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“Es Frater Meus, Et Es Inimicus Meus” (“You Are My Brother, And You Are My Enemy”)

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  • “Es Frater Meus, Et Es Inimicus Meus” (“You Are My Brother, And You Are My Enemy”)

    Hello all. I'm a newcomer to the forums and I thought I'd try my hand at writing a story. It's my first one - so be kind please.

    Here goes-

    “Es Frater Meus, Et Es Inimicus Meus”
    (“You Are My Brother, And You Are My Enemy”)

    ROME, 14 June in the Year of Our Lord 1377 – It is a joyous day in our fair kingdom. Our Gracious Lord has blessed his Majesty Julius Caesar IV with a second son, Octavian Caesar. “It is truly a miracle that such joy can be brought to a family in the midst of such terrible bloodshed as our current war with the treacherous Egyptians,” said Royal Domestic Advisor Antonius Laurentius.

    However, this wonderful news is marred by the tragic death of Her Majesty Lucia during the birth. The late Queen was only 39 years of age at the time of her death. The king has announced a day of mourning throughout the kingdom for the late Lucia, scheduled for tomorrow.

    The late Queen gave birth to Julius Caesar V on April 21, 1376. The young Julius is deeply saddened by the loss of his mother but his nurse reported his hopeful good cheer at the arrival of Octavian.

    The king promises that he will continue his efforts to lead our forces in combat against the Egyptians despite his recent loss. The war is progressing on the northern front; our legionaries have proved more than a match for the weak “war chariots” of our foes.

    Our cities are working to produce more of the new horsemen for deployment to the western front, as our armies there need reinforcement. Our forces in that region consist mainly of (rather antiquated) archers and spearmen but are holding their own against Egypt.

    Palace strategists declined to comment on their future plans for the war.

    --Cornelius Philippus, Hodie in Roma (Today in Rome)


    Royal Palace, Rome
    15 June 1378

    Prince Julius V was angry.

    The two-year-old had just completed his afternoon snack when, having been declined additional cookies, he became irate and demanded to receive them in a loud and obnoxious tone.

    When the attendant present in the nursery steadfastly refused, an absurdly loud and shrill scream ripped out of the toddler’s mouth. He stood there in the middle of the nursery, mouth wide open, eyes squeezed shut, face red, screaming like a banshee.

    The attendant, becoming flustered, called for Julius’ personal nurse.

    “Portia! Julius is throwing a tantrum!”

    A portly middle-aged woman came through the doorway. Assessing the situation, she remarked, “Quite a voice for such a small child! He’s throwing these fits more and more often these days.”

    The nurse bent down beside the screaming child and picked up his favorite toy, a wooden cart pulled by a wooden horse. The elaborate plaything had been hand-crafted by the palace’s best carpenter, with working wheels and little shoes on the horse’s hooves.

    Julius finally stopped screaming and took the toy from Portia, scrutinizing it with a critical eye. He decided that cookies were more important, and subsequently dropped the forgotten horse and cart on the floor, announcing his refusal with a stubborn “No. Want cookies.”

    “Oh, you silly boy,” said Portia. “You’ve already had your snack today. Don’t you want to play something else now?”

    Julius answered with his stubborn “No,” and was preparing to scream when he looked up to see his father in the doorway.

    Forgetting the cookies, Julius ran to his father and clasped him around his toga-clad legs, grinning widely.

    “Greetings, Portia, Flora,” the king said to the attendants. “Just come to check on my boy.” The king knelt and hugged his son, the boundless love of a father in his eyes.

    “Hello, Your Majesty. Prince Julius was just having another tantrum,” Portia explained.

    “What is it now?”

    “He wants more cookies, but he’s just had his snack and I don’t want to spoil his supper.”

    “Oh, nonsense. He’s simply upset about his mother’s passing, I’ll venture. Give the boy his cookies.”


    Royal Palace, Rome
    April 21, 1379

    It was Julius V’s 3rd birthday, and the halls of the palace were filled with the citizenry of Rome, come to the palace more for the grand banquet than for the birthday of the prince.

    The prince sat at the head of the long center table, beside his father and the nurse who held his infant brother. Proudly, he sat regally as the admirers passed, offering their sincere wishes for a happy birthday and their compliments to the king for his recent victory over the Egyptians.

    A peace treaty had been signed after Egypt had been pushed nearly off the continent by the king’s armies. Rome now shared the landmass only with the remnants of Egypt, Greece (to the south), and Babylon (to the east).

    The prince’s mind was full of joy at the cornucopia of gifts spread over the table beside him. However, there was something in the back of his mind that tugged at him, detracting from his enjoyment of the occasion.

    Last year at this time… his mother had been with them.

    He could still see her beautiful face, her kind hands. He could feel her loving arms around him, her voice singing soft songs to him at night, and the smile she always smiled when she saw him.

    He missed her.

    He missed her so terribly badly.

    He cried that night, after all the food was eaten, all the well-wishers long gone. Nothing the servants could do would console him. Nothing would ever fill the missing place in his heart.


    Palace courtyard, Rome
    June 17, 1381

    The brothers Julius and Octavian were having their first archery lesson in the courtyard of the palace. Their instructor showed them how to draw the bowstring on their child-size bows, to align the shaft with the dot in the center of the target, and to release the arrow on its arcing flight to the bale of hay ten paces away.

    First it was Julius’ turn to try out the bow.

    Stepping up to the firing line, Julius drew his bowstring back to his chin, squinting his five-year-old eyes and tugging with all his strength. He let the string go, and the arrow shot forward in an arc, digging its point into the hay bale a few feet off the mark.

    The instructor was satisfied with his effort, but Julius was not pleased with himself.

    Four-year-old Octavian stepped up to the line, placing his arrow carefully on the string and raising the apparatus up to his torso. He placed his fingers on the string and drew it back to his chin as he was taught, lining up the shot meticulously. When he was precisely in line with the bull’s-eye, he drew in his breath and straightened his fingers.

    The arrow flew in a tan blur to the target, striking the hay solidly in the ring surrounding the center, a full two feet closer to the bull’s-eye than his brother’s shot. He lowered his bow and smiled broadly, soaking in the praise from the instructor.

    Realizing that he had beaten his brother for the first time, Octavian turned and smiled at his brother. Julius narrowed his eyes, his brow forming a V of anger as he felt hot envy course through him. Octavian wasn’t supposed to win! Julius was the older boy, the firstborn, the one who was better at everything.

    Julius was jealous.


    It was a feeling he would not feel very often for the next ten years, as Julius showed his prowess at everything from board games to swordfighting to schoolwork. Julius was physically strong, mentally sharp, and fiercely competitive. His brother was not a bad specimen of a boy, but Julius was always showing Octavian up in everything they did together.

    Everything, that is, but archery.

    The boys grew up together, sharing friends, family, experiences, and relationships with others. They had a deep friendship and loyalty to one another, but there was rivalry between them also, which grew beyond the bounds of simple competition. The two grew farther and farther apart as time went on, to the point where they competed constantly and ardently about anything and everything.

    To an outsider, it would have seemed as though they hated each other, but from Octavian’s perspective, there was no hate present at all; the brothers loved each other beyond measure and simply competed as brothers did (albeit continually).

    It was in the year of Our Lord 1391, when Octavian was 14 and Julius was 15, that noted scientist and philosopher Democratus of the Roman Monarchy postulated to the kingdom a radical new concept: democracy.

    This new form of government was based on the idea that government should be run by the people that are governed, and that the common people have the right to take part in the governing process by expressing their opinions and beliefs. In addition, the people of a nation are entitled to certain rights and freedoms that cannot be taken away by any man, least of all a king or an emperor.

    Democratus was bold and, indeed, audacious to suggest his new discovery to the people, since most of the freedoms he believed were ineffaceable were in fact not enjoyed by most of the populace of Rome, and thus he was jeopardizing his reputation, his career, and his standing in society with his insinuation that perhaps the current government was not entirely acceptable.

    It was popular opinion that while the king was not as generous as he could have been, he was nonetheless a benign and considerate ruler. On the other hand, radicals in the kingdom known as the Liberators had been urging the people to overthrow His Majesty Julius IV for many years. Democratus offered them a viable alternative to the current government, and their arguments began to carry more weight with the citizenry.

    It was the opinion of Princes Julius and Octavian that their father was the best leader that the Romans had ever known, but a chance encounter with the Liberators would soon alert Octavian to the true state of affairs in their nation…
    Last edited by TheGuitarist; July 11, 2002, 11:31.

  • #2
    I like how this one is starting out, although some may say that it needs more dialogue, I say it's good by itself.

    ((TINY NOTE: It'd be cool if archery between the brothers came into play later))
    First Master, Banan-Abbot of the Nana-stary, and Arch-Nan of the Order of the Sacred Banana.
    Marathon, the reason my friends and I have been playing the same hotseat game since 2006...


    • #3
      Thanks, Metaliturtle.
      Yes, I had envisioned the archery element taking part in the action later on.

      Hope to post more soon; working on second part.


      • #4
        Keep it up.


        • #5
          Roman Forum, Rome
          December 10, 1391 (Ten Years Later)

          It was the day before the Saturnalia, greatest of all festivals in Roman culture. Held every winter in honor of Saturn, god of seed and sowing, it meant days of celebration, music, dancing, and feasting on the fruits of the people’s labor.

          Today, King Julius IV was to ride out to the Forum and announce the beginning of the feast, as was the king’s custom. As teenagers (and young men in Roman culture), the king’s sons were to accompany him for the first time.

          The princes mounted their horses and rode out to the palace gates. There they met their father, riding his huge white horse, along with several members of the King’s Guard. The Guard was the elite detachment of pikemen that guarded the palace and the king himself. They were said to be deadly, trained in swordfighting, archery, hand-to-hand combat, and the Babylonian discipline Pashurat (that is, fighting with a staff).

          The procession made its way down the cobbled road, past the palace courtyards and out into the city of Rome itself. Thousands of citizens, clad in their togas, were hurrying to the Forum in preparation for the great feast. The scent of home-cooked food, bread, chicken, beans, and piping-hot beef, wafted from the open windows of houses along the street.

          Finally, the king’s party arrived at the Forum and mounted the steps to the speaking platform at the center of the huge square. Surrounding the area were the elaborate homes of the rich, the famed Roman bathhouses, the Council building (where the King’s advisors met), and the great Templum Iuppiteri (Temple of Jupiter), central house of Roman worship.

          A great cheer went up from the crowd as the King approached the podium. He acknowledged their glee with a wave and a smile, and then began speaking in Latin.

          “Venio hic hodie nuntiare initium Saturnaliae!”
          (I come here today to announce the beginning of the Saturnalia!)

          “Dat mihi gaudium magnum incipere id temporem laetitiae in patria nostra.”
          (It gives me great joy to begin this time of happiness in our country.)

          “Rogo te––”

          Before the king could continue, a loud and pervasive boo erupted from a crowd of spectators close to the speaking platform. Clad in gray togas, they wore expressions of anger and disdain. Their emotions confused Octavian. Why weren’t they happy like everyone else? It was the Saturnalia, the great Celebration!

          Interrupting his thoughts, a Guardsman stepped up to the princes and indicated that they should move to the other side of the platform. “You aren’t safe near the Liberators,” he explained.

          As the princes were moving, the crowd of Liberators started swarming up the steps towards the King’s party. Octavian saw the glint of iron as one of them drew a dagger out of the folds of his gray toga.

          The King’s Guard stepped forward, forming a line seven soldiers wide. They blocked the entrance to the platform and pulled staffs from their belts. Holding them horizontally, they pushed the crowd back off the platform. Octavian could hear their shouts:

          “Freedom for our people! Democracy is the only true path! The King is a tyrant and a dictator! Destroy the repressors and free the people!”

          A blur of motion drew Octavian’s eye to the platform in front of the podium. The radical with the dagger had made his way over to the other side of the platform, stepping onto the dais and waving his weapon in a zealous fervor.

          He charged the King, murder in his eyes. A gasp erupted from the crowd as they watched helplessly.

          A Guardsman stepped out from behind the princes and drew his staff, assuming a defensive posture in front of the King. The radical swore and thrust his weapon at the Guardsman’s left flank in a desperate move.

          The soldier parried the blow with his staff, pushing the attacker’s arm to one side. He disarmed the radical with a sharp blow, sending the dagger flying into the air. Shortly afterward, he snapped the right side of his staff into the Liberator’s jaw with a crack!, snapping his head around from the force of the blow.

          The radical fell back, knees drawn up in front of him, cradling his bleeding and broken face. The Guardsman stepped around him and brought his staff sharply down onto the radical’s temple, knocking him unconscious.

          The display of force subdued the remaining Liberators, who were apprehended by the Guardsmen and deported from the Forum.

          After the speech was made, the King drew aside one of the Guardsmen and they exchanged whispers. Octavian could barely hear their words, but he thought he heard his father say, “They’re a danger to… authority. Kill them quietly, but… one of the heads… their leader.”

          Octavian was unsure of his feelings. He knew the radicals were not to be trusted, having employed terrorism and double-crossing in the past. But his father… he had told the Guard to kill them all. Their zealous cries echoed in his mind, echoing along with his father’s words, echoing with Octavian’s guilty thoughts about exactly what kind of man his father was.
          Last edited by TheGuitarist; July 20, 2002, 10:38.


          • #6
            I'm glad you didn't write all of the dialogue in Latin, it was somewhat annoying.
            First Master, Banan-Abbot of the Nana-stary, and Arch-Nan of the Order of the Sacred Banana.
            Marathon, the reason my friends and I have been playing the same hotseat game since 2006...


            • #7

              The next installment...

              ROME, 11 December in the Year of Our Lord 1391 – Tuesday’s opening speech of the Saturnalia was interrupted by Liberators when several of the radicals stormed the King’s platform and attempted to assassinate His Majesty Julius IV. Fortunately, a King’s Guardsman was able to disarm the potential assassin and apprehend him.

              The group of Liberators was taken into custody and is currently being held in the palace dungeon. However, the radicals refuse to give interrogators any information concerning their organization, its leader(s), or its future plans.

              The royal Family is safe, and is enjoying the Saturnalia, along with the rest of the people of our Kingdom. Reached for comment, the King remarked, “These Liberators are among the least patriotic or loyal citizens in our Kingdom. I promise to bring them to justice.”

              --Philippus Cornelius, Hodie in Roma (Today in Rome)


              Prince Octavian’s Chambers, Royal Palace, Rome
              11:35 p.m., December 19, 1391

              It was a little more than a week after the disturbance at the Forum. Octavian was trying to go to sleep in his large bedchamber, but was having little success owing to the fact that the Saturnalia was still in full swing and the people were celebrating long into the night. Sounds of music, talk, and laughter could be heard from Rome as Octavian lay in his huge four-post bed.

              Suddenly – a new sound, much closer!

              Octavian heard a muffled scratching at his open window. Carefully, he sat up and peered into the darkness, squinting against the glow of firelight in the city below. He could see nothing, so he quietly lay back but kept his eyes open.

              Scratch, scratch, thump!

              “Who’s there?” Octavian cried fearfully. No answer.

              More scratching sounds, closer. Octavian considered calling the Guardsman from outside his door, and had decided to do so when a hand clamped over his mouth from behind.

              Octavian tried to call for his guards, but his cries were muffled by the iron grip of the hand on his face. Violently, he struggled, twisting around to confront his attacker, but another hand trapped his arms against the pallet. He craned his neck and caught a glimpse of gray toga beside his bed.

              Frantic, he struggled even more, but the Liberator had had enough. “Quiet!” he whispered harshly. “Stop your thrashing around! Do you want the Guard in here!?”

              Yes, I most certainly do, thought Octavian.

              “Listen, I’m not here to kill you or your family. I just want you to know the truth.”

              Taken aback, Octavian stopped struggling and listened. Cautiously, the Liberator released him, ready to clamp down on his face again if he made a noise.

              “The truth about what?” Octavian said.

              “Shhh! Not so loud! …The truth about your father and the way he treats his citizens.”

              Octavian felt he should defend his father, but his curiosity overcame family loyalty and he was silent.

              “King Julius is not exactly fair to the people. To be frank, he abuses his power. He demands excessive taxation, he forces the laborers to work hour after hour in the broiling hot sun, he requires every Roman citizen to worship HIS gods… and he hungers for war. Violence of any kind. He executed my compatriots shortly after they were taken into custody.”

              “The papers said they were being interrogated!”

              “Propaganda. He controls the media and all the input the people get from the outside world. And he’s especially careful with you two princes.”

              “So maybe my father isn’t the best ruler Rome’s ever had. You think you can do better?”

              “No. Not just one person by himself – but all of the people together. Democratus thought it up – it’s a far superior system. Democracy: all the people control the government together. Each citizen has a voice in the way things are run, and all the people are guaranteed certain freedoms, such as speech, religion, and press. As one group of people, the populace controls its own government. The citizens back us up, most of them. They don’t want to show their support in public – Julius wants us all dead. Most of the people understand the situation far better than you or me. They know what has to be done. But we can’t make Julius understand.”

              “You tried?”

              “Over and over. Sent petitions, proposals, suggestions, pleas. He can’t give up his power to a mass of lowly peasants. The warmonger thinks only he can run a government properly, so he won’t give anyone else a chance.”

              Octavian thought about this for a moment. He considered the Liberator’s statements and weighed their logic against the way his father had explained Rome’s government. He couldn’t believe that his father had told him untruths, but he knew the Liberator was right.

              “I believe you. But I have a question.”


              “If you’re really serious about this democracy thing, how are you planning to change our government with Julius so dead-set against it?”

              “We’re planning a revolution.”


              Octavian knew that he had to do the right thing. His father was a tyrant, an oppressor. He didn’t understand how to treat the people. Democracy was the answer, but Octavian didn’t know what might happen during a revolution. All of Rome, in rebellion! Mass chaos would be the only order in the Kingdom!

              Besides, he had a nagging question in the back of his mind… what would happen to his father?


              Royal Palace Courtyard, Rome
              1:16 a.m., January 12, 1392

              Octavian silently scaled the wall surrounding the Palace, throwing his legs over the top and dropping to the ground. He crouched and looked around for the Guard he knew was out in force. Seeing no one, he crossed the lawn in a low run.

              He reached the tower that held his second-story bedroom. He stepped onto the base of the Doric column, reaching up for a handhold. He climbed slowly but quietly, finding tiny toeholds in the weathered stone wall.

              Octavian reached for the small ledge dividing first floor from second floor. He grabbed the edge with both hands and pulled. A loose brick suddenly gave way, leaving him hanging precariously on the ledge with his right hand. He gave an involuntary cry of alarm and fear, then instantly realized his mistake and mentally kicked himself.

              “You there! Stop!” A Guardsman was running along the lawn to the wall of the Palace.

              A spike of fear shot through Octavian. He was caught.

              More Guardsmen were arriving, one of whom carried a rope. He threw it up to a Guardsman in Octavian’s window, who then secured it to the windowledge. Octavian swung his body over to it and seized it in both hands, sliding down the rope at painful speed.

              The Guardsmen roughly shackled his hands behind him, then pulled his head up and took off the gray hood on his toga. When they recognized the intruder, they drew back in shock.

              “Prince Octavian? It can’t be!”

              “None other.”

              Octavian was escorted to the King’s throne room, where Julius IV had been summoned after a rude awakening. Stunned, the King rose to his full height of nearly seven feet.

              “My son!? In the gray toga of a traitor? A dark day this is for our Kingdom!”

              Octavian stood, stolid as a statue.

              “You have been consorting with traitors, my son! Radicals! They want nothing more than violence and bloodshed!”

              “They have said the same about you, O King. And as for their aims, know this: The only desire of theirs is to set things right in our Kingdom, to rid it of tyranny and dictatorship forever.”

              The King’s eyes narrowed. “They have indoctrinated you, Octavian! Their words are false! Traitors, all of them, and so are you. But nonetheless, you are my son. I will spare your life – but I disown you from my family forever.”

              A sharp gasp from those present in the throne room.

              Octavian rocked back as though struck, his impassive exterior fallen. He had known that his father was not all he seemed to be, and, granted, Octavian was betraying him in a way, but Octavian had always been sure of his own loyalty to his flesh and blood!

              But he had to accept his fate. No longer could he think of himself as royalty, as a part of the ruling party. He was a fugitive, an outlaw. He would stay with the Liberators until that day came when he wouldn’t have to run anymore.

              To be continued...
              Last edited by TheGuitarist; July 11, 2002, 11:29.


              • #8
                Last part is on the way...
                Almost finished!


                • #9
                  Great story so far! Keep it up!
                  Overworked and underpaid C/LTJG in the NJROTC
                  If you try to fail and succeed which have you done?
                  If fail to plan, then you plan to fail


                  • #11
                    A Rebellion Begins

                    Alleys on the Outskirts of Rome
                    3:23 a.m., January 12, 1392 (Two Hours Later)

                    A sharp thunderclap echoed through sleeping Rome as a light rain began its patter on the cobblestone streets.

                    Octavian hurried quickly along the dark alleys of the outskirts of Rome, huddled in his gray toga against the rain. He kept a hand tightly clamped on the small dagger concealed in his robes, constantly watching for any patrolling soldiers.

                    Octavian turned a corner cautiously, peering down the dark and narrow street. Seeing no one, he stepped furtively along the road, crouched and keeping a lookout.

                    Suddenly there came quick footsteps behind him, the heavy, measured strides of a soldier. Fighting down the panic, Octavian looked frantically for a hiding place.

                    The Guardsman walked down the seemingly empty street, seeing no one. He passed a narrow, pitch-black doorway without a thought and continued on his rounds, until he turned the corner at the end of the alley onto a more heavily traveled avenue.

                    With a mental sigh of relief, Octavian stepped silently out of the doorway and continued down the wet alley.

                    Shortly, he arrived at the domus of one of the more respected Roman citizens, Marcus Gregorius. It was a typical domus owned by a seemingly typical rich citizen. However, Gregorius was anything but a typical, greedy rich man. He was the leader of the Liberator movement, not only in Rome, but in all the other parts of the Kingdom.

                    Octavian hurried through the vestibulum, or foyer, and knocked softly four times on the door. A hoarse whisper came from beyond.

                    “Negotium tuum?”
                    (“Your business?”)

                    Recognizing the prearranged code phrase, Octavian answered in kind:

                    “Sum sed civis parva, sed habeo spe pro Romam.”
                    (“I am but a small citizen, but I have hope for Rome.”)

                    Satisfied, the servant opened the door. Octavian stepped in and removed his gray hood, grateful for the shelter. He and the servant stepped around the atrium and passed through to the peristylium, an open court with plants and a small garden, surrounded by columns.

                    A middle-aged man with dark hair and a beard, of medium height and a rather burly build, hurried out of his bedchamber, pulling on his toga. “Octavian? Why have you returned so soon? Our meeting was concluded two hours ago.”

                    Octavian moved beside him and the two began walking to the library, which served as a meeting room for the Liberators. “I fear that I must report the worst, my friend. My father the King has discovered my association with this organization. In anger, he disowned me and banished me from his household. I have come here because… I have nowhere else to go.”

                    Gregorius nodded thoughtfully. “Come, let us talk in the Library.”


                    Octavian explained his recent discovery by his father for the next two hours. A lengthy discussion about his plans for the future ensued. Although he was a rather prominent member of the Liberators, he was still only a teenage boy, and thus he was assured that Gregorius would keep him safe in his own house until such time as Octavian could return to the Palace.

                    The recent mishap aside, that night’s meeting and Octavian’s discussion with Gregorius included serious progress in the details of the plan for the overthrow of the King. The basic sequence of events was planned as follows.

                    The overthrow would occur in two weeks, on January 26, at midnight. It would begin with the sabotage of the Palace defenses. The stealthiest of Liberator assassins, known as Christophorus, would infiltrate the Palace and kill the Captain of the Guard. Then he would proceed to the bell tower, located on the south wall of the Palace, and produce five slow rings, followed by three quick rings. This signal would alert the various Liberator operatives to begin the assault on the Palace.

                    Weapons had been stockpiled in secret armories throughout Rome for several months. At this point, there were enough swords, daggers, and pikes to arm roughly five hundred angry townspeople. The sympathetic citizens had been divided into groups numbering a few dozen supporters each. The groups had each been assigned a few Liberators as their leaders, resulting in ten or so “platoons” of roughly fifty citizens apiece. The individual platoons had been assigned an armory as well, and when Christophorus sounded the signal, the groups would proceed with their leaders to the armories and receive enough weapons to arm the force.

                    A few platoons would be responsible for the city itself, taking out any soldiers loyal to the King and securing the outer walls against any attack from surrounding forces. The remaining platoons would make their way to the Palace, where they would assault the gates and walls and kill anyone who opposed them. The plan was based on the belief that the citizens’ superior numbers would counter the advantage in skill and training that the soldiers and the King’s Guard held.

                    Octavian could only hope that it would be enough.


                    ROME, January 13 in the Year of Our Lord 1392 – King Julius IV’s son, Prince Octavian, was killed early this morning in a brutal murder committed by a member of the radical organization known as the Liberators. The Prince was asleep in his chamber at the Palace when an assassin slipped into the room and slit his throat.

                    Prince Octavian was only 14 years old at the time of his murder. He is survived by his brother, Prince Julius V (15 years old), and his father, King Julius IV.

                    The King has increased his offer of reward to 200 gold pieces for any information leading to the capture of a Liberator or any sympathetic citizen.

                    Reached for comment, the King remarked, “I knew the Liberators were evil, but I never thought they’d go this far. I don’t want to make any less of their previous acts, but this savage murder is by far the worst thing they ever could have done.”

                    --Cornelius Philippus, Hodie in Roma (Today in Rome)


                    Palace Walls, Rome
                    11:37 p.m., January 25, 1392

                    The assassin Christophorus slipped silently along the Palace wall, on a mission of death for the Captain of the Guard.

                    He pulled a farmer’s hay wagon next to the wall, to be used during his escape, and noted the positions of Guardsmen keeping watch along the twenty-foot edifice protecting the Palace. He reached a portion along which there were relatively few, and tossed a tiny grapple over. It caught on the walkway with a barely audible tink!, and Christophorus took hold of the rope and lithely began his walk up the wall.

                    At the top, the assassin swung his legs over and dropped to the walkway, landing in a crouch. He coiled his rope once more and crept along the planks to the watchtower at the main gate.

                    Peering around the doorframe, Christophorus noted two occupants inside the room. There was a Guardsman watching through the window facing outward to the gate, and behind him sat the Captain of the Guard on a wooden stool. He was leaning against the wall, arms crossed, and judging from his slow breathing rate, was sleeping.

                    Christophorus stepped silently up behind him, watching the soldier at the window the whole way. He removed from his toga a tiny wooden box. Enclosed was a Babylonian assassin’s blowdart, tipped with deadly hemlock poison.

                    Christophorus carefully moved the dart close to the Captain’s neck, on edge and prepared to flee at any moment. In one swift movement, Christophorus jabbed the razor-sharp tip of the dart into the Captain’s carotid and drew back his hand at once. The Captain slumped lower on his stool and breathed his last. Christophorus carefully laid his dead body against the wall, propping him up securely.

                    When the deed was done, Christophorus retreated quickly and crept along the wall once more. Two Guardsmen stood between him and the bell tower. He needed a distraction.

                    Creeping up behind the first Guardsman, he picked up a stone and tossed it into one of the many reflecting pools that dotted the King’s courtyard. The resulting splash made the soldier spin to face the pool, not noticing Christophorus. The assassin gave him a healthy shove and quickly dropped over the outside of the wall, hanging onto the edge with his fingertips.

                    The second soldier, closer to the bell tower, came quickly to investigate the scream and large splash resulting from Christophorus’ Guardsman’s fall. He peered down into the inner courtyard, his back to Christophorus, and kept searching for anything strange while Christophorus pulled himself onto the walkway once more. He drew his dagger and stabbed the soldier in the temple, ceasing his brain function instantly. He fell into the pool along with the other Guardsman, there to stay for eternity.

                    Christophorus hurried along the walkway, reaching the bell tower quickly. Thankfully, there were no Guardsmen inside it, but he had to act quickly before the dead Captain and Guardsmen were missed. He gave the bell five slow rings, followed by three quick ones, as was the arranged signal. His job was finished.

                    He could hear loud shouting outside, and a myriad of footsteps coming toward him. He ran out of the tower, ducking as an arrow flew over his head and embedded itself in the wooden doorframe. Christophorus dove over the Palace wall and landed in the hay wagon, tumbling off and running across the street to a nearby domus. As he dodged arrows and columns, he could hear a roar building in the streets of Rome. The streets were alive with the glow of fire, the smell of soot, and the clank of iron on iron.

                    The revolution had begun.

                    To be continued...


                    • #12
                      I had to separate the last installment into two parts - it was too long to write all at once.

                      But I promise the next post will end it, unless the masses clamor for a sequel.


                      • #13
                        You'd think they'd pull the guards out of the pools, instead of just leaving them there "for eternity" but otherwise, really good
                        First Master, Banan-Abbot of the Nana-stary, and Arch-Nan of the Order of the Sacred Banana.
                        Marathon, the reason my friends and I have been playing the same hotseat game since 2006...


                        • #14
                          very good


                          • #15
                            c'mon Civman, is that all you can say?
                            First Master, Banan-Abbot of the Nana-stary, and Arch-Nan of the Order of the Sacred Banana.
                            Marathon, the reason my friends and I have been playing the same hotseat game since 2006...