Somewhere near the entrance of the Macteris Valley
Gisgo reclined amongst several warm rugs on one side of the fire with his familial enemy, who stood by the fire rubbing his numb hands. They were positioned at top of a rise that overlooked the lush terrain of the Macteris valley. Swollen with winter rains and run off, the source of the Merjerda River gathered power below adding to the noise of the burning Juniper fire that warms the two warriors.
“Let us put aside our differences Gisgo. Our families should work together to raise up Carthage!” Gisdo nodded, and said “Surely Hamilcar I know I can trust you as long as your money is tied up with building this massive fleet you so desire. It is the tepid fools in the Council of 100 I worry about.”
The Barca clansman interjected savagely ” Oh suck on Tanits teat Gisgo, the very Priests will bear her breast for you. control the damn Council . You must stand up to them, we must attack, we must raid we must raise another army now!”
Roaring with laughter Gisgo shook his head, “Hamilcar, our family rules Carthage because we have respect for the Ways. You and your kin would be well advised to do the same and not use Mother Tanits name or tit in vain. However I think you are right, we can win this war without a full scale clash of armies, but we must not delay. Return to Carthage with this letter and YOU read it to the council from me. ” Reaching to a silver platter Gisgo flicked the wax sealed parchment at Hamilcar. Gisgo continued, “I have seen to it to grant you a loan on favorable terms to build a quarter of your squadrons. You raise the rest of the capital and set sail to run amok upon the Roman coast line.”
“So it shall be” Said Hamilcar Barca.
Lutes, fine wine, slaughtered lambs and exotic fruits forced gasps from all who beheld the bounty. The price of such goods in this harsh weather was astronomical, as well as scarce these days. Praetor Urbanus L. Postmius and Praetor of Rome Aquilius Florus cared not about the cost of the goods on the 30 foot long table. They had succeeded in electing themselves and a cadre of like minded insular Republicans. The Consuls and Proconsuls could be counted on to do nothing to disturb the peace of Rome. Secret messengers from Carthage assured Florus that no troops had been raised this spring, he would see to it that Rome did the same. Prosperity hinged upon peace and trade not war he mused, despite the fact that piracy was on the up tick.
If only he could hear the hammering and pounding upon wood of the 13 Squadrons of Quinquiremes being assembled in Lilybaeum. True to their word Carthage raised no Army in Carthage. Western Sicily was another matter.
Hanno Hamilcar, set march at a brisk pace with his army. Pennants, capes and flags snapped in the warm wind. After a quiet winter the men and mercenaries were ready to test themselves on more than training dummies. They wanted Roman heads to smash. Horns of all types blared, undercut by a current of rhythmic beating of wild animal skins stretched taunt over hollowed circles of wood. Onward.
Hiero travelled the land, raising troops, and rebuilding his fleet from last years disastrous storms. As he rode to Syracuse he could not help looking over his shoulder at the far Coast of Rhegium. Would they come this year? In a modest concession he had followed Hanno Hamilcar’s request to head back to Syracuse to raise more men and expand the ship building.
Admiral Hanno (IP11)sailed from Corsica to Caralis, pausing for some time to gather his scattered squadrons as heavy weather plagued them. Onwards they travelled after much delay to Panormous. His ships were now distributed in an arc across the Carthaginian possessions. The Duumvirs had received their orders over the course of the winter. They set about quietly positioning themselves for what was to come.
Rome was ham strung all year. From crappy leaders, to failed Legion raising rolls and Senatorial requests for movement, they literally did nothing.
Meanwhile the Carthaginians boned up on Leader recall in an attempt to raise a better leader for the coming brawl for Massana. With Rome NOT in Sicily proper it is almost impossible to rise the Political interest or change family leadership.
Carthage settled for building a lot of squadrons, and placing them over the two turns it took to construct and deploy them into key strategic locations. At this moment the Carthage side is prepared for a Naval Auto Victory subject to surviving 261 and 260 unscathed and in position (I don’t think in port units can be dislodged that I know of. 260B.C. may be problematic as by then the Roman Naval ability will be in full force with capacity expanded. Surely by then they will have been able to raise Legions?
The other way we get screwed is if the Roman player cottons onto the scheme. Right now he is sharing details with me about how close I am for an Auto Win if I can obtain a 2nd Army and militarily control Sardinia and Corsica. This is indeed a back up plan, but I hope to sow a victory with the Navy first, or a rapid strike at Capua and the two adjacent cities for an attempted AV there over a two or three turn period. Although striking at Corsica etal would likely force Rome to focus his soon to be formidable Navy over there rather than Sicily / Massana / Lilybauem.
With a lot of troops in Massana and a 20+ point army +4 Cav sitting outside to intercept I hope we can forestall losing any ports, as I think once a city falls being in port at the end of a year turn will not be permissible due to wintering rules.
There is a practical desire for this win this way also. With Thanksgiving fast approaching we need to ensure the table at my friend Richards house is free for the meal! I’m really doing it for him…ahem…;)