Danel was getting very annoyed. After marching to the military camp he was stopped by some jumped up paper pusher that thought he was a soldier.
"I'm telling you that I am a citizen not a mercenary! As such I demand to be allowed to fight with the citizens!"
"And I am telling you," the man with crooked black teeth shouted,"we have no proof you are a citizen! You look like you bought those arms second hand, no decent citizen would be seen in that."
"I almost drowned in the storm! I'm lucky I only lost my equipment!"
"Either way you can't join the citizen army. You can join the ranks of the Libyans or the mercenaries if you want."
"Fuck you." Danel walked away from the man and gave him the middle finger. George told him that it's an insult to do this, so he tried it. It felt pretty good. The paper pusher with black teeth didn't know the gesture but he understood the context. Danel marched away while grumbling under his breath.
"So what now." George said appearing at his shoulder.
Danel slowed down and bowed his head in thought. What can I do? Maybe I can appeal to an officer with higher authority? But he did not know any officers. The rab mahanet, the general? No, he would be surrounded by guards and important people but the rab sheni, the second-in-command would have the needed authority and be available for a lowly soldier such as himself. What was the mans name. He knew he had heard it before, it starts with an A. Anibal that's its!
Now he just had to find him. Danel walked towards the ships, the triremes were being led by someone and it was either a navarch, master of ships, or a the rab sheni or rab mahanet.
The beach was anarchy. Hordes of men were being let off the ships along with supplies of weapons, horses, and food. But observing the many peoples was interesting. Carthaginians were either sailors, since the navy only allowed Carthaginians to serve as sailors in the navy, or were dressed in full hoplite gear, their heavy armor clanking as they walked by. The Libyans, in their leather tunics with geometric tattoos, practically kissed the ground when they got on it. They are not a seafaring people. A few surly Etruscans made their way through the crowd and Numidian's fawned over their horses. The empire is very diverse.
Amid the chaos Danel tried to find the man that was trying to bring a little order to the army. It turned out he was the man shouting the loudest.
"No, bring the horses over then the siege engines, they can wait! Get a count of the triremes, see how many we lost! And someone for Baal's sake get us some fresh water!"
"Anibal?" Danel said hopefully.
"What!" he shouted turning to Danel. The second-in-command is a Carthaginian man with a well groomed beard and a strong physique and very angry eyes. Eyes now staring down Danel like he was a pile of manure.
Danel straightened to his full height which was a few inches taller than Anibal, "I am Danel, citizen of Carthage. One of your men keeps me from fighting with the other citizens because I can not prove my citizenship. I believe you can solve that for me."
Anibal looks over Danel with an apprising eye "No wonder, you look like a levy. And why do you think I would help you, what's in it for me."
"I nearly drowned in the storm sir. I survived but my equipment was lost to the sea. I purchased what you see from Lilybaeum with my last bits of silver. Please sir I need to join the war. I will do anything." If Danel didn't join the army he would starve on the streets.
Anibal rubbed his chin thinking. "Anything? You might just solve another problem I have. There's a group of soldiers that lost their leader in the storm. You could replace him. They number a hundred strong and their duty is to scavenge supplies from the countryside and scout. Do you think you could do it?"
A command! With a hundred soldiers at his back Danel could play a much bigger role in the war. "Accept it." George whispered in his ear.
"Yes sir! I can do it."
Later Danel found out why he was given a command. He had assumed it was over a hundred citizens but he was wrong. It was command over a hundred Libyans. He considered complaining but thought better of it, it's rare for someone as young as him to take command, even if it is just Libyan levies.
Danel's new soldiers lounged around in their tents and around a camp fire where a goat was being roasted. They all had long braided hair, leather tunics, and tattoos on their skin. The weapons they carried included spears, knives and double-headed axes along with crescent shields. Also, some of them were women.
"It's a start." George said. Carthaginians see Libyans as a primitive people since they rely on Carthage for so many products that the city people take for granted. Most are pastoral nomads that survive off of sheep and goat herds but it breeds a tough people that can survive the great southern desert. Now that Danel thinks about it they are better than soldiers taken from the streets of Carthage. The Libyans he sees are a well fed and fit group unlike some city residents he knows.
Danel huffed he had to be the new boss. They did not know him and probably only saw a young boy. Danel is only sixteen but he is very large, it had helped him avoid neighborhood bullies and maybe it will help him here, he hoped. He crashed his spear into his shield several times. KLANG KLANG KLANG.
The Libyans all turned their eyes to him, Danel made his voice deep and stern like George when he is drilling him in the dreamscape, "Listen up, I've been put in charge of you lot. As your boss I will expect my orders to be carried out to the letter. I don't expect you to respect me or to like me but by all the gods you will listen to me. Now if there are any leaders among you send them forward."
The Libyans looked among themselves. Who is this interloper to interfere with them? This youngster with his mothers milk still on his lips? Still, three people detached themselves from the group.
The first is an average looking man except he had tattoos so heavily engraved on his skin that it was more black than brown. The next is a woman with intricately braided black hair and a dozen knifes holstered over her chest. The last is a giant hulking brute with a cruel looking axe that is giving Danel a look that could kill.
"I am Danel what are your names."
"Kanmi." says the tattooed man.
"Arisha." says the woman.
"You don't belong here." says the giant.
Danel turned to the giant and stared him down "I asked you a question soldier. I expect you to answer it."
"Baltser." grated out the giant.
"Good. You three seem to be the leaders of this group, or at least the deadliest. As such you will be my seconds in command. You shall follow my orders and if I should not be present you shall lead these men. Am I understood?"
"What if we don't want to follow your orders city boy?" Baltser mocked.
"Then you will be punished."
"Well then try to punish me you smooth faced little bastard because I am not taking orders from y-" he didn't finish his words because Danel drove the but of his spear into his gut.
The air whooshed out of Baltser as he stumbled back holding his stomach, but he held onto his axe.
"You will follow my orders or you will be punished... by me."
"Fuck you!" Baltser raised his axe and tried to chop down on Danel, but he simply sidestepped out of the path. His shield crunched into the back of Baltsers knees and he fell forward into a puddle of mud. Baltser spluttered and rose again but Danel whacked him in the face with his spear shaft, breaking his nose. The giant let out a shout and held his nose to try to stop the blood flow. George's training had really been paying off.
Danel kicked away the axe from Baltser and placed his spear tip at the brutes neck. "Do you yield?"
The giant held still. Blood dripping from his nose mingled with the mud and created an ochre color that stained his lower face and neck. He looked down at the spear then up to Danels eyes.
Whatever he say in his eyes he decided to rush Danel who moved his spear tip out of the way so as not to kill the man. Baltser crashed into Danel and tackled him down. Danel lost his spear but held onto his shield. The giant straddled Danel then began to pummel him but Danel swung his shield into his head. He was fazed so Danel swung again, and again. The giant toppled over into the mud with a thud.
Danel scrambled over and grabbed his mud cacked spear then pressed it down on Baltsers chest so hard the tip broke the skin.
"Do you yield!" Danel shouted.
"I yield." He mumbled out. He sounded concussed. Danel turned towards the other Libyans who had all been watching. They didn't have dismissive looks on their faces anymore, instead some of them looked impressed.
Kanmi was exchanging coin with another man, they had made a bet and Kanmi won. Arisha had a smirk on her face. I believe I have passed some sort of test.
Danel removed his spear from Baltser's chest and pulled him up, "Sorry about breaking your nose."
Baltser wobbled on his feet "Don't worry about it." He grabbed his nose and with a KRUNCH set it back in place. "Wasn't the first time, won't be the last."