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|This article covers a war or battle
Three and a half centuries after Romans first sailed away from their empire to find new opportunities in Terra Nova, the very problems they sought to escape were coming back to haunt them. Division and strife plagued the empire as two competing visions threatened to tear it apart.
Ironically, the emperors of the time were nearly mirror images of each other. Both were intelligent and well-respected, educated in the finest of Roman traditions, and dedicated to the Empire. Both were even named Constantine. This was ironic mainly because they were called upon to represent two groups which were just as similar but subscribed to irreconcilable ideologies.
The tensions had been rising for almost two hundred years, ever since the Great Uprising. Slaves from the West sought to escape their increasingly harsh treatment by crossing over to the East. It was a difficult and perilous journey, but some still managed to make it (the number increasing as the Imperial Roads grew closer to completion). The West demanded their return. The East made a show of agreement, but never bothered to enforce it.
If the treatment of the natives were the only zone of contention, perhaps a war could yet be avoided. But it was only a reflection of the underlying conflict older than the Roman presence in Terra Nova by far: the conflict between the large land owners and the small farmers joining forces with city dwellers. It was a conflict of wealth and freedom and of whether the empire should be governed by a few individuals representing the multitude or a few individuals representing only themselves.
The lead-up to the war was downright polite. The two sides exchanged dignitaries and arranged the whole thing. Romans marched against Romans with bright banners and drums. There was little attempt at subterfuge. The armies wanted to face each other. Allowing the opposing force to pass into the heart of their own territory was not an acceptable option.
In the middle of the Great Plains the legions of East and West faced off. Just like the emperors, the armies mirrored each other, representing the most advanced fighting force in existence. Since their arrival into Terra Nova, the Roman fighting techniques changed, as they always had. The traditional spear-throwers had been phased out in favor of archers. The light cavalry that used to run messages had become a force of heavily-armored juggernauts. The Roman army was stronger and more dangerous than ever before.
The first three days of the Battle of the Plains were a sort of elaborate dance of maneuvers as the generals on both sides tried to match their troops favorably. The turning point came when an Eastern cohort got lost and marched all through the night. When the dawn came, they found themselves behind the enemy lines. Seizing the opportunity, the commander ordered a charge on the Western siege weaponry. Despite the heroic resistance of the machine operators and their guards, the Easterners successfully seized one of the three groupings and used it to fire several badly-aimed volleys at the exposed Western backs. When the Western cavalry arrived to re-take the siege engines, the Easterners retreated, leaving the catapults and ballistae in flames.
This disruption was enough for the Easterners to mount a successful attack, breaking through the infantry ranks and splitting the Western forces in two. When they overran the Western encampment, seizing the supplies inside, the battle was decided.
With the momentum of that first victory and the surrender of the Western army, Easterners had the advantage. However, their march Westward was far from unimpeded. The Western reserves combined with volunteer forces to harry the Eastern army at every turn. With their supply routes overstretched, the Easterners faced quite a challenge.
Fortunately, the very cause they were fighting for helped them out. The natives had long regarded Easterners as their allies and liberators. At every turn the Eastern army was joined by more and more escapees, until things reached the point where the Eastern commander had little choice but to revive the auxiliaries, increasing their numbers while gaining intimate knowledge of the terrain. All the Western precautions only made things worse for them now.
The Eastern legions and their rapidly growing auxiliaries successfully pushed the Western militia all the way to the Western capital of Port Occidentalis. Here they faced more difficulty. Along with the remaining Western troops, Port Occidentalis held the Western emperor, along with his personal Praetorian guard. Since the fall of the Eastern Empire, the Praetorians had been rebuilt into their original incarnation as the most capable, bravest, and most loyal troops. In addition, Port Occidentalis boasted high walls and constant resupplying by the Western Fleet. It was also populated entirely by Roman citizens. The natives were forbidden from setting foot within it, robbing Easterners of their greatest advantage.
Here the Eastern general, a man named Marcos Caius, decided to split his forces. The main Eastern legions stayed where they were, keeping the Western military trapped within the city. The auxiliaries were dispersed into the countryside to cut off resources and gather more sympathizers. By year’s end, the auxiliary forces nearly equaled the original legionnaires in number. Coupled with the arrival of additional reinforcements along with an engineering corpse, this meant Marcos was finally prepared to storm the walls.
Ironically, he didn’t have to. With their agricultural regions plundered, the Westerners were running short on provisions. Facing a force that outnumbered them three to one, they were forced to surrender rather than risk destruction.
The outcome of the Civil War had momentous consequences. The Emperor of the West was deposed and replaced with someone more loyal to Eastern interests, reshoring the unity of the empire. Many of the landed senators of the West were dispossessed in favor of their newly emancipated slaves. A tribute was levied on the West for forty years afterward. The plebian assemblies were granted increased power. In short, the whole of Terra Nova was gradually restructured to fit closer with the Eastern vision.