GENRE: Historical Fiction
Tiridates used to play dice with this old legionnaire in Rome, a real bastard who'd distract you with stories of the good old days so you wouldn't notice him gradually winning over the contents of your purse. He claimed to have been in Antioch when they crushed the warrior queen. The way he told it, life in the legions was all thrills and glory and pretty local girls eager to lift their skirts for a share in a soldier's wages.
That old fox was obviously not a cavalryman, for Tiridates' two-year drag in the military has been few thrills and no glory at all. As for women, Tiridates hasn't even seen one in weeks, and that kind of deprivation has its effects. It's not all bad though. Hunting duty he enjoys, scouting is tolerable, but this siege business is not to be borne.
There's a reason, after all, cavalry helmets are called furnusi—ovens. For the Praetorian cavalry, a siege means sitting atop a horse in tight rows behind the emperor, stagnating in the blasted summer heat and watching other men risk their lives. Tiridates cannot drink enough to match his sweat. There is no wind, not a single cloud, and all about him the earth is cracked, literally baked in the afternoon sun.
No sane commander would keep his men out this time of day. Unfortunately, Emperor Carus has become obsessed; he's resolved to cure his youngest son's affinity for poetry and philosophy by forcibly exposing him to the awesome spectacle of war.