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So long have I awaited your return.

Your absence set me at unease, and in my most personal moments, I was never really alone. Patiently did I bide the time, as you seethed and lurked in the dark corners of the world, never truly whole, never truly firm. Until now.

I knew that when you were ready, you would find me. And when you found me, all hell would follow in your wake.

I look out from the ramparts of besieged Londinium, and behold your unholy entourage. A sea of snarling faces, unclean, chanting in their foreign tongue of gods profane. Their barbarity precedes them: the stench of excrement and the metallic tang of blood permeated the air long before I could see them all. I take small comfort in knowing the men to my left and right are the best trained warriors this savage land has laid eyes upon. Yet this training does little for them, it is no guarantee of victory.

I ponder how each movement and tactic is named by the Legion. The thrust of the sword from this direction, the movement of shield in that direction-- and I think on how the savages have no names for their combat, just harsh, uncalculated gestures in the vicinity of that which they seek to harm.

The layer of dense fog which rose from the river and crossed the scorched earth is passing now, like a curtain being drawn taught. In this way, the actual number of their ranks is revealed to me, and their forces do grow even greater and more ferocious. Perhaps this was the moment, when the flicker began, that even before the first blow had been struck, fate had decided the outcome of this engagement.

As their number drew closer to our own, I could see you clearly amongst them. I thought that fear had addled my mind, and warped that which I saw. I gave this thought creedence for a time, until you called my name. Once. Twice. Three times you called out to me, as best your rotted lips and parched tongue could muster.

My name was foreign to you, too. But it was hate which raised you, and propelled you forward from that dark and forsaken place. And still, it was hate which gave you the strength to form my foreign name. You knew not what it meant, only that it would cause me fear.

How simple a mind. How true an action.

I met you beyond the wall, where we sought to destroy the camps of the barbarians. With us, followed civilization, how could we fail? In time we were routed, sent back to the pampered world which had spawned. I realized how brilliant a solution this was! The barbarians did not need names for their combat, for their lives were combat. When the legionnaires were not safe behind their walls, when our rations were not secure, we spent only scant time in discomfort, afield. But no! the barbarian was constantly ravaged by hunger, and cold, and fear, and this made him only stronger! While the legionnaire knew both pain and pleasure, the barbarian knew only pain-- so to charge or retreat were of no difference to him.

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