he quickly decided to send Berimund ahead to reprimand Flaccitheus. Before his second in command could leave, however, a second courier came galloping up with much more disturbing news.
" King Ardaric ! King Remismund wishes to inform you that the Rugii have engaged the enemy, and that he is, as we speak, rushing to the aid of Flaccitheus. " the messenger quickly relayed to the king of the Gepids.
Ardaric had heard enough ! He kicked his horse with both heels and rode off to the south at full gallop, closely followed by Berimund. The two quickly caught up to the Suavi foot soldiers, who despite running as fast as they could, were no match for their panting horses, and were soon left far behind.
The sight that the king of the Gepids saw when he arrived at the meadow, which had obviously been the scene of a bloody battle, both amazed and angered him. For there, on the edge of the field sat Remismund on his horsing cursing Flaccitheus, who was covered in blood.
" We were told not to engage the enemy in a general battle ! Why did you risk endangering our entire army for your own glory ! ? " he angrily demanded to know.
Ardaric pulled his horse up alongside Remismund and peered angrily down at the Rugii king, while Berimund went forward to search the area to see how many casualties there were on the battlefield.
" I too would like to know what you were thinking when you decided to attack alone ! " Ardaric yelled in a scolding tone.
Flaccitheus was still very much pumped up with the adrenaline of battle, and did not appreciate being reprimanded by two fellow kings who had bot been present when events unexpectedly unfolded in his front.
" Well I will be damned by Wodan himself ! You were not here ! No,...,no,..., it was I who stumbled upon these Huns who were transporting our people back to the south as slaves ! I did what any honorable Germanic warrior would do ! I fell upon them and killed as many of these Hun bastards as I could ! " he yelled back at the mounted kings.
It was just then that Berimund called out to Ardaric.
" I estimate two hundred dead Huns, and maybe thirty-five dead Rugii . I also count about forty Goth men, women, and children, who were taken by the Huns. " he informed the king of the Gepids.
As Flaccitheus wiped his bloody sword on his pants he grinned at Ardaric.
" As I told you,..., I caught them completely by surprise ! " he said with a hint of pride.
Berimund confirmed what the Rugii king said by nodding.
" And one of the Huns is Basich ! " he added.
Ardaric took a deep breath.
" Obviously Attila's guard was promoted, and allowed to lead a small army. He was a good man at one time. " the king of the Gepids noted.
" Yes ! Basich and Edecon stood guard over Attila for many years. " he added.
Ardaric agreed and then looked around the battlefield nervously.
" We cannot stay here much longer ! " he informed Remismund and Flaccitheus.
" Flaccitheus ! Since you caused all of this, I want you to escort the Goth prisoners north. " he shouted to the king of the Rugii.
Ardaric then glanced over at Remismund.
" Take over what is now our flank with your Suavi. We have found the enemy, and now all we need do is entice them to follow us north. " he instructed the king.
Then Ardaric laughed.
" And may I suggest that we chop off as many of the Hun's heads as you can before we leave. We will place them on wooden spikes along the way as we move north. " he told the Suavi king.
Remismund chuckled as well.
" That will surely anger Ellac enough to make him chase after us ! " he replied.
Ardaric then turned back to Berimund.
" Ride across the river and tell Deorold, Hunulphus, and Rodulph to rejoin the main army. For we now know which side of the river the Huns are on ! " the king ordered.
- End Chapter 5
- Next : Chapter 6 : " Where Are Their Heads !? "
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2018.