Ghouls of Gaul

The timeline follows real world events up to the point of divergence, 52 BC

Early September, 52 BC: The Roman proconsul Gaius Julius Ceasar leads 130.000 soldiers in a siege against the Gallic town fort of Alesia. During the siege, the besieged Gallic forces sent the women and children out of Alesia in order to save as much food and other supplies as possible for the fighters. Ceasar refused the noncombatants passage and the women and children were left to starve in the no-man's land between the besiegers and besieged. Rumors of cannibalism began to spread through the Romans causing nervousness to spread through the camp, but such thoughts were brushed aside by the arrival of the Gallic relief force.

Beginning of October, 52 BC: Eventually the Gallic forces were defeated and the commander of the Alesian town fort, Vercingetorix, was forced to surrender his arms without a final confrontation, thus ending the Gallic threat to Rome for good. However, the actions of the Roman senate following his glorious conquest infuriated Ceasar and he swore to gain retribution.

51 BC: Ceasar's preparations for his conquest of Rome were in full speed, but unknown to him, a cancer was eating away at his powerbase. The Romans had set fire to Alesia, but had left many of the Gallic dead where they lay, including the bodies of the women and children. Through perhaps the acts of a vengeful god with a cruel sense of irony, or by circumstances beyond mortal ken, many of these dead had risen, wandering off into the wilderness of Gaul. During the year, small villages vanished, leaving behind ravaged corpses and blood. Other villages fought off monsters that walked like men but were driven by evil, their flesh cold and in their eyes unholy hunger. Such talks were dismissed by the Romans, who believed the attacks to have been committed by wild animals, perhaps rabid wolf packs.

50 BC: Ceasar's legion crosses the Rubicon on their way to Rome. However, word reaches him that several of their supply lines have been severed and that the populace of Gaul is in a state of terror. Knowing that it's too late to turn back, but no longer dismissing these reports, he dispatches 200 cavalry to investigate the matter and restore order to the vital areas.

49 BC: The supply lines are restored somewhat, but are still unreliable. Ceasar's legion is unable to make the time he had planned and the senate learns of his limited military strenght. With knowledge of their enemy, the senate authorises Pompey to intercept and apprehend the traitorous Ceasar.

Late 49 BC: Greatly outnumbered by Pompey's legions, Ceasar is forced to retreat back to his powerbase in Gaul. Despite his growing support amongst the population, his single legion is unable to compete with the power of the senate on the Italian mainland. Pompey's legions pursue Ceasar into the transalpine Gaul.

Early 48 BC: In Gaul, Ceasar is able to convince Vercingetorix to join with him to drive back Pompey's legions and support Ceasar in his conquest of Rome in return for Gaul, Germania and Britannia. The Gallic warchief gathers his warbands and with their barbarian allies, Ceasar is able to take the field against Pompey on more even grounds. However, the Curse of Alesia as it has become known, has festered and grown in Gaul, spreading further and infecting and devouring more of the local population, including Vercingetorix's son.

Mid 48 BC: The combined Roman-Gallic army engages Pompey's legions in the battle of three armies. Initially the discipline of the legionnaires shows and gives Pompey's forces an advantage, but the greater numbers of the Gallic warbands and Ceasar's leginnaires begin to tell as the battle rages on. At the high of combat, a bone-chilling cry can be heard from the north, soon answered by an identical one from the west. The armies ceased their hostilities to see what new threat awaited them, and they didn't need to wait long.

From the trees burst hundreds and thousands of men, each one looking as if they came from the underworld. These inhuman men tore into the flanks and rears of the opposing armies with such ferocity that immediate panic ensued. Men were trampled to death by their comrades and horses while others tried to desperately fight this new threat, only to find that their enemies would not die like mortal men. In this chaos, Ceasar saw Vercingetorix pulled down but a man in a legionnaires uniform, a final act of vengeance for dead comrades perhaps, before he dashed with his bodyguards to meet with Pompey. Together the two Roman generals fled the battle, heading for Rome and the Senate to warn them of this new threat that lurked in Gaul

Late 48 BC: Pompey and Ceasar give their joint report on what happened in Gaul before the senate and advocate the immediate construction of a great wall to block the Italian peninsula from northern Europa. The senate agrees and construction begins immediately by numerous legions under the command of Ceasar. Having seen what terrors exist beyond the borders of Italy, his ambitions have been greatly humbled. As a concession, the senate allows him the triumphant parade, although it is hollow. Word is immediately sent to other Roman provinces, such as Roman Greece and Hispania, to prepare great fortifications to shut the northern Republic off from the southern provinces.

46 BC: The final constructions of the walls are complete, the greatest marvels of masonry and engineering in the known world. Small incursions during the construction were beaten back and a rudimentary understanding of the Curse has been learned. The Roman Republic is safe from the monsters of myth, for now.