His sleep was patchy and he woke frequently from dreams involving facially disfigured comrades, or hailstorms of arrows descending on his vitals. He decided he could no longer sleep at some hour before dawn, so he left his tent to use the latrine, then went to the fountain to drink and splash some cool water on his face. Seeing it was not yet time for him to report for guard duty, and all was quiet, he wandered over to the hospital area.
Fulvius was hard at work, looking like he hadn’t slept for days. He looked up at Oclatinius, nodded acknowledgement, and continued, feeding, offering drink, cleansing faces and limbs that were covered in suppurating sores. Oclatinius looked around at the massed ranks of the unfit, dominated now by the sickly, with those injured in battle a minority – presumably they had mainly recovered or died by now. There were so many. If only they were fit to fight, they had a chance of holding the Parthians off. Even outnumbered, a century of Roman legionaries in a defensive position was a tough nut to crack.
They had plenty of food in their supplies, supplemented by robbing the townsfolk. They had an endless supply of water. Ammunition for bows and slings was sufficient for some time. It was men they lacked. He sighed, and looked around for Bricius. Anxiety rose in his chest when he couldn’t immediately locate his friend. Then he saw the long-haired Gaul, sitting up with his back to a cart, chewing unenthusiastically on a piece of hard bread.