Decanus Flavius Longinius Marsus (a.k.a. The Wall)
Listen up you sons of whores, the Centurion has told us to hold this street, and by the gods of the underworld. We will hold this cursed street. Shields high, gladius out like you were taught.
Flavius Longinius Marsus was a Decanus
of the Xth Legion
and a hero of the Empire, responsible for one of the most decisive battles in the conquest of the Gresyan Isles. During a particularly brutal fight in one of the central cities of Gresya legionaries were ordered to hold a particular street of the city.
A century of 80 Legionaries lined up side by side in a 4 deep rank while attacked by approximately 800-1000 Thesselv warriors, under a hail of arrows the Legionaries protected themselves by forming an overlapping roof of shields. But alas the Centurion and the commanders of the Century were taken out before they could get to cover.
The unthinkable began to happen, the Legionaries outnumbered 10 to 1 began to waiver and the line began to move backwards. It is at this point that Flavius at the back of the formation screamed out the quote at the top of this page. He picked up the fallen Legion standard from the dead bearer and planted it in the street between some cobble stones. He decreed that noone could fall back further than the standard.
For three hours through brutal close quarters combat the Legionaries held their ground, approximately 300 Thesselv were killed as they met the pure mechanical meat grinder of Legion shield and gladius. This heroic effort was nicknamed 'the day the wall held' as to the untrained eye it looked like a wall of shields from one side of the street to the other.
Thanks to his efforts the remaining Thesselv retreated into the city claiming that the Legion were brutal and taking no prisoners, this fear effect trickled through and turned it into a rout. Via a domino effect the Thesselvs eventually capitulated rather than suffer more brutality at the Legions hands. This one minor action led to the wider victory.
When they were relieved, the vast majority of the Legion pointed to Flavius as the sole reason the line held, his determined demeanour and commanding voice gave them all the resolve they needed. For his efforts Flavius was immediately promoted to the rank of Centurion and went on to have a very successful career as a line officer, for a few bottles of wine or beer around the campfire he would retell the story.
He was buried in Lindum
as an Imperial Hero and many visit his tomb as a pilgrimage when joining the Legion as a thanks, and a reminder that even the smallest military action can have the largest effects in the wider scheme of things.