Twin Sons of Mars


Oct 6, 2007
"How many levies do we have," Quintus asked.

The council had been called and had been meeting in private, one at a time with the king for several days now. This was the first time all three governors and the King had met at the same time. Accompanied by the Pontifex from Rome as an advisor. Things looked bleak.

"Four" Titus replied. "One chariot, three spear and we're getting the bows made for some archers right now."

"And how many does Lucullus have marching right now?" Asked Publius Serro, governor of Neapolis. An old comrade of Quintus'

"From what information I'm getting out of Rome, " Pontius began," he has a total of about ten levies. Mostly drawn from Veii, Arpinum and Pisae. Antonius isnt providing any troops at all. Still caught up in building the Parthenon like his father. But he has begun issuing levy calls for Cumae and Ravenna, but only seasonal calls.
"So he's not planning on marching off to join Lucullus in Egypt." Titus said.

"No, if he's only called them up for a season, its local." Quintus answered. "My guess would be Veii. Which would mean he'd need a lot of spears."

"You think he'd attack his brother's city?" Titus questioned.

"I know he would," Publius replied. "He's had his eye on Veii ever since Lucullus became king years before he did and was holding it over his head for so long. Problem is he'd have to get by Sempronius who's commanding the walls of Veii right now. Any assualt on Veii is going to take a lot of men and is going to cost Rome greatly. "

"Which may be an opportunity for us," added Vattius, governor or Arretium. "Taking Veii is going to weaken him greatly. Maybe enough to make it worth while for us to move on Rome and put him and his brother down once and for all."

"No," Titus said with a shake of his head. "I'm not going to rip the latin people into a civil war when we're apparently already at war with someone else. What are Lucullus' chances?"

"Of winning?" Quintus asked. Titus nodded his head. "I'd say an impossibility. We've all seen Hatshepsut's guards when she came here last. What was it, ten years ago. We can't fight that and hope to win unless we have overwhelming numbers. And even then its a chancy proposition."

"How bad is it likely to be," Titus asked. "If its to bad, men of Reme may end up defending the whole of the Latin people, Rome included. Lucullus stripped the east bare for his campaign."

"It would be worse if most of the men marching werent Veii," Publius answered his king. "Those boys are warriors through and through. Been fighting season after season almost since the founding of the city. "

"Took on Rome once or twice when Antonius tried to throw his weight around to much too," Quintus added. "Any survivors of this campaign are likely to either be extremely favored by Mars or just plain Veii stubborn. And with Lucullus leading them....."

Titus nodded his head.

"He's a good commander. Whatever else he may be he's a great military commander.," he said.

The king sighed and glanced out the window of the chambers towards the pyramid that housed his father, and now his mother. What would Remus do. What could he have done.

"We're safe behind the mountains Titus," Pontius said softly. "Aztecs wont let the Serpent people cross their borders. Only one way they can strike at us."

"The pass at Pisae," Titus said. "Very well, until we can get Egypt to accept an envoy, we;ll march what levies we have to the pass and stay there. "

"We're not going to join Lucullus?"

"No, and neither is anyone else," Titus said firmly. "In fact, if we come across and Roman levies we're gonna grab them too. I don't care what Antonius has to say about it. We're going to hold the pass at Pisae with everything we have and try to get Hatshepsut to accept peace. It may take a while, but in the meantime Quintus, I need you to block the gulf as best you can. No one in or out. Especially anything bearing Antonius' insignia. I don't want him enflaming this any more than it already is. "

The king of Reme got to his feet and looked around at the assembled men.

"Its not going to be easy, but we don't have a choice. Thanks to Veii we're at war. Best we can hope to do while Veii is off aggravating our former friends is keep them from doing the same to the people. ALL of the people."


Oct 6, 2007
Egyptian arrows filled the sky. Enough so that Marius could barely see the sky itself above him. It was a horrific sight. Both levies of chariots had detatched from the main body and raced towards a quarry south of the Egyptian city the moment scouts had sighted Egyptian men there. Against his better judgement, Marius accepted the king's command to charge. Right into the hail of arrows.

Volley after volley swept through the long line of chariots. Slaughtering men and horse before they could even get into range of to use their javelins or swords. The wreckage of screaming latins, shrieking horses and upturned chariots slowed the charge enough for the Egyptians defending the quarry to pick them off in vast numbers.

Still they charged on over the open field. The whole area in every direction save infront of them was choked with dust, blood and the dead and dying. The view in front was no better. WAve after wave of arrows descending down from the sky on top of them. Picking them apart before they were even close enough to strike back. Closer and closer.

Silva wheeled the chariot to the side, spinning away from and turning back from the Egyptian archers. The whole column followed suit. Each one wheeling directly in front of the battle lines of the Serpent People. Marius drew back his arm and launched the first of his javelins at the enemy. He didn't even wait to see if he'd hit before he had grabbed and thrown another and another until he ran out and Silva had taken them out of range anyways.

The arrow volleys from the Egyptians had become less in number, but no less deadly. Two of the yellow fletched arrows drove down. Striking Marius on the shoulder where the metal of the head speared right clean through the flesh and bone and sinking into the wood frame of his chariot pinning him down. The second caught Silva in the back of the head. Marius felt tears well in his eyes as his driver and friend slumped over. The reins of the team falling from his slack fingers.

With no one to guide themthe chariot team raced headlong into another chariot, upending the both of them. Marius heard the wood of the arrow in his snap moments before he was flung into the air out of the rapidly cartwheeling chariot to crash down heavily onto the hard packed Egyptian soil.
He struggled to get himself to his feet, but the pain was overwhelming. All he could do was fight to stand, and watch the battle unfolding. in front of him. All around him. When it was all said and done, there were barely enough chariots and men left to man them to make up even half of a single levy. They had won. They had taken the marble quarry, but it had cost them dearly.


All three levies of latin free spearmen that were to be part of the first assault on Thebes locked their shields, slid their helmets down over their eyes, lowered their spears and prepared to march lockstep towards the gates of Thebes. Junius was nerve wracked. Talk had come all over the latin encampment at the fact that the serpent people had well over three thousand archers lining their walls. Ready to shower the advancing latins with death from the moment they entered range, all through the long steady march and all the way up to the gates.

Two of the levies would march on the flanks. The third, Junius' levy was going to march head on towards the gate. Clearing a path for the battering ram to get in close and break down the heavy wooden gates of the city. He'd never been in an assault like this before. Never had to clear the way for the battering ram. He'd seen it though. He'd seen the massive slaughter wrought on the poor free spearmen out in front.


In a single step all three levies, three thousand spearmen stepped off from the relative safety of their battle lines and marched in unison towards the city looming ahead of them. Why couldn't they have picked his levy to be one of the ones that marched around the other side of the city to surround it completely. To cut off any attempts to reinforce it. Thats what he would have done. Sat them all back, far enough away that egyptian bows couldnt reach them and starved out the city. He even told anyone who would listen just that. But they were men of Veii. The best warriors in all of the Latin cities. They didn't sit around and wait for the enemy to give up like a smarter man would. No, they advanced and charged right into the toughest most defended part of the enemy. Right out in plain sight.

Damn it.

From the moment they came in range, huge sheets of black arced out from the city walls and descended into a murderous rain down upon the heads of the advancing latins. Their phalanxed spears deflected a good portion of them. But there were just to many coming down. To many yellow fletched arrows to be deflected. You could hear the zipping sound of them as they peppered the advancing ranks. Ripping through the soft bronze armor and biting into flesh.

The screams were horrific. Whole ranks simply melted away into nothingness. The free spearmen in them chewed to peices by the incoming torrent of arrows. The attack broke up even before they had made it half way across the open field. The commanders had started an orderly withdrawl, but they fell ust as quickly and as easily as anyone else in the three torn apart levies. The withdrawl became a retreat and more died. The retreat became a route, and more died. Finally, by the time Junius watched Paulus catch a trio of arrows in the chest, it had become every man for himself.

Junius counted himself favored by Mars when he finally collapsed in the safety outside bow range. He counted himself lucky to be one of the lucky one in fifty that survived the barrage of arrows that had decimated all three levies of spearmen. Torn them apart until there was near nothing left. They hadn't even reached the gates.


Oct 6, 2007
Lucullus poured over the maps of the countryside. The tent keeping out most of the Egyptian countryside's stifling heat. He'd lost , like everyone else , quite a bit of weight just in the overland march to the city. Thankfully the rivers were close by. Water was a nescessity in this fight, and if they were going to win, they couldn't have the spearmen falling over dead from exhaustion.

"Where did you say they were?"

The scouted pointed to a spot on the map. A grove of think palm trees just east of the city.

"There my lord. A fully levy's worth of their chariots. At least a thousand," he said.

"Our chariots are still at the Quarry?"

"Yes my lord. They'd be here and in range were it not for the amount of casualties and damage we took taking the quarry." one of the advisors said.

Lucullus poured thoughtfully over the map. Two battles so far. One victory, one defeat, four levies worth of latins dead or wounded. Reinforcements coming down to save the city from the north. He had to do something. Had to provide another victory to raise the moral of the men to give him time to forulate a plan on how to seize the city.

"These spearmen, how close are they. Can they strike the serpent's chariots?"

"They can my lord, " came a slow reply, "but they would have to cross the river to do so. Fighting chariots and the currents of the river at the same time."

"I didn't ask if it was going to be easy," Lucullus snarled. "I asked if it could be done."

"Yes my lord."

"Then do it," the king of Veii commanded. "And you, we need supplies, send raiding parties over the countryside. I want you to raid every farm, every village, every little hut by the river. I want the area around Thebes bled dry. I want them hungry and wasted away by the time we march on the city again."

"Yes my lord."

"What about the scouts? Any word from Pisae about reinforcements?"

There was an uncomfortable silence.

"What," Lucullus growled.

"Well, " one of the advisors began, "We have reports from just a few moments ago of a large force of Remens, perhaps four levies maybe more in the Pisae pass."

"Remens? Really," said Lucullus, the tone of his voice pleasantly surprised. "I didn't think Titus had it in him. Whats the best estimate til they get here? That will really help the situation here. Five more levies I can break down the entire city stone by stone."

"Its- hard to say my lord."

Lucullus turned and gave his advisors a hard long look. Each in turn.

"Why is it hard to say?"

"The Remens seem to be -" the advisor licked his suddenly dried lips. "Fortifying the pass."


Word had come to them even at the quarry about the disasterous frontal assault of the spearmen on the city. Three whole levies of spear destroyed. The victory, if thats what you wanted to call it, at the quarry didn't make Marius, or any of the other charioteers feel any better. Not even the victory of the remaining spear levies over the Serpent People's chariots helped any. Four thousand latins, give or take, had already lost their lives. Compared to the two thousand that was estimated the Egyptians had lost, this war was not going well.

When he had the chance, Marius got every bit of information he could about the assault and added it to his notes about the attack on the quarry. Every chance, every spare moment he was afforded he spent pouring over his notes. Trying to see the problems him and his latin countryman were having. Well, he knew the problems, he just couldnt figure out a way to fix it. The main problem was that the tactics they had uses so successfully for so long against each other, were outdated when it came to fighting against others. The system of wealth determining your position on the battle line was far outdated too.

So what if you could afford to have better armor, he thought. That should mean you would actually be in the battle, not as a last resort. Having money shouldn't mean being able to let less able, less equiped men take the front ranks and get slaughtered just so that you could have your glory and easy kills.

He sighed to himself and placed his writings carefully back into his bag and fastened it securely to the chariot. They would be moving out soon. Heading back to the main body. Word was that two more levies of chariots from Veii were heading this way. That would probably ease the situation some. But not enough to be victorious. Not enough by far he thought. There was still just so much wrong with how things worked. No matter how skilled of warriors the men of Veii were, with poor tactics and just wasnt going to work.


Oct 6, 2007
Junius hobbled his way out of the tent. He couldn't take the groaning and the sobbing of the wounded inside anymore. His wound wasn't that bad anyways. Just a stray shot that had taken him in the leg the moment he had run back out within range of the Egyptian archers to help a few of his wounded comrades get back to safety.

It was probably a foolish thing to do, but he just had to. They needed help. And he'd paid for it to. The healer had told him he'd never walk without a limp again. Not only that, but any work on his farm would have to be done by someone else as well. His patron was not going to be pleased about that.

He couldn't march and fight in formation with the rest of the latins, so his days as a spearmen were up. The injury to his leg also meant that he couldnt fully work his plow anymore, so his life as a farmer was in jeopardy as well. But at least he was alive. And for that he was thankful. He'd be headed back to Arpinum by the end of the day with the rest of the men who were deemed to injured or damaged to fight but well enough to move on their own. Others werent so lucky. So many of his countrymen would never leave Egypt again. Many still in the tent wouldnt last the night for that matter. Damn Egyptians and damned kings for getting free men involved in this.

What was the point to all of it. What was it worth to the nobles and the kings. What did they gain from it that the free men , their clients paid with their blood for. Most of which would probably be turned out by their patrons for not paying their rents to their farms. To busy fighting a war that had lasted three seasons just getting here and was looking to last another season before even reinforcements arrived. What little there was to be had.

As it was, he would be lucky if he got home in time for spring planting. That was of course, if he had a farm to go back to. Damn Egyptians and damn the kings. Damn them all to Hades.


"What are you talking about!"

The king of Rome was in another one of his rages. The attendants and servants had quickly left at the first sign. To many of them had fallen victim to the kings anger and had either been struck down on the spot or hauled off to be crucified on the holls overlooking the sea. The Pontifex however seemed uncaring and unconcerned about the kings anger. Which made Antonius even more angered.

"You cannot take the Parthenon from me," he shouted at the elderly high priest. "My father started it, I finished it. Its mine. Do do with as I wish."

"Really," Pontius said calmly with a light smile. "As I recall majesty, the Parthenon's intent was to center the worship of the church was it not?"

"Yes, but that doesn't mean -"

"I rather do think it does mean I can take it and do with it as I please," Pontius interupted. "I am after all the Pontifex of Mars."

Pontius reached up and lifted up the gold emblam of his office that hung from his neck.

"Do you see this majesty," he said politely. "This means that when it comes to matters of state, your word is of course law. Conversely, when it comes to matters of the church -"

His voice deepened to a commanding tone.

"I AM THE LAW," he said. In saying that he cleared his throat and set his emblem back down over his chest and refolded his hands in front of him. "And since that is the case, and since the Parthenon is a holy building, it falls to my jurisdiction. It will be the center of the faith and the center of administration in the church. As I see fit. Am I clear?"

Antonius snarled and had to steady himself from gripping at the sword belted to his waist.

"With one word I can have you drug out to the sea and nailed to a cross like I've done to so many of you 'priests'," he snarled.

"Well of course you could," Pontius replied without even the slightest bit of concern. "But in doing so I think you would find your rule quite a bit more difficult don't you think. You would lose the favor of the church by murdering the Pontifex. And if you lose the favor of the church you lose the favor of Mars, and if you lose the favor of Mars...well any military affairs you might have planned would be for nought and you would lose favor of the people. More so than you already have."

"The people," Antonius spat. "I rule in Rome, not them. And what military affairs do I have when Lucullus runs off with two of my levys, and Titus steals two more on their way to Veii and drags them off to the pass of Pisae. And now it seems you are against me as well. "

Pontius rolled his eyes.

"Oh please Antonius, now you're just being paranoid," he said. "Mars forbid you're starting to sound like Romulus now. And he wasnt anymore untouchable than you are."

"Is that a threat?" the Roman king asked in a low, dangerous voice.

"Stop it," Pontius chided in annoyance. "It's a statement of fact. The point being your and your family brought the church to Rome, caused the power of the church to be IN Rome. So now you have to live with that and accede to our wishes every now and then. And there is nothing you can do about it."

Antonius let out a deep, angered breath and slammed his fists into the arms of his throne.

"I will accede to your wishes this one time," he said.

"Oh well thats very kind of -"

"Silence!" the king roared. "You are no longer welcome in this palace unless you are summoned is that clear. And you will not address me by name. You have no right of familiarity with me. You either address me as your majesty or King Antonius Sextus. Thats it. "

"Very well, 'majesty'," Pontius remarked. "Will that be all then?"

"Don't try my patience any further priest," the king growled out. "Or I will have you nailed to a cross and be damned with the consequences."

"As you wish,"

Pontius rose to his feet, bowed and strode from the throne room sighing to himself deep in thought. Something would have to be done. And done quickly. If only he had the time. He was already feeling his years. Perhaps it would get better. There was always hope.


Oct 6, 2007
Lucullus gazed out over the city before him. The winds and sandstorms had finally died down enough for him to see clearly. To make a few last minute adjustments to his strategy. Everything and everyone was in place. Now all he had to do was give everyone their orders and set everything into motion.

"There," he said pointing out a section of the wall. "There is where we'll hit them. The archers are on the north and western flanks. When the assault begins they'll move forward and start firing onto the walls on the north and the west. That will spread out the Egyptian archers all along those two walls. "

He motioned towards the main gate, the main entryway into the city.

"Once they move, all three of the chariot levies will charge forward towards the gate to make a feint," he said.

"My lord, the chariots wont do much against the gate. Swords wont penetrate the walls and javelins cant be thrown up to the top of them to reach the archers."

Lucullus nodded.

"I'm aware of that," he said. "The chariots won't be making an assault. What they'll be doing, like the archers is pinning down the defenders of the city. When thats done, you'll give a signal, and me and the spearmen will march quickly out of the cover of the trees here to the east with the battering rams to the lightly defended eastern wall. If Mars is with us, we'll be fighting inside the city itself before the snake kissers even know whats hit them."

"The chariots are going to take alot of casualties for a feint my lord. Are you sure thats -"

"Its well worth it. We'll have the city," Lucullus snapped. We'll attack at dawn in the morning. That should give plenty of time to get and make sure everything is ready. Get moving."

"Yes my lord,"


"What happened exactly," Lucullus asked peering out from the cover of trees towards the eastern wall of Thebes.

"Barbarians my lord. Nomads," the runner said in whispered tones. "They crossed the river sometime during the night and attacked the archers. Hit them hard enough so that they don't have enough men to participate in the battle."

Lucullus swore angrily.

"Very well, go back and tell the commanders this changes nothing. We attack still at first light." he ordered.

Damn it all. A quarter of his attack force beaten back by barbarians brave enough to attack a besieging army during a battle. What were the odds. It was almost dawn, another few minutes or so and the remaining archers on the northern wall would begin their attack.

He waited. And waited. Listening for the shouts and screams of battle. He didn't have to wait long. It was as if the whole city had woken up at once. The archers had wrapped their arrows in cloth and set them ablaze before they fired them into the city. It diminished the range but it would cause panic and erode the discipline of the defenders. But they would have to get in close for them to be effective.

He waited. And waited.

"My lord," a breathless runner near shouted as he collapsed against a tree. "The archers....north wall...were expecting ....decimated."

"What? How? When?"

"The moment they lit the arrows the Egyptians poured several volleys into them. Barely any survivors, all running away."

"Mars!", Lucullus growled.

Another runner dropped to his knees out of breath before the king of Veii.

"My lord, the chariots are getting massacred. The cant hold out much longer. They've already lost nearly two of the three levies."

The King of Veii swore angrily and drew his sword.

"We don't have time to waste. We have to take advantage of every moment the chariots give us," he said more to himself than anyone else. "Spearmen of Veii, ADVANCE!"

It was over quick.

In the end, barely even an hour into the assault, four thousand more latin warriors gave their lives. Felled by the unceasing torrent of Egyptian arrows. Volley after volley melted their ranks. Scything them down like stalks of wheat as they marched inexorabley towards their demise. Lucullus, king of Veii lay dead in the sands like those men whom he marched with. His body quilled with arrows. Cut down in the first volley.

The death of their king enraged the men of Veii and they charged headlong into the maelstrom. And to a man fell to the arrows of the defenders of Thebes. When the dust cleared, nearly eight thousand latin's and one of her kings lay fallen on Egyptian soil. Those few that remained were forced to flee for their lives back across the burning sands towards the pass at Pisae and the safety of Latin arms.


Oct 6, 2007
"Pharoah Thutmose will not grace the treacherous latin dogs with his prescence," the clean shaven Egyptian Eunuch stated imperiously.

"Then how exactly are we to come to a peace accord," Quintus said acidly.

They'd been waiting for three days for the Egyptian encampment on the other side of the Pisae Pass to send an envoy. And when they did send one, all they got was insults for half an hour before the ambassador would even say that the Pharoah wasn't coming. It was to much for Quintus to take.

"The great Pharoah Thutmose gives his demands and if you do not wish the mighty armies of Egypt to fall upon you and destroy the men you have arrayed here, you will agree."

"To Hades with that!" Quintus shouted.

Titus placed a hand on the governors shoulder and shook his head solemnly. Egypt had at least twice as many warriors ready for battle at the pass as the Latins did. If They fell here, Pisae would fall and if the Eunuchs threats were to be believed, burned to the ground. Along with every other latin city on the path to Veii where the entire citizenry would be either butchered or taken into slavery in Egypt. Titus couldnt allow that.

"What are the terms your great Pharoah offers not to destroy latin cities?" he asked.

Quintus just scowled. He knew if it was Reme on the chopping block, or Antium, or Neapoilis and Arretium, Lucullus and Antonius would let them burn. Well maybe not Lucullus. He was dead after all.

"First, you are to give the great Pharoah as many horses as men that lay dead on the field of Thebes, complete with kit and weaponry."

The Remen governors began shouting and arguing with the envoy that it couldnt be done. They didnt have that many horses. That to do that would allow the Egyptian people to feild Equestrian troops of the kind that the Latins were just now starting to use. The Eunuch seemed uncaring.

"Second, you will pay reparations to the great Pharoah for ten years and swear unto him that no standing king of the latins will attack Egypt while they live."

"Titus you can't-"

"Done," Titus said cutting Quintus off. "Everything will be provided to you as your Pharoah wishes."

"Titus," Quintus hissed. "We can't afford that. Rome and Veii wont pay and we neither started nor fought in this war. Why should we have to pay for it?"

"Because Quintus, like my father taught me," Titus replied," We are latins too. We protect our own. No matter the cost. Take whatever is nescessary out of my personal stocks and treasury to lessen the burden on our people as much as possible. I don't care about Antonius or Salvius now. All I care about is the people. And I will not allow the people of Pisae, Cumae and Veii suffer if I had the opportunity to stop it."

Quintus sighed in resignation.

"They wouldnt do it for us," he said.

"I know," Titus replied softly. "Thats why I have to do it."


Oct 6, 2007
The cart trundled down the well worn road heading towards the city. He hated having to move away from the only home he'd known, but Lucius understood why he had to. The moment his father had gotten back from the war with the Serpent people he had talked of little else. Right up until the day they all knew was coming and their patron had evicted them from their farm.

Most of the way to Rome, where Junius had relatives, he had complained to his oldest son about the kings and the nobility that the latin people had to suffer under. How the kings took what they wanted and forced the plebians to pay for it. Up until they had lost their farm Lucius had paid it little mind. But it'd been a year now. He'd seen countless other returning free spearmen removed from their homes becasue they werent able to pay their rents while they were away fighting in Egypt.

Lucius had seen their land taken from them, and given to a minor relative of the king of Veii. He'd heard talk the whole way from all those passing him by on the road to Rome about how Antonius Sextus , the King of Rome had done the same thing. Lucius had decieded then and there that his father was right. The kings were no good to the people. They only cared about themselves. They did what they wanted, took what they wanted and let the common plebians pay for it all and suffer for it.

"Name and business in Rome," demanded the guard at the city gates. He held a stylus in his hand hovering over a wax tablet. Ready to take down their information and give it to the administrators of the city.

"Junius Brutus, and my son Lucius Brutus," his father said. "We're here to see relatives we have in the city. My wife and two daughters will be along shortly"

The guard quickly scratched their names into the wax and shrugged his shoulders as if he didn't care one way or the other.

"You were right father," Lucius said.

The people had no use for kings.


"So why are you coming to me?" Titus asked the scarred up Egytpian war veteran as he sat at the rough hewn wooden table in the Remen audience chamber.

"Because I've been to Veii," Marius said. "Sempronius doesnt want to listen, and Salvius is to young to understand."

"What about Rome. You are Roman stock after all." Titus mentioned.

Marius shook his head.

"I'm a latin first and foremost. And I tried Rome. Antonius doesnt care. He doesnt see that there is a problem," he said.

"And you do?"

"I was there majesty," Marius said grimly. I saw three thousand spear crash up against a wall and get cut to peices. I saw our chariots cut down the same way. Every battle save one in that war I was in. I saw what happened and I know what problems need to be fixed and how to fix them."

"Alright," the king said after a moments thought. "The question still remains, why come to me? I wasn't in that fight. No Remen was. So why come to me. What makes you think I'll listen?"

"Because I know for the last two years you've been draining your own personal funds to keep Veii, my home, from being burned to the ground," Marius replied. "You care about the people. All of us. Remen, Roman, men of Veii. To you we're all brother. We're all worth the same. And I want to make sure another war like that never happens again. I want to make sure we learn from our mistakes and nevermake them again."

Titus narrowed his eyes.

"What do you think Julius. You've read his notes."

"I think he has something father," the young blonde headed man said with a keen interest. "Plus we have access to the iron we discovered last month -"

"You have iron!" Marius near shouted.

"Yes, like my son said we discovered it in the plains below the hills last month," Titus said. "Why? whats so important about iron to you?"

Julius laughed.

"Father, our latin warriors are equiped mostly in either weapons taken as trophies from the fallen, or handed down through generations," he said.

"Mostly bronze," Marius added. "With iron, and my plans here, we can make weapns and armor stronger than anything anyone has ever seen and use them better than anyone."

"Its true father. I've seen it. An iron sword can cut right through a bronze shield and continue on straight through the breastplate into a mans chest."

Titus peered closer down at the notes Marius had taken on the battlefield and had added to more in the years following.

"Interesting, " he said. "Tell me more."


Oct 6, 2007
They were using wooden swords to prevent injuries as much as possible, but the effect was still the same. Using the tactics and formations that Marius had created, using the skills the grizzled veteran and the prince of Reme had both drilled into them, using the weapons and arms flowing out of the Remen forges, the men of the Legio I Rema crushed a number of traditional latin spearmen three times their number.

Time after time they broke the ranks of spearmen. Time after time they were able to drive a wedge right through them, split the phalanxes apart and run right over them. Only rarely did one of the spearman commanders make a move that proved to be other than a minor annoyance to the highly trained men facing them..

All day they had been drilling, and all day the kings of Reme and Veii, along with the Regent Sempronius had been watching. Observing them. It was a sight to behold. Truly magnificent.

"Why are those men's crests turned sideways like that?," Salvius asked the Remen king. "And why are they carrying that stick instead of drawing their swords?"

"Its a vinestaff I'm told," Titus replied. "Its apparently both a badge of rank and a useful tool for keeping discipline. The men with the crests are Centurions. Lets see if I can remember this and get it right. Each centurion commands eighty men..a century. six of these centuries, I think somewhere along the lines of four hundred and eighty men make up a cohort. Marius tells me each legion is to have ten of these cohorts."

"They hit people with them?" the younger king asked in astonishment.

Salvius, though king of Veii in name, was a young man. Barely fourteen winters old. Not near enough the age of ascension to take the reigns of his kingdom. Hence the strong brutish looking man that towered over both the kings who watched the proceedings in the drill field below the palace with a focused gaze.

"Its effective majesty," Sempronius. "You strike a man a few times and eventually he'll stop doing what you don't want him to."

"Doesnt seem very nice," Salvius remarked.

"No that it doesn't," Titus said with a laugh. "But you can see the effect it apparently has."

"Why are they formed up in blocks like that," Salvius asked curiously. "And why the spaces in between them? They're spaced out to far apart. Look at the gaps in the lines."

Titus shrugged his shoulders.

"You'd have to ask Marius or Julius when they finish," he said. "I don't know all the particulars."

"Gaius Marius?" Sempronius asked in shock. "This is what he was talking about?"

"Hmm," Titus said focusing on the big regent. "Yes I believe thats his name. One of yours I believe."

Sempronius' shoulders slumped and he shook his head ruefully.

"I'm sorry majesty," he said to Salvius. "I've let you down by letting this man get away from us. "

"Huh? " Salvius said in confusion. "Hey Titus, which one is Julius?"

Titus grinned proudly and pointed down to one of the centurions commanding the second of the two Cohorts on the field.

"Thats him," he said. He's been training right up alongside the men down there every day for the last year now."

"If I'd have known this is what Marius was talking about you wouldn't have him right now majesty," Sempronius said to the King of Reme.

Titus gave a wide smile.

"Marius is your countryman Sempronius," he said. "You ask him when he gets up here, when he's done training my legion I'm sure he'll train men of Veii as well."

"Two years to wait for men such as these is to long of a time majesty," came the saddened reply. "Our horse archers are all that keeps Rome from swallowing us up. Setia has already been threatened twice by 'barbarians'. I doubt Antonius and Tarquinius will give us the time to strengthen our defenses."

Titus gave the regent a knowing nod , turned back to the feild and gave a weary sigh.

"Marius tells me that the first legion will be ready in another three months, six at the most," he said turning back to him. "Can you hold out that long. Long enough for the Legio I Rema to arrive and strengthen your defenses?"

"In exchange for what?" Sempronius asked with narrowed eyes.

"Nothing," Titus said with a soft look. "I will not stand by and allow the latin people to suffer if I can stop it. I have the men, or will in as long as six months. I can't take men off the border at Circei. Thutmose would sweep in and obliterate the city. He's already attempted to get the Buddhist minority there to take power or I would move some of the levys from there."

"You would send your strongest warriors to aid us, and at the same time allow Marius to train warriors such as this of our own?" the big man asked cautiously.

"Without hesitation," Titus said.

Sempronius sat down tiredly next to his own king and bowed his head. For a moment he was silent.

"There are no more latin people," he said softly. "There are Remens, Romans and men of Veii. Men have seen to that from Romulus all the way to Antonius and Salvius' father. What you see majesty, isnt there anymore."

"What exactly are you saying?"

"I'm an old man majesty, and getting older," the regent said. "With your help I can keep Veii safe and free from Antonius and his boy Tarquinius for maybe a few more years. More if Rome doesnt gain men like those in the field."

"I'm not seeing a problem Sempronius,"

"Veii is to filled with men who I do not trust that they would not hand our people over to Rome at the first opportunity should I fall before Salvius reaches his majority," Sempronius said sadly. "I can train him, and guide him as best I can, but his heart isnt like his fathers. It isnt like his uncles. If they cannot defeat him with arms, they will rule him in other ways. Use him. And I can't allow that."

"So what are you suggesting," Titus asked.

"I've talked with the boy, he understands," Sempronius responded tightly. "He will abdicate to you and hand all of Veii and Setia to you. To Reme. In exchange...Salvius become Prince of Veii, second in line to the throne of Reme after your Julius."

"Why," Titus said cautiously. "You know what that will cause in Rome. It will be war between Reme,Veii and Rome no matter what happens then."

"Because Marius when he came to me was right about one thing that even I understood," the Regent said. "What happened in Egypt happened because we are not a whole people. We are divided. And it will happen again, and again, no matter how well are warriors are trained, no matter what skill at arms we posses, until we are whole. And we of Veii would rather it be Reme, not Rome that leads. With Reme we know that despite everything else, we will be defended. With Rome, with Antonius or Tarquinius, we will be defended only if it suits their purposes."

Titus closed his eyes and thought a moment. What would his father do. What would Remus do. He had taught him so much, but there was always these things that kept cropping up that his father had neglected to mention.

"Salvius," he said quietly."Do you understand what Sempronius wants to do?"

"Yes, " the young boy said. He had apparently been listening more intently than Titus had thought. "I won't be king anymore. I understand. Uncle Antonius doesnt want me to be king either."

Titus nodded his head. Gazing up to Sempronius and taking note of the pain in his eyes.

"Do you want to be king?" He asked the young boy. "If you wish to be king I will support you with everything I have in my power. You know that right."

Salvius thought about it, his head tilted to the side. Giving the King of Reme a very serious look.

"I think its better if I'm not king," he said finally. "I don't think I'm very good at it anyways....If I'm prince does that mean I can be a centurion like Julius if I want?"

Titus gave him a smile.

"If you wish it, you can be anything you want." he said, then glanced up to Sempronius. "If you are sure of this Sempronius, you'll still act as Regent until Salvius reaches majority, and then after stay on as his advisor. You'll still rule Veii the same as those under me do. You have free reign within your lands and will have a voice in everything that happens all over Remen lands. From Circei to Antium. "

"And the boy?"

"Upon reaching his majority he'll have the option of retaining his princedom, or reverting back to being king of Veii," Titus answered. "I'll have the Pontifex himself witness and record this agreement in church record and bind it under church law."

"Why are you doing this?"

"Because, " Titus said. "Despite what you think, we are one people. "

The king of Reme gave them both a wide smile and looked back down to the training field.

"When they get done having their fun I'll ask Marius if he can move and finish training of the first legion in Veii. That way what we do have can go right to work and Marius can train the new legion in Veii without pause. "

Sempronius gave a wide smile of his own.

"I'll think he'll find many volunteers among the men of Veii to become legionaires.", he siad.

Titus just grinned.

"Don't be to sure of that," he said. "We had to scrounge all over Reme and beyond just to get enough for one legion."

"Why is that?"

"Something Marius and Julius came up with, " Titus replied. "When they sign up they become legionaires only. They aren't levied out anymore. They don't Plant crops in the spring, fight in the summer, harvest in the fall. When they sign up, its for I think he said twenty years. In arms the whole time. "

Sempronius narrowed his eyes and contemplated that.

"A standing army," he said deep in thought. "Interesting, I'm going to have to have a long talk with our Marius I see."

"He did come to you first."

"Don't remind me my king."


Oct 6, 2007
Antonius Sextus had finally died. A fact that didn't sadden Lucius Brutus in the least. Apparently it was the fact that his nephew had slipped from the old snake's grasp and had sided with Titus in Reme that had done him in. For weeks Rome had been a dangerous place for anyone from Veii, who had ever been to Veii, had ever heard of Veii.

The shores of Rome were filled with crosses with bodies nailed to them. Sometimes front and back and even a few upside down. Thankfully though, the stress of it all had also apparently taken its toll on the tyrant and his heart gave out. Either that or his own snake of a son had poisoned him. A Theory no one in Rome ruled out. Or spoke of openly.

Tarquinius and his Wolf Guard were both vicious and unmerciful.

Quite a few of the young Lucius' friends and fellow evictees from other Roman cities had been taken somewhere under the palace and never heard from again.

But all of that was resting in the back of his mind. Even though Rome was a dark and dreary and often fearful place to live these days, Fulvia demanded his full attention. Repeatedly. Enough that he could barely breathe and sweat ran off his brow in rivulets as he lay panting on her pallet.

"You're not tired already are you master Brutus?"

Fulvia was a slave. Property of the Brutii's new patron Decimus Falco. A sniveling little whelp of a man who licked the sandals of both king and church with equal ferverance. Lucius didn't care what she was. He only knew how he felt when he was with her. When he was near her. Even when he just thought about her.

He'd tried talking to her once about saving up to buy her manumission, but it only made her cold and distant and he didn't know why. He had decieded it was best not to bring it up again until he was ready to actually do it. Sesterce in hand. Until then he'd simply enjoy the pleasure of her company.

"Already? We've been at it all day and night woman," he said with a smile. "I can't believe you still have energy. Must be an incarnation of Venus her self."

Fulvia giggled brightly and slid off the pallet and fetched a jug of cheap wine and a loaf of barely stale bread, broke it in half and gave it to him.

"Maybe this will help."

He chuckled , slid his arm under her waist and took a bie of the bread. It wasnt half bad.

"Do you ever wonder what it would be like if Tarquinius wasn't around?"

Fulvia screwed her eyes closed and buried her head in his shoulder.

"Oh no Lucius please not again," she said plaintively.

"I'm serious love. Have you ever thought of how different it would be without people like him around. Running around, dragging people out of their homes. Nailing them to crosses."

Fulvia gave a sigh and looked up at him.

"What would change?" she asked. "Would there no longer be slaves. Would there no longer be poor people forced to pay homage to their patrons. Would there not longer be patrons?"


"Answer me," she said. "Would not having a king change all of that?"

"Well -"

"Well what?"

"No," he said heavily. "I guess not. But thats not the point-"

"Then what is the point," she said. "Even if Tarquinius kicked off tonight and went to join his father in Elysium without an heir, I'd still be a slave in the morning and you'd still be a poor client running errands for Decimus. So whats the point. Why change something that won't change anything."

"You just don't understand Fulvia. Its complicated."

"No, I do understand," She corrected."Its you that doesnt understand. So filled up with ideas that you can't see reality of it anymore. I don't want to talk about it anymore Lucius please. And I don't want you to talk about it anymore either. With anyone."

"What? Why?"

"Promise me, please. Its to dangerous. The Wolves will lock you up if they even think you're even thinking that," she said desperately. "I can't lose you Lucius. I need you."

The younger Brutii gave her a smile and brushed his lips over her forehead.

"I love you too Fulvia."

She shook her head.

"That not -I mean I love you to but -"

"But what?"

"I don't want you causing problems because I don't want our child growing up without a father."



Oct 6, 2007
"So this is the palace of Reme is it," Tarquinius remarked disdainfully. "Rather drab and bleak isnt it?"

"Some of us prefer not to live in gilded palaces while our people starve and wallow in misery," Quintus the Elder said angrily. His son had already had to restrain him from assaulting the Roman king on sight once already, and a firm hand on the old mans shoulder told him he wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

"Oh well if you wan't your 'king' to live no better than a plebian who am I to say otherwise," Tarquinius said. His voice near dripping with venom."Though I must say, Remen hospitality leaves a lot to be desired. You'd think at least you lowborns would known enough to greet a ruling monarch properly."

"What's he doing here?" a new voice demanded.

Tarquinius turned to see a young man in full Lorica striding towards him, a naked gladius in his hand. Anger and hatred burning in his eyes.

"Back down Centurion," Quintus the Younger barked.

"Why, is that little Salvius?" Tarquinius said unpleasantly. "My how you've grown. Careful with that blade cousin. Someone might have to teach you how to use it before you get hurt."

Salvius stopped short, glanced over at the two men from Antium, then back at his royal cousin. His voice cold and filled with malice.

"Is that a challenge snake's son?"

Tarquinius hand instantly dropped down to the handle of his own weapon across his hip. His demeanor changing instantly. As cold as Salvius', but filled with a much more peircing, menacing and ruthless look about him.

"The last person to refer to me and my father in such a manner is still hanging on a cross," he whispered out.

"Truth hurts doesnt it serpent."

"Enough Centurion!" Quintus the Elder shouted out. "You dishonor yourself and your cohort."

Salvius stiffened and shot a look pf shock at Quintus' apparent betrayal.

"He had Sempronius murdered in his sleep," He said seething with barely checked rage. "Smothered like a beggar in his sleep. "

He turned back to his cousin.

"Didn't even have to courage to face him like a man."

"We all know what he did Salvius," Julius's stern voice echoed into the room before him.

Everyone in the Audience chambers turned to see the new king of Reme enter with the Legate of the Legions behind him.

"What are you doing here Tarquinius," he asked bluntly.

The King of Rome's demeanor changed again. Back to his normal cool and callous self. He shrugged his shoulders and removed his hand from his weapon.

"Can't I give my last regards to a fellow and dearly departed brother monarch," he said smoothly. "Or is the King of Rome not welcome here."

"Here and many other places I'm told," Julius replied without worrying on couching his words.

"Awww, Julius," Tarquinius began . His voice laced with sarcasm. "No need to be angry at me just because I choose to be a king and not surrender myself to being your little lap dog like Salvius."

"No, you just content yourself by allowing men bearing Thutmose's colors to roam free through our lands."

Tarquinius laughed.

"Haven't you heard Julius, The great Pharoah Thutmose is our ally now," he said. "But then again stuck way out here, far away from anywhere important in the little hovel you call a palace it doesn't suprise me that you've not been informed."

"Do tell, snakeson," Julius said with his own venom. "Because last I heard, the only allies of Reme and Veii were the Aztec to the north."

"What? The cannibals? You must be joking," Tarquinius said with a laugh. "Oh but I can see how little wretches like yourselves would think that barbarians would be fitting allies."

Julius sat down behind the rough hewn wooden table that had served two other generations of his family. His hands gripping the edges enough to turn his knuckles white.

"We ally ourselves with those that see the world as we do. Those that seek to protect their people," he said. "From people like you."

"Careful Julius, " Tarquinius said on his way out the door back to the safety and comfort of his Wolves. "Be very careful or your much vaunted legions will have to back up your insults. I'd hate to see all those nice young Remen boys killed because you felt like rising above your station."

Julius shook his head and waited until the Roman had left before speaking.

"And who let him in?"


"Is it done?" Tarquinius asked absently of the cloaked man that had been led into the opulent throne room of the Roman people. "Has the line of Antium been cut never to return?"

"Yes my king," came the hissing reply. "Just as you commanded. Killed in their beds as they slept."

Tarquinius allowed himself a brazen smile. How would the Remen kings survive without the constant support of the men of Antium. It had cost a fair amount of sesterce, but destroying the whole family. Quintus the Elder, the younger. Their wives , children, their brothers and sisters had been worth it. Very soon, with the turmoil that was likely to arise, Rome would control the gulf and her ships would dominate the seas and stifle all trade between Reme and the outside world.

"I have another task for you," the king said with a relishing smile. "Seek out my cousin Livius in the Parthenon. You will have another life to extinguish there. He will show yout he way and the who of it."

He couldn't see it, but the assasin had narrowed his eyes under the thick cowl. He was thinking. Deep thoughts. Calculating risk and reward.

"It will cost you a thousand sesterce my king,"

"A thousand!" Tarquinius said in astonishment. "The whole of the Quintus line cost only two hundred."

"True my king," the assasin said in soft whispered tones devoid of any emotion. "But the Quintii were not the Pontifex of Mars."

It was the Roman kings turn to narrow his eyes. This assasin was a shrewd on. An intelligent assasin was always a treasured rescource, and a grave danger at the same time. The assasin would have to be watched carefully, and more than likely disposed of very shortly after his mission was completed.

"Fine, but make sure it is done exactly how Livius specifies," Tarquinius replied in annoyance. "Afterwards he will have a list of other targets that will need to be removed as well. You will have to do some travelling. As far as the Inca territories."

"The Inca?"

"Mmm yes," Tarquinius answered distastefully. "Shocking that the church under Pontius would name barbarians to Cardinal ranks. I find it distasteful that the church of Rome could by some foul twist of fate be led by a red skinned barbarian mumbling prayers to some heretical feathered serpent while bending someone over backwards in front of the congregation to cut their heart out. Though truthfully that part doesnt seem so bad,"

"Will that be all my king?"

"Hmm? yes that will be all," Tarquinius said absently. "Livius will have all the information you need."

Tarquinius paused and held up a hand.

"One thing," he said thoughtfully. "I have another small task. Since you are on the way. Down in the forum, You will find a little boarding house that caters to our foriegn brothers of the faith. You'll find a man named Yatlco there. "

Tarquinius reached beside him and lifted and tossed a coinpurse to the assassin.

"Give that to him and tell the wretch that I will be very displeased if I do not hear of his people's war drums in the near future."

The assasin frowned and bowed his head and backed out of the throne room. More plots, more scheming and death from the throne. It was typical of Rome these days. Typical of kings.


Oct 6, 2007
"I haven't been to Setia in years," Salvius said as he gazed out over the large legion encampment set up outside the city.

"Strange for a Prince not to know his own territory," his freind Valerius said. "Most princes I know at least visit their lands once in a while."

Salvius scowled and turned to face his comrade.

"And how many princes do you know?"

"Counting you? One." Valerius responded. "But I'm sure the point still stands."

"If you say so,"

Valerius chuckled. It was good to be able to get his kit off and rest his feet. Even if it was only for a night. He looked over at his freind who was still intently running his eyes over the veiian city. He didn't understand Salvius. The man was a prince, could have been a king once he reached his majority, but he turned it all down to be a centurion in the legions. Didn't make much sense.

"You know that could have been yours," he said. "Could have been king Salvius Sextus of Veii instead of Centurion Sextus of the 3rd Century 5th Cohort. "

Salvius gave a wry smile.

"I don't think I would have made a very good king. I don't think my uncle or my cousin thought I would be a good king either for that matter.," he said. "Besides, I like being Centurion Sextus. Even if I'm not in the first legion anymore."

"Yeah why aren't you? You could have had any position you wanted. Why choose the Fourth Fidelis?" Valerius asked.

"Because, the First Rema isnt going to the Egyptian border at Circei, the Fourth is," Salvius replied. "Besides that I don't need a high rank, I just want to serve in the legions. Serve something greater than myself."

Valerius shook his head and clapped the younger man on the shoulder.

"Could have been king,"

"Yeah,yeah." Salvius said with a smirk. "What does the Legate want with us anyways?"

Valerius shrugged his shoulders. "You know Vedius doesn't tell me anything. But if I were a betting man, which I am, I'd say we're finally going to have our positions finalized. I hear Rufio is going to make Primus Pilus."

"Rufio?" Salvius said. "From the 6th Cohort? He's a good man. He'll do good there."

"Better him than us. " Valerius said with a grin. "Could you imagine having to deal with sixty centurions like us all the time in addition to the whole of the legion."

Salvius gave a shudder.

"No thank you," he said. " I know most of them. Which cohort do you want? If you had a choice."

Valerius thought about it.

"If I was to be given a cohort command instead of century command, I'd take the fourth. I know most the boys," he said. "Other than that I'll just serve where I'm needed. No complaints. Hell, we both got what eighteen years left."

Salvius grinned.

"I want the third., " he said. "The third is the right position for the most action if it comes to it. "

Valerius rolled his eyes, and quickly snapped to attention, his fist closing and clapping over his chest in a salute.

"Primus Pilus already Rufio?"

The dark haired Veiian growled and fixed the two centurions with a nasty glare.

"Valerius, Salvius, don't you two have your boys to think about?" he grumbled.

Salvius smirked and motioned towards the row of eighty tents lined up with his.

"All taken care of," he said. "You really make Primus Pilus huh? Good. Can't think of a better man for the job."

"Yeah, hope you like endless and thankless work," Valerius chimed in.
"Laugh it up you two," Rufio said with a sadistic grin. "Valerius you're going to the 6th, you'll have six centurions under you. Including Sestus."

"Sestus!" Valerius groaned. "Mars help me. The man's a menace. I've never seen a man who's idea of tactics is full frontal assault like that man."

Rufio just grinned wider.

"Salvius, you're going to the 3rd. You'll be senior in your Maniple. You'll be a camp commander when we get to the frontier," He said. "Don't think you're going to be getting out of any work though. We've got fortifications to build when we get there."

"Wouldn't dream of it Primus Pilus," Salvius answered with a smile. "When we moving out?"

"Some time in the morning," Rufio replied. "Just enough time to get aquainted with your new men. Make sure you're well aquainted with everything. You'll be with them for a long time."


Oct 6, 2007
"I don't care," Tarquinius snarled. "I want them ready and on display when Julius arrives for Pontius' funeral."

General Gaius let his temper simmer. It wasnt easy getting cartloads of Iron from Cumae to the Roman foundries to make the weapons and arms required. It took time and the King of Rome didn't seem to understand that. The first Roman legion would be trained and ready when it was trained and ready. No amount of roaring by the king could change that.

"Majesty, these things take time -"

"I don't want to hear it general," Tarquinius said. "When the retinue from Reme arrives for the funeral of our 'dear' and departed Pontifex, such a tragedy that, I want to see the look on his eyes when the streets are lined with red clad legionaires. Roman legionaires."

"I understand excellency, but-"

"No, you don't understand." Tarquinius spat out. "For to long now the armies of Reme have held us back. First at Veii, then at annexation of Circei. Our territory. Roman lands settled by Remen peasants. When Julius gets here, I want him to see that the power has shifted once again. IN OUR FAVOR. Its only a matter of time before Livius is elected Pontifex and I will not allow the power of the church in Rome to not be seen hand in hand with our martial power."

"I do understand majesty," General Gais interjected, "But the problem remainsthat the mines of Cumae are still far enough away to make transporting of the vast amounts of iron needed for arms and armor difficult. We need more manpower just in transport."

"Then take what you need." Tarquinius said biting off each word. "There are slaves enough. Move through the plantations and villas and round up as many as you need. Get the iron here to Rome and get my Legions trained and ready."

"Legions majesty?"

"Mmhmm. Legions," Tarquinius said. "I want as many legions as you can form. I want Rome to be the power of the latin peoples. When our forces outnumber the Remens as we already outclass them, they'll have no choice but to bend a knee to Rome. Roman honor demands our primacy in all matters."

"Majesty, if I may," The general began," Reme will still have legions of its own. Despite what numbers we may have, Reme's troops will be more seasoned while ours still young and untried."

"Oh don't worry about the Remen legions," Tarquinius said with a hint of glee in his voice. " I hear the Aztec war with the Serpent people isnt going well. It won't be long now before they call on their good friends the Remens to aide them in their struggle."

"Then they'll have battle hardened legionaires agaisnt our unblooded troops,"

"No, they won't" Tarquinius said with finality. "I've been in contact with the elder Thutmose. I've given him just enough to make sure that if any of the Remens return home it won't be enough to be a threat to us anymore. Thutmose was quite surprised and pleased to recieve a gift of Remen iron ore that just so happened to be.....appropriated off the coast of Tenochitlan by our ships. I find it so fitting that in the near future Remen iron will be used to spill Remen blood."


Oct 6, 2007
"We have to do something," Julius said motioning towards the map on the table. His fingers stabbing down on cities with strange names as he spoke. "Xochicalco, Texcoco razed and burned to the ground, the countryside around the Aztec allied Hun tribes burned and sown with salt. City after city is being run over by Thutmose's people."

Xachcolo stared at the Remen king, then at each of the strange man's advisors. Most especially the grizzled scar faced man who stood beside him in strange overlapping armor of shining metal plates. These Remens were a strange people, and though they followed the One God Mars Who Is Quetzecoatl, Xachcolo trusted them very little. They sat strong in arms while the mighty Aztec people, children of the Feathered Serpent fell in battle with the Snake People.

"We don't have the strength for war with Egypt, least ways not one of conquest," Marius said. "We have six legions we can send into battle, in addition to the few levies of spear and archers we have up on the border at Circei with the 4th And 3rd. "

"There are horsemen in Veii. Four squadrons of our best horse archers," Pollonius, the newest member of the council and newest Remen governor of Veii said. "Even one named after you Marius."

"That still doesn't leave us with much," Julius said. "At least not enough to do anything worth while and still protect ourselves from Tarquinius' legions. Wasn't that a nice surprise."

"Or would have been if we hadn't have been tipped off by some of the anti-Livius faction amongst the church." Marius pointed out.

"One problem at a time Marius," Julius chided. "We'll deal with a Sextus run church later. We've got more important things to worry about. "


"Ambassador," Julius said looking up to Xachcolo, "how stretched for forces are you?"

"Our warriors run from Tenochitlan to do battle with the Egyptian daily" Xachcolo replied. "It takes time moving through the wilds of our lands. We do not have the system of roads that Reme has."

"That's going to present a problem moving through there then," Marius replied.

"Meaning?" Julius asked.

"Meaning that we can't invade Egypt, thats clear enough," Marius stated flatly and pointed to the map and traced his finger overthe line of fallen Aztec cities. "The First and Second are here north of Arpinum. Just south of Texcoco Ambassador. We can move them up quickly enough to bolster the Aztec lines. With our help, they may just be able to regain some of the lost ground."

"The Horsemen of Veii can move quite a bit faster than the legions can," Pollonius added. We can get them up into the thick of it real quick. Don't have enough to take a city, but we can damn sure make the Serpents stay in Aztec lands difficult."

"Raids?" Marius asked.

"I was more thinking of harrassing the supply lines, " Pollonius answered. "Skirmishing with the lone columns we might find. Generally making the Egyptian push towards Tenochitlan as diffiuclt and as bloody as possible."

"Can your people hold out long enough for us to get into place Ambassador?" Julius asked seriously.

"The Serpent people go slowly into our lands, but kill all they find. Our warriors will hold them as they have been until you are ready I think,"

"Good," Julius replied. "Marius, how close to completion are those catapults? If we're going to be assaulting cities, I'd like for the walls to be down before our men started attacking."

"As would I," Marius replied. "We can have maybe two cohorts worth by the end of the season. More on the way if we can get production spread out. Veii and Antium seem good choices."

"See to it," Julius replied. "Ambassador, your people will soon be back with their own. You can count on it."

"You have the thanks of all of the children of great Montezuma friend Remen," Xachcolo said.

"Marius, I want you to lead the army from the front," Julius said. "You know the tactics and strategies better than anyone. Send word to Circei too, I want raids up into the Theban countryside. Lets see if we can't divide up Thutmose' attention as much as possible."


Oct 6, 2007
"Get movin ya dogs or I'll toss you over the side and let Neptune take ya!"

Salvius couldn't help but grin at the way the rough captain spoke to his men. They'd been at sea for three days now and he'd never tired of just watching the Antium sailors work. It was fascinating. All around him, everywhere he looked there was just ocean, and three three banked trimerenes. Each filled to overflowing with the legionaires of the 4th Fidelis and 5th Quintus Felix Legions. It was a new experience for just about all of them. He himself had never been on a ship before it slid up to the coastline and docked at his camp.

"Centurion Sextus! Are you paying attention?"

Salvius snapped his head back around and gave the Primus Pilus and apologetic look.


"Yeah you'll be sorry when we land at El-Amarna and half your cohort gets cut down by Egyptian arrows becuase you weren't paying attention," Rufio growled.

"El-Amarna?" Salvius asked in confusion.

The rest of the collected Cohort Commanders gave a laugh. Enough to make Salvius turn red.

"Yes, El-Amarna, a little town thats in our way of marching on Thebes," Rufio said in sarcastic politeness. "Something you'd know if you had been paying attention."

"Give him a break Rufio," Valerius cut in. "He's a prince, you know they have more important things to think about than listening to battle plans."

Salvius gave his friend a scowl.

"I was paying attention," he said defensively. "I just didnt know what the place was called. Must have missed that part."

"Must have," Valerius said with a grin.

"Are you two done?," Rufio asked. "Can I finish now? I can, well thank you very much. As I was saying, the levies from Circei are marching overland and should end up here to support our movements. Problem is, when we land at the beaches here for us in the 4th and here for the 5th, the levies are going to be several days away still while we'll be in the thick of it from almost the moment we get off the boats."

"What are we looking at going up against?" One of the other centurions asked.

"Eh, reports say close to two thousand archers and about a thousand spear militia.," Rufio replied. "Got to remember that these snake archers are good at what they do. They train with their bows every single day their whole lives. Most of you arent old enough to remember the assault on Thebes and what a mess they made of things last time there was a latin force iin Egypt. "

The Primus pilus looked at each one of them in turn to make sure he had their rapt attention.

"We have ten thousand men, ten thousand legionaires getting ready to land," he said. "The last time we fought in this country eight thousand never came back. Think about that. Look around at each other. Theres ten of you Cohort Commanders. If things go like they did last time, nine of you wont be coming back home."


Longinius patted the neck of his horse as he looked out over the plains below him. Texcoco should have been down there. It wasn't. All there was was smoldering rubble and ash filling the air. That and a horde of Egyptian horseman that swarmed over the fields slowly coming towards them.

He couldn't tell from this distance, not for sure, but he could guess that they were outfitted the same as him and the rest of the Veii horsemen. Short recurve bows and curved kopesh sickle swords instead of the spatha that the Remens had.

"There gonna be a fight?"

Longinius looked at Carus, one of the other Squadron leaders and nodded his head grimly.

"One way or another there will be," he said. "Either they see us and charge, or they turn tail and we chase them down. Theres going to be a fight one way or another."

"Good," Caro said. "You think those are the ones that did that to the city?"

"Hard to say," Longinius said peering out into the distance. "Can't see how horseman can do something like that to a city on their own, but I suppose its possible. If its not-"

"If its not there's probably another force of the snakes out there just waiting for us," Carus finished for him.

"Mmhmm," Longinius said absently, still studying the rolling mass of enemy horse. Trying to discern their skill and ability. "Any sign of the legions yet?"

"The Aztec scouts say they might have gone though here couple days ago," Carus said. "Might be they giving chase to the snakes that burned Texcoco to the ground."

"We can hope," Longinius said. "Otherwise we're going to be in a lot of trouble."


Oct 6, 2007
They'd had reinforcements. Chariots, Cavalry, and several more columns of spearmen. All in all, from what Salvius could figure, El-Armana's defenders jumped from three thousand, to somewhere along the lines of ten thousand. Ten thousand snakes against ten thousand Remen legionaires. Even odds numbers wise.

Their own reinforcements wouldn't be here for several more days. They'd camped on the other side of the river. Been harrased by Egyptian outriders to the point where they had been slowed considerably. Word had come down, reinforcements or no reinforcements, the legions would attack.

Thankfully it seemed the Egyptians weren't content to sit behind their walls this time. A thousand Egyptian spears backed up by a compliment of their archers sallied forth from the gates. This was it, this was where all their training and constant drilling would either pay off, or spell their doom.

He glanced up into the sky. His Cohort was formed up center. They'd be the ones to hold the enemy spear in place so that the cohorts on either side of him could push forward and destroy the enemy from the flanks. It was going to be hot today, he thought. It was probably always hot here.

Then he saw it.

"TESTUDO!" he shouted.

Egyptian arrows arcing up from behind the wall of Egyptian spears coming towards them. They were going to barrage the Remens with arrows all the way up til the two sides met in actual combat. Hoping to break the Legions's lines before the spears even got there.

As one the entire cohort formed up, scutum shields held up over their heads, surrounding the entire cohort in a near impenetrable shell of their shields. The arrow volley rained down on the shields with a tremendous force. He could hear the zipping sound of them in the air, the rattling staccatto of them pinging off the shields over his head.

Salvius gripped his pilum in his hand. It was a comfort to have the javelin to hold onto. Training is one thing, but the reality of warfare was something different. He could feel his heart racing beneath the plates of his lorica. It had to end, it couldn't go on forever.

Time seemed to stand still while volley after volley rained down over the Remens. Some few got through the Testudo formation. He could hear the grunts, the groans, and the pitiful cries of his men when egyptian arrows sought out opening in the defensive shields, and found Remen flesh to bite into.

He could see out of the openings. The Spearmen were advancing closer. Closer. Close enough that the archers had slacked off on their volleys.

"Ready Pilum!" Salvius shouted.

With a thunderous clamor the shields came down and the men of the 3rd Cohort, 4th Legio Fidelis readied their heavy wooden javelins. Salvius counted inwardly. Come on, he thought, closer. Get closer. They were in range, but he waited. And waited.

"Pilum," he called out, "Throw"

Over four hundred javelins arced out from the Remen cohort and drove deep into the thick of the Egyptian spearman. The metal head striking deep into their shields, the soft metal bending with the weight of the heavy wooden shaft, yanking the shields from the shocked hands of the egyptian spearmen. Others struck breastplates, dug into flesh and dropped the spearmen with hoarse ragged screams of pain. And still they advanced. Their numbers dwindled, but their determination to kill the remains only growing.


Four hundred and some odd short leaf shaped blades whipped in union out of leather scabbards and held ready. Salvius steadied himself, felt the shield of the man behind him pressing into his back. His own shield locked in front of him in row with all the others of the front century of his cohort.

The two walls of men collided. Salvius could see, and smell the man facing him. Could look into his eyes, the eyes of the man that wanted to kill him. He gritted his teeth and slammed his shield forward into the Egyptians shield, pressed with all he could and moved the other mans defenses out of the way. He stabbed forward quickly, his gladius gutting the man with a quick deep thrust. Salvius pulled back and returned his sheild to its former position even before the man knew he was dead.

All around him the clamor of battle, the screams, the stench of blood that filled his nostrils. It was horrific, but he could feel his blood burning in his veins for it. He killed the man that stepped forward to replace the one he had killed. Then another, and another.

When the Egyptians finally broke ranks, the entire sortie force had been decimated. The 4th Legion had crushed the spearmen with minimal losses. The 5th had quickly moved and swept up the archers behind them before they had the opportunity to flee into the safety of the city walls. Close to two thousand Egyptian warriors had fallen with less than two hundred dead or wounded on the Remen side.

For all of it, Salvius was glad it was over. He was exhausted, and his sword arm throbbed from overuse. He had survived. He had been victorious. His men had been victorious. On the first day of battle in any case.


Oct 6, 2007
"The levies have been destroyed," Rufio said to the assembled centurions.

There were murmurs of shock and dismay that ran through all of them.




Rufio scowled and waved his hands to quiet them all down.

"Quiet down, quiet down," He said sternly. "All like a bunch of harpies. "

He shook his head ruefully.

"Whoever is in charge of El-Amarna is a smart one," he said. "That sally was just a feint to get the legions tied up. Wasted two thousand of his own men just to keep us occupied long enough for them to sally out the other side of the city and link up with even more reinforcements. The levies got caught up between them."

"Survivors?" Salvius asked grimly.

The only answer Rufio gave was a shake of his head.

"All of them?" Valerius said incredulously.

"To a man, " Rufio answered. "After it was all over they killed all the wounded. Cut them apart like dogs. We're all alone out here boys."

All of them sat in silence in the Primus Pilus' tent. Taking that bit of information in. They'd aquitted themselves well in battle, held their own and blooded their blades for the first time. They were veterans now, but it came at a price. Four thousand men had died on the banks of a nameless egyptian river for their victory. That bit of knowledge took the edge off of the elation.

"What do we do now," Salvius asked. "I mean, what are our orders. "

Rufio frowned at him.

"We hold position. ," he said. "Fight the snakes and take the city. Just won't be as easy as it would have been with the four thousand men of the levies."

There was silence.

"Don't worry boys," Rufio said. "The Legates got a plan. And besides that, we're legionaires."


Oct 6, 2007
Pollonius couldn't believe it. The Egyptians had found a pass through the mountains to the northeast of the city. Thousands of Egyptian horseman were pouring over the mountains into the province that Veii commanded. They'd already slaughtered one of the levies he had sent to stop them. Killed them to a man. Filled them full of arrows before the spearmen had even gotten close.

They'd tried and tried to engage them. But each time the spearmen seemed to be getting close, the horsemen would wheel off, dash back away from them and pepper them with arrows from a safe distance.

It had drained the defenses of Veii considerably, but Pollonius had no choice. He had to send two of the three remaining spear levies out to block the horsemen as best they could. He'd had them take up defesive positions. Keeping the snakes in the valley that they'd come out of. He hoped it would be enough. It had to be. There was no one else in range to help them. If they failed here, all of Veii was open to the marauding Egyptian riders. They would turn the countryside to ash like they'd done so many times up north in the Aztec lands.


Gaius knew it had been a bad idea the moment he had heard the king's plan of engaging Reme in war with the Serpent People. He knew that to the Egyptians, a Latin was a Latin. Despite which king they bended their knee too. He had warned him, shown him the possibilities, and finally pleaded with him to send the two Roman legions to at the very least defend Pisae and Arpinum, the two provinces most in danger of Egyptian invasion. He hadn't listened until it was near to late.

Now, as it stood, Gaius and the red cloaked men of Rome were making a forced march towards Arpinum where it seemed the Egyptians had found a pass through the mountains. An invasion route that bypassed the pass at Pisae entirely and left all of the Roman lands open to their deprivations. Even now, as he rode alongside his marching men he could almost envision the rapine and pillage being visited upon the province of his birth.

It was going to be a tough fight even if they did make it in time. The first legion may have been ready, but the second, the second was hastily filled with ranks from conscripted volunteers pulled off the street, given arms and armor and marched off to war. The second would take heavy casualties. Rome would be bled in this conflict just as much as Reme. And there was little he could do to stop it now.


Oct 6, 2007
It was a bloodbath. The 5th Legion had taken a beating. Enough that its combat effectiveness had been all but destroyed. Only about one in five of the legionaires of the 5th Quintus Felix had survived with their lives. All of them were wounded. It was only by the grace of Mars, Salvius thought, that the 4th had managed to get to the survivors in time.

The 3rd Cohort had fought hard and heavy all day long. The last of the archers that had attempted to take advantage of the destroyed legions plight and have at the surrounded men with their short swords instead of their bows had paid dearly for their rash charge.

Egyptian spearmen were slowly retreating back into the city. Keeping Salvius and his men from taking the gates. From taking and opening up the whole city to their assault. So many lay dead all around him that his blade, his hand, his lorica was slick with blood. Some of it his, most of it snake blood.

"Push forward damn it!" he roared out. "Forward!"

The legionaires shoved and fought with all their might to get to the open gates of the city. No matter how many they killed, there was still more of the damn Egyptians barring their way. Each step they took in that direction was met by stern resistance. For everyone the men of the 4th Legion killed, three more of the snake kissers took their place on the lines.

"Push them, PUSH !"

Salvius' arm had long since stopped hurting from all the use. It had gone so far past pain that it was now a steady burn all up and down his whole side. He didnt care. He had to get this gate. He had to push these damn snakes back. Had to avenge the murdered men of the 5th Legion. He had to get in. Just had to.

The problem was the narrow entryway had choked both masses of men. It made manuevering and getting anything done difficult. There was no tactics anymore. No grand field manuevers. Just killing and waiting for your turn at either end of the sword and spear.

Salvius swore and gave a quick glance at his surroundings. He could see Valerius' cohort moving quickly towards them. He knew his friend was coming to help, but with the close quarters fighting they were engaged in, all the fresh legionaires would do was trap the embattled cohort between them and the Egyptians. If that happened, Salvius' fate was sealed. His whole cohort would be mauled and torn to peices. Damn it.

"Pull back!" he roared out. "Cover. Cover. Pull back."


Longinius leaned into the neck of his hard charging horse. His bowstring drawn back, arrow knocked as he searched for a target. The horsemen of Veii had mixed up with the Egyptian riders and they fought and died in a swirling mass of horse and men. Longinius let his arrow fly and barely watched it strike home in the throat of one of the snakes taking him off his horse. The Veii horse commander quickly nocked another arrow and sought out another target.

Men were dying all around him. They were falling like flies. Remen and Egyptian alike. But there was more of the Veii horseman than there was of the invading snakes. Longinius and the rest of his compatriots had already decieded the moment they crossed over the same mountain pass into Veii that the Egyptians had used, and seen the devastation of their homeland that they had seen, that there would be no survivors. None. They had to make a statement. They had to make it clear. Anyone and everyone who invaded their homeland would never make it back out alive again. It had to be that way. They had to make everyone in the world think twice about invading Veii ever again.


Oct 6, 2007
Marius growled in pleasure. This was a sweet vengance on his part. This was a blood debt being paid in full by the damn Egyptians. The first legion had not only held their ground, but had charged forward and smashed apart the howling sickle sword weilding Egytian warriors. His Optio and his runners were beginning to hate him. He'd been making them run to and fro between both legions, between all the embattled cohorts pushing down the hill.

"Severus," he called out. "Tell the 3rd cohort to pull up. They're bulging the line. They keep going like that they'll break ranks overextend and be off by their own."

Severus nodded and quickly relayed the order to a runner and sent him down to the overextending cohort. Runners were coming in from all parts of the field of battle giving their reports, requesting orders or information. So much so that the Legate's Optio was having a hard time collecting and deciphering it into a managable form to give to the General.

"Sir," he said pointing over towards the quickly moving 2nd Legion. "Cassius is reporting contact with another line of swordsman."

"What? Where? "

Marius shot his gaze down over to the other side of the hill. Sure enough there was another force of Egyptian swords swarming up over the surrounding hills. He grinned widely. General Cassius was doing exactly what he should be doing. He was moving the second legion to intercept the newcomers, moving to block their attempts at flanking the rapidly advancing first legion.

"Good man. Good Man!" Marius crowed. "I knew he was a good choice. Damn it all. Look at them go. Run them over , RUN THEM OVER."

He shook his head and pounded his fist into the saddle of his horse.

"Glorius," he said turning to Severus. "This is how we should have fought at Thebes. Look at them. Look at Reme's finest driving their gladius down the throats of the damned Egyptians. "

They watched the battle unfold. Marius ecstaticlly giving orders here and there to dirct the flow of it in a manner to his liking. The first legion had overrun and butchered the first line of swords. The second legion had chased off the other group who had taken up a defensive position on a neighboring hilltop.

"Should I have Cassius and Lucidus prepare for an attack?"

"No," Marius said shaking his head. "No, Pull them back to the top of the hill. They arent going anywhere. We're to close to Giza for them to run off. No, we'll rest up here and wait for the rest of the army to get here before we move on to hit Giza."

"Are you sure besieging a city in Egypt is wise sir? We barely have enough men as it is to conduct a fight with the help of the Aztecs. "

"Don't have a choice," Marius said. "Damn Egyptians burned every city they took to the ground. You know that. You've sen the ruins just as I have. No, only chance we have at protecting our friends in Tenochitlan is to give Thutmose something else to worry about. We may not have enough to take the city, but we do have enough to tie up his warriors enough that the Aztecs can pull through."

"If you say so sir," Severus replied. "We've seen precious little aide from the Aztecs up til this point save an odd scout here and there."

"Doesn't matter," Marius said. "Julius said to help the Aztecs as best we can, and best chance we have of doing that is here in Giza. We'll stand, fight, and make the damn snakes pay tenfold what they owe us in blood."


Oct 6, 2007
He was glad night had finally fallen. It gave him a chance to rest and have one of the camp surgeons tend to his wounds when there was spare time in between patching up legionaires who more seriously needed attention.

Besides, Salvius thought, it wasn't that bad. The arrow had barely gone in at all. His lorica had stopped most of it. Wasnt much more than a scratch but he'd like to have it taken care of before the next assault.

"Hey did you hear?" Valerius called out as he ran up to his fellow centurion. "We're getting reinforcements."

"What? From where?" Salvius asked. "I thought the rest of the legions were up north with the Aztecs."

"Well they are, most of them anyways." Valerius answered. "But we're to be joined by the newly formed Legio VII Augusta. A full legion of Veii's finest. They been marching since springtime apparently. "

"A full legion of Veii men you say? You know who's leading them?"

Valerius shrugged his shoulders.

"Havent a clue. But thats not even the best part," he said. "Along with the levy of spear we left back at Circei to hold off any of the damn snakes sneaking behind us, they're bringing two Roman Legions."

Salvius blinked. He couldn't believe his ears. Valerius had to be drunk or was playing a prank on him.

"Roman legions? You're sure."

"Of course I am," Valerius assured him. "Seems that ol' Thutmose found a pass over the mountains that let him bypass Pisae and Circei entirely. Led him right up into Arpinum. Couple thousand them Egyptian horse made a real mess I'm told. So much so that when the Romans got up there to clear them out, this General Gaius they got leading them was so incensed that he sent a runner to Rome and before the guy had even gotten out of the city Gaius'd marched both legions out this way."

"When you think they'll get here?"

"Oh should be couple days I think," Valerius answered. "The good part of the 7th moving up though, they're bringing a cohort of Catapult with them. No more trying to crack open the gates of El-Amarna."

"We'll make our own damn gate," Salvius said relishing the thought. "That'll teach the bastard snakes to hide behind their walls."

Valerius chuckled.

"Won't be long now til we're sipping wine and eating dates in the plaza with nubile young Egyptian ladies," he said.

Salvius rolled his eyes.

"What are you going to do with nubile young women from anywhere?" He said. "Do you even know what a woman looks like anymore."

"Oh I'm sure I'll be able to recognize them when I see them," Valerius replied sagely. "After all, I haven't been out here surrounded by the likes of you for THAT long."

Salvius grinned then suddenly turned somber.

"You think we'll make it up to Thebes?"

"Depends on how long we have to spend here choking on the sands of El-Amarna. Have to take the city before we can even think about choking on the sands of Thebes," Valerius said. "Why?"

"My father died at Thebes. During the last charge," Salvius said grimly. "They have alot to to pay for."

Valerius canted his head to the side and regarded his friend thoughtfully.

"Thats an aweful weight to be carrying around my friend," he said. "You have to worry about the Egyptians we're facing now and not the ones that killed your father. "

"I'm from Veii, " Salvius said. "Hell at one time I was their king. We take blood debts very seriously."

Valerius sighed.

"Legionaires don't have room for blood debts," he said. "We only have room for the here and now."

"I know," Salvius said softly. "Have to concentrate on keeping my men alive. Besides, might not even get to Thebes."

"Not if the bastards in El-Amarna have anything to say about it anyways."
Top Bottom