A Good Leader

Entry by: Alobear

26th August 2015
A Good Leader

Julius surveyed his troops, noting with satisfaction their clean, crisp uniforms and regimented stance. It was always important to give the men some attention before a battle, to remind them he was there and that he knew what he was asking of them. He tried to be a good leader, to live up to his namesake and ensure victory with the fewest losses.

Today’s engagement looked to be a difficult one. The enemy was arrayed in the field beneath the castle walls, and he could see their siege engines were all prepared. Julius had studied their formation, and knew that they were experienced at assaulting castles like the one his men occupied. His men had the advantage of solid walls protecting them, but the enemy had greater numbers and perhaps the patience to starve them out.

Julius had personally inspected the supplies that morning, though, and was confident they could hold out for some time. He had organised his troops on the battlements in the best way he knew how, but was prepared to change his battle plan at a moment’s notice, if the enemy’s actions called for it. He knew from past experience that his tactical ability was strong, but the importance of being able to adapt to changing conditions was also paramount. He trusted his men to follow his orders, and he hoped they trusted him to see them through.

The men had lived and worked together for a long time, and where a tightly knit group. They knew they could rely on each other, and on Julius, in times of crisis. They were hardened veterans, showing the signs of many battles, but still prepared to fight on in defence of their country. Julius spent as much time with them as he could, getting to know them individually, and never asking them to do something he wasn’t prepared to do himself. He didn’t hold with the command style that relied upon fear and punishment to keep the men in line. Julius figured they suffered enough on the battlefield, and tried to make their training and peace-time activities as productive and pleasant as possible. He thought that might be why nearly all the men had stayed with him so long; he had a reputation as an intelligent and considerate leader, but still one who knew how to get the best out of his soldiers. He might look the other way in certain circumstances, but his men knew there was a line they could not cross, and they didn’t push him.

It was nearly time. The sun was well above the horizon, and activity in the enemy camp was building. Soon, the attack would be sounded, and battle would commence. That was when they would all be tested, and Julius hoped he would not be found wanting.


Jennifer walked into the kitchen to find her young son had taken over the table for some kind of pitched battle with his toy soldiers. One set was laid out at one end, standing in rows amidst catapults and cannons. Julius sat at the other end, carefully adjusting the positions of some of the other set, which were arrayed along the battlements of a small castle. His expression was intense, and his tongue stuck out of one corner of his mouth as he concentrated hard on what he was doing.

She smiled fondly at him, but he was so intent on what he was doing that he didn’t even notice her.

“I wonder what goes on inside that head of his,” she murmured to herself, then turned her attention to the washing up.