All roads lead to Roma
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Author:  Tiberius Claudius [ Sat May 08, 2010 7:18 am ]
Post subject:  All roads lead to Roma

This set of stories is based on a character Image I played in a PBM called "Beyond the Seven Hills" for Europa Barbarorum, a mod of Rome: Total War. I continue to use this character as my Belegarth persona and the picture is that of the character sheet, showing his attributes. The stories were originally composed by myself and the other members who played the game. Since our game has ended, I have taken the liberty of combining the stories and forum posts into a coherent, flowing one that reflected my character's participation in the game.

The Spoils of War - Tiberivs Claudivs Marcellvs appointed to the Senate


The horses skidded to a halt, horseshoes clacking on the cobblestone pavers, one rider standing up in the stirrups straining at the reigns to keep his balance. Though the man atop the sweat-slicked beast was an accomplished rider he struggled against being thrown as the stallion was anxiously tossing its head about now that it had caught the scent of two mares. In front of the well-dressed man and his aide was a cart, its axle snapped at the wheel; its cargo of apples littered the road. The farmer and another man, probably his brother from their shared countenance, worked hard to right the cart as a younger man worked a stout log under the cart to keep it lifted while repairs were made. These were men of the land, hard working citizens of Latium earning their daily bread by the sweat of their brow. They were peasants.

Though they shared political equality with the mounted man's family, his toiled not in the fields with the beasts of burden in dumb anguish, their skin flayed by Apollo's orb; but in the cities and towns selling what little extra these poor wretched souls could coax out of the terra firma. The mounted man's immediate family were of a slowly growing merchant class. While still considered plebeius, they were amassing amounts of denarii unheard of in past ages. While these miniature fortunes paled in comparison to those of the Patrician land owners, they made available luxuries and accoutrements above those of water, bread, and a roof.

Tiberivs Claudivs Marcellvs looked at the farmers in disdain and remarked,

"What a time for such trouble. Marcvs," he said, turning to his aide, "stay here and help these men right their cart. I shall continue on to deliver my papers to the Consul of the Legions and the Senatores in the Curia. Hmmm," he thought, "I suppose such important men would be too busy.......even for me. Perhaps I shall leave them with a Legatus or other official. At any rate, when you have finished here, give them each a days wage of a laborer for their lost time. I see some of these apples shall never earn them half a copper in the Forum. Return to me at the Campus Martius and inquire of me there." Marcvs, quite caught off guard, barely managed to close his mouth and acknowledge his benefactor; silently resigning himself to the effort at hand. It was always this way.

The farmers, startled from their labor, dropped the cart with a solid thud and glanced about at each other and the men on horseback. Catching a glimpse of a scroll tube with the insignia of the SPQR the eldest farmer clasped his hands before him and gave a quick nervous bow, stuttering,

"Aye, m'lord. We meant no inconvenience and apologize for having troubled you so. Mercvry's swiftness guide your travels to make up for our clumsiness."

The farmer batted a hand at his brother and the boy to follow his example and they unceremoniously dropped their heads and muttered unintelligble apologies. Tiberivs snorted a disapproving sound and urged his mount back to a swift run, leaving Marcvs to do the heavy work. Marcvs was a good man, a former small unit commander back in Taras when it was ruled by the Molossian. Marcvs came to be an indispensable aide for Tiberius' father fifteen years ago when he retired from military service and was hired on as the chief steward. Tiberivs remembered half-heartedly listening as Marcvs taught him about military tactics and about battles past, using olives and rocks and twigs on a table in large store room. Yes, Marcvs was capable and would no doubt distract the men from their hard work with tales of the benevolence and greatness of the gens Clavdia, in particular, that of Tiberivs and of his father.

He could see Roma in the distance sitting atop its hills, its walls and rooftops glittering in the waxing day's light. It was still a league yet to the gates and already the road was becoming more and more crowded with other farmers bringing their produce to the markets in the capitol. Tiberivs wove his way through the unwashed throngs steadily. His mount, not wholly unaccusomted to crowds and turbulence, was surefooted and snorted to make his presence known to those who would slow his master's travel. Tiberivs absent mindedly let the tips of his fingers slip to the scroll case at his hip for the thousandth time since he left Taras almost two months ago. He smiled to himself as he felt the intricate gilding of the letters"S.P.Q.R."on its face.

He remembered the overwhelming joy he felt and the look of utter pride in his father's face when the messenger from Roma had first delivered the official letter of thanks from the Senate for housing the spy sent to scout the city before the Legio I Apulia beseiged and captured it. Tiberivs was at first unsure of his father's decision to support the Romans but was now glad he did. His father was always plotting and planning new ways to advance his family's station and wealth, though, one would never know it from the outside. Yes, father was indeed a sly and cunning man - skills not lost to Tiberivs himself. In addition to the grant of citizenship to the adult male members of his family, the Senate also offered Tiberivs an appointment to the legislative body itself! Father, though tempered by the knowledge of politics that this appointment was largely symbolic - a way to help insure the loyalty of the local populace to Roma, hired musicians, ordered the best of foods, invited the lesser nobility of Taras and spent thousands of denarii on a three day feast. That was two months ago. Tiberivs left the day after the feast and set out with Marcvs to grasp the hand-up that the Senate had offered him. One day he would raise the name of his family and the gens Clavdia to the highest annals of history!

Author:  Tiberius Claudius [ Tue May 11, 2010 6:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Suffering the Slings and Arrows


"Watch your step you blundering jackass before you get your head smashed!" bellowed the soldier atop a fine brown stallion rearing back on its two legs as the rider yanked hard on the reins to prevent the beast from trampling the young man below. From the look of his uniform, the man atop the horse was a messenger for the Senate, an angry one at that; no doubt delivering financial notes from the Cvria to the various smithies and farriers making all the necessary instruments of war at the behest of the legislative body.

The young man on the ground, looked around nervously and fidgeted as he mumbled an apology. The courier spurred his horse onward and thrust out his foot, soundly connecting with the side of the young man's head. The young man flew backwards and sprawled out on the ground; the paper he had been carrying fluttered in the air, looping lazily about until it settled a few feet away. Dazed, he gingerly touched his temple and winced. It was bleeding and painful to the touch. "At least the horse hadn't come down on him," he thought. Slowly he stood up and retrieved his paper just as it was about to be run over by a wagon. That paper was Lvcivs Hostilivs Tvbvlvs' only way to better his station in life.

Lvcivs Hostilivs was about as unremarkable a man as there could be. He was average in height and weight, somewhat above average in appearance (or so his mother had always told him), and a bit below average in speech, strength, and confidence. He had left his family's farm after his father died last winter and his older brothers told him in no uncertain terms that he was more a burden than a capable farm hand. Not knowing what to do with his life, Lvcivs wandered the countryside of Lativm until he came upon a small town - more a collection of trader huts at an intersection of roads - and was goaded into performing a physical strength and endurance test by several soldiers who were recruiting locals for service in the Legions serving in the north of the penninsula. He passed the test and the senior soldier handed him a parchment with writing on it and a red wax stamp. The soldier told Lvcivs to travel northwest to Roma and to report to the Quartermaster in the Campvs Martivs where he would receive rations, clothes, and training to join one of the Legions heading to defend the borders of the Res Pvblica against barbarian hordes.

Lvcivs balked at the idea of combat. He had always hated wringing the necks of chickens on his farm and was overjoyed whenever his mother would relieve him of the task. When the senior soldier realized that Lvcivs had no intentions of going to Roma, he stood up and swept back his sagum, resting his heavy hand squarely on the pommel of his rather sharp looking gladius. He leaned forward and brought his bushy black eyebrows together, his steel-like gaze penetrated the depths of Lvcivs' very soul and menacingly growled,

"I suggest, boy, that if you want to live the rest of your life, you do as you're told and get yourself up to Roma." He turned slightly to the side and spat. Returning his glare to Lvcivs he continued, "Unless, of course, you don't mind being crucified along the Via Appia and letting the birds pluck out your eyes until you die of thirst."

The message was not lost on Lvcivs and he quickly stammered that he would be on his way right now and not dawdle for anything. The other soldiers laughed and clapped the senior soldier on his back. Lvcivs scurried away down the road, occasionally and fearfully looking over his shoulder to make sure the soldiers hadn't changed their mind and were going to try to crucify him.

That was three weeks ago and Lvcivs was true to his word. He now found himself lost in the middle of the Campvs Martivs in the great and ancient capitol of Roma nearly trampled to death and he hadn't even faced a single barbarian. The air was choked with dust from the pack mules, and horses, and marching troops. It stunk of manure, and sweat, and even blood. Lvcivs' knees weakened at the thought of blood, but he steadied himself and attempted to catch his bearing. Through the din and clamor of hammers striking steel on anvils, the whooshing and roar of the bellows breathing life to the myriad of fires, animals braying, armor and weapons clanging, and commanders and troops shouting orders back and forth, Lvcivs saw a line of other young men who appeared much as he, in front of a large canvas tent, being handed a pile of clothing and trotting off to various destinations. He thought to himself that that was as good a place to start as any so he got in the back of the line. He noticed that most of the men had a paper just like his. He let out a sigh of relief that he had not drawn attention to himself and moved with the stop-and-go of the queue.

When Lvcivs reached the front of the line his paper was ripped from his hand by a fat, greasy man wearing a tunica that once could have been called white. He had gapped teeth and a patch over his left eye. Another young man came running up from the back of the tent with a pile of clothing and gave it to the man.

"I am the quartermaster", he harrumphed, the air whistling through his teeth. "When you need gear, you see your commander and tell him why it needs to be replaced. Then, he'll send you to me with a parchment like this and I'll replace whatever is on the paper. No paper, no equipment. And don't you be thinkin' you can pull the wool over the eyes of ol' Dorsvs Fabivs, or your commander or one of my boys here for that matter. If you're negligent with your gear, there'll be hell to pay, you'd better believe it! Now take your clothing and go stand over there with that other group of halfwits and wait for one of the centurions to take charge of you."

Lvcivs quickly did as he was told and another recruit took his spot and received the same lecture. Lvcivs didn't even have time to question what he had gotten himself into before a thickly muscled bare chested man approached the loosely organized group of eighty or so recruits and started shouting orders. Lvcivs found himself running with them into a palisade fenced area and began changing into his new clothes. This was not going to be easy.

Lvcivs nervously looked around at the other recruits and caught sight of a tired, visibly testy, and dust-covered, well-dressed man in the distance enter the center of commotion at the Campvs Maritvs. He looked about hastily and not immediately seeing what he wanted he grabbed a young soot-covered errand-boy, possibly an armorer's apprentice, by the arm as he trotted by. The youth looked up in indignant anger; but knew better than to say anything. After a brief exhange of words and a quick arm thrust out to point the direction, the man released the boy who nursed his sore arm while he ran off in the direction of his errand, looking back all the while at his assailant. When the newly arrived man had his back turned, the boy stuck out his tongue and disappeared into the commotion that was the Campvs Martivs.

The well-dressed man of approximately 30 years walked over to a message board, covered in various writs and messages on both velum and papyrus. He scanned the parchments, and slightly dissatisfied removed his seal and signature kit, resigning himself to a tour of hardship in the military. He focused his attention on one writ in particular mentioning the proposed creation of a Legio III from an area yet to be determined. Reading further he saw that the proposed legion was to be created after the current campaign in the north to bring Bononia and Segesta into the Roman sphere of influence was completed and funds were available.

The young man dabbed his stylus into the small bottle of ink he kept in his seal and signature kit and affixed his name to the parchment,

"I, Tribvnvs Tiberivs Clavdivs Marcellvs, being of sound mind and body do hereby request to be appointed a position within the soon-to-be-created Legio III of a region yet-to-be-determined for a tour of service of unspecified length. I have studied with Greek officers in Taras during the reign of the Molossian and am accompanied by one at present. Hereby affixed is the seal of the gens Clavdia, attesting to my honor.
Ti. C. Marcellvs"

The young man dipped his signet ring into the vile of ink, sighed heavily, and blotted his family seal under his signature. His shoulders sagged under a sudden invisible burden, he turned away from the parchment and walked away, appearing to be looking for someone.

Author:  Tiberius Claudius [ Thu May 20, 2010 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Pride and Prejudice - Tiberivs Clavdivs Marcellvs arrives to Roma


In the Cvria, Tribvnvs Qvintvs Fabivs Licinvs Image, a junior senator and aspiring officer in the Legion arose to address the members of the legislative body.

"Patres Conscripti, I have heard told elements of our forces have returned and that Bononia has fallen. What fate do its inhabitants share? I pray our Consvl sacked it - or better still enslaved the population; 'twould satiate the gnawing hunger of our coffers considerably!"

No sooner had the question been asked, than did Consvl Cnaevs Cornelivs Scipio Asina Image, smelling of a strange mix of blood, sweat and horse, enter the hallowed halls of the Cvria. He was a tall and muscular man, broad of shoulder and narrow of waist. His dark hair complimented the tanned color of his skin, a sign of his life out of doors. All eyes turned toward him as a clerk announced his entry, he was grinning.

The Heres and Consvl, Dvx Cnaevs Cornelivs Blasio Image rose uneasily from his seat; both of his frail arms, bedecked with liver spots, supported by an aide. The sunlight entered through a small window and reflected brilliantly upon his shock of white hair, and some in the hall were momentarily blinded. In a thin and gravelly voice, he spoke,

"Well done Consvl Cnaevs Cornelivs, not only have you earned the Res Pvblica a new city, but by your actions the Senate shall bestow upon you the rank of Qvaestor. You do honor to your ancestors and to the Res Pvblica. Stand and be recognized."

The Cvria erupted into raucous cheers, continuing for several minutes. The Heres unsuccessfully tried to quiet the men down, but they were vigilant with their accolades. Eventually, the roar simmered down into a murmur of voices, and eventually silence.

"As for Pvblivs Regvlvs Image, he has served well in Legio I Apulia and has earned the rank of Legatvs. A legion will be prepared for him as soon as the resources allow for it. Until then he may continue to serve with Consvl Cnaevs Regvlvs, respectfully, but no longer under him."

A quick applause was made for the new Legate, and the Senatores quieted themselves quickly to hear what other good news there was this day.

"Lastly I wish to propose to the Senate that the Provincial Dictatorship of Apulia be granted to our new Qvaestor Cnaevs Cornelivs Scipio Asina as reward for his bravery and indefatigable will. If the motion be seconded, we shall vote upon it this afternoon."

Several junior senatores threw up their hands and voiced their assent, eager to attach their names to such a momentous piece of legislation. When all had settled, the new Quaestor stepped forward to speak,

"Tribvnvs Quintvs Fabivs, it is good to see you and to be in the home of my ancestors. The city is indeed fallen. Initially, I meant to just occupy Bononia as their people cooperated so well and let our soldiers crush theirs under our sandals; however they were not very cooperative when I declared it captured by the Res Pvblica; so I expelled those people who were fomenting discontent. The increase in trade and the small-scale looting of Bononia has given us a substantial amount of money."

"I also thank you Dvx Cnaevs Cornelivs Blasio for nominating me for the dictatorship over Apvlia. I plan to govern the region well and work towards making the Res Pvblica stronger in the face of our enemies."

The Qvaestor's proxy passed a piece of parchment to him.

"I would also like to thank Legatvs Caivs Avrelivs Cotta and Legio II for aiding Legio I in taking Bononia."

A thought struck the Qvaestor, bringing a partial smile to his face. He started to continue, but whispered something to his proxy reached into a pouch on his belt. He removed from it another piece of parchment with something illegibly scrawled on it and passed it to the aide. The clerk rolled his eyes to himself as he began the task of deciphering the crumpled, soiled, and smeared letter.

"Patres Conscripti, I shall take my leave and head to the Campvs Martivs to notify the Tribvni; good day all"

The new Qvaestor turned and saluted the legislative body. He wheeled about, cloak billowing behind him as he began walking speedily toward the exit. Stepping out of the way at the last minute to avoid being knocked to the ground by the swift moving and well-decorated commander, a well-dressed young man looked about the chambers of the Cvria. He noticed a clerk furiously studying a note handed him by the commander that just left and quietly whispered something to him. The clerk absent-mindedly pointed in the general direction of several toga-clad senatores and mumbled something unintelligble, clearly absorbed with discerning the contents of the writ. Suddenly, a powerful voice erupted in the cavernous hall,

"Is that how you address a member of the Senate you slovenly oaf!? Stand up straight, look me in the eye when one of your social betters addresses you, and enunciate your syllables! Surely, you disgrace your master's house, now back to your station!"

The few senatores in the chambers discussing politics while not in session stared at the young man, neither showing amusement nor shock at such an outburst in this sacred venue. Several began to speak in hushed tones while eyeing the self-declared member of the legislative body, unusually tanned in comparison to the people of the capitol. Unnerved by the penetrating gazes of these older, wiser, and more importantly richer, and more powerful men, the newly arrived presumptuous addition to the Senate broke into a small sweat while he adjusted his tunic and shifted his weight as he racked his brain to regain the lost footing he helds in these men's eyes. Solemnly he began,

"Honored Senatores, I apologize for my outburst. I have grown accustomed to certain privileges and deferential treatment in my home of Taras. I beg you to forgive this offense toward my fellow man."

The well-dressed man, robust with youth, tinged with the ever-so-slight appearance of maturation, grasped the stunned clerk by the forearms and embraced him.

"Forgive me? Friend? I have wronged you in the eyes of others. I have wronged my family's honor. I have disgraced these hallowed halls."

Before the clerk could even begin to respond, the man released his embrace and stepped away to address the senatores in the Cvria, unfurling a scroll from the ornately gilded case that had accompanied him on his long journey.

"I am Tiberivs Clavdivs Marcellvs of the newly enjoined city of Taras. I come bearing the litterae clausae issued me from this noble governing body, appointing me a member of the Senate, effective immediately, and granting myself and the male members of my family Roman citizenship as reward for my family's aid to Roma during the siege of my home. As you undoubtedly remember, your - ahem, our - spy received refuge during his reconnoitering of the city in my Father's house and was given cover as a laborer that he might travel unmolested throughout the lanes and plazas to discern the defenses. We of the gens Clavdia have a history of always aiding others who are in need, and rightly so, are remembered fondly wherever we have lived.

"I come to claim my rightful seat as a representative of Taras and its surrounding lands and vast, bountiful seas. We in the south have much to offer as a trade gateway to the Greek cities, the whole of Italia, even to our friends across the great sea on Sicilia and in Africa. We are honored to join Roma in her rightful rise to power and glory. Indeed, there is no better friend, and - as the people of my homeland learned - no worse enemy.

"Fellow Senatores, I have travelled two long months with nary a rest to reach my new home. As is customary amongst your - forgive me, our - people, I shall offer my services to our military. I pray that I can be used in such a manner that is best suited to my strengths. Gentlemen, the hour is late and the lodging prepared for me is across the city, as I am told. I bid your leave, good Senatores. Roma victrix!"

Smiling smugly to himself, Tiberivs turned about and marched confidently out the chamber doors. On his way past the clerk whom he insulted he maintained a stoic face, with his chin and nose held slightly higher than normal. Unnoticed perhaps by all but the still-confused clerk, his eyes checked to make sure he had the clerk's attention and Tiberivs Claudivs made an all but imperceptible grunt of annoyed supremacy.

Author:  Tiberius Claudius [ Sat May 22, 2010 9:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Roma Victrix - a Pyrrhic Victory


His footsteps echoed against the marble walls of the long hall, each step resounding like the chittering of a thousand insects as the hobnails in his caligae clapped the cold stone. He rounded a corner and had to squint as the light from a bracketed torch momentarily blinded him. Thick curls of oily black smoke rose lazily from the orange flame and dyed the once white marble a sickening black - a black the likes of Hades, from which no soul ever returned.

The page continued towards his destination, oblivious of the guards occasionally stationed throughout the maze of cooridors. With each step, his thoughts echoed in his mind. He fumbled for the right words to deliver the message which he bore and offered up a quick prayer, "Mercury guide me." The clammor from the Cvria was deafening and could be heard well down the hall from the main entrance. The page couldn't make out what was being said, but he had no trouble telling that it was a heated debate. Perhaps no one would be listening and hear his troubled words.

He stepped to the entrance and the guards threw open the large bronze doors when they saw the palma designating his function within the Legion on his cingulum. The roar of voices was deafening and then a wave of nauseatingly hot, stuffy air slammed into him as if the arguments themselves sought to ensnare him. Everywhere he looked men shouted back and forth, some to the man next to them, others across the beautiful mosaic floor; each attempting to make his voice heard as to why his reasons were sound and his opponent's were not. It was complete chaos.

A clerk standing just to the inside of the door looked hastily over the new arrival and sighed inwardly. He grasped the page by his wrist and walked forward three steps to the outer edge of the speaking floor. In the loudest voice he could muster without yelling he bellowed,

"Patres Conscripti: A messenger from the Legion!"

With that, the clerk smartly turned around, smirked at the young man and stepped back to his post. Decimus Hostilius groaned as he figeted opening the parchment.

"Good Senatores of Roma," he began. Barely anyone turned an ear, so he cleared his voice and began again, this time more loudly.

"Good Senatores of Roma, it is indeed a most tragic day for the entire Res Pvblica. Our great Consvl, Qvaestor Cornelivs Scipio Asina, has fallen at the walls of Segesta. The battle was a rigorous and bloody victory. Our legions attacked both sides and on Consvl Cornelivs' flank he was mortally wounded whilst personally cutting the throat of the barbarian king, Comsalvarius. Legatus Caivs Avrelivs Cotta Image dragged his fallen commander from the field, under the protection of the Eqvites Consvlares.

Our chirugeons did all they could, but the Consvl's wounds were too severe. The victory was completed, though the joy of which was lessened severely. A great vengeance was extracted upon the inhabitants of the walled town."

The great hall was eerily silent. What before had been heated debate on the future of the Res Pvblica now seemed irrelevant and petty. Some men hung their heads, a few looked around to see the reaction of others, some men wept openly. It was as if Ivpiter himself had fallen in battle with the Titans. Decimus Hostilius was unsure of how next to proceed so he remained standing where he was. It was then that the silence was broken by a young man who stood to address the Senate, Tribvnvs Caivs Aemilivs Mamercvs. Image

"Surely this is both a day of joy and sorrow for the Red Pvblica. While our ever victorious legions have once again defeated the barbarians in the north and expanded our borders, Consvl Asina, the leader of our legions, has fallen in glorious battle. The gens Aemilia offers it sincerest condolences to his family."

There were muffled murmurs of agreement as the shock continued to reverberate throughout the legislative body. The young Tribvnvs took his seat. Across the way, the young senator from Taras paled when he heard the news of the sudden and violent death. Surely the end could not be so abrupt - and random? This man was a hero of Roma, surrounded by thousands of trained killers. Surely they should have protected him. Perhaps he failed to heed the auspices or had wronged the gods in some way. Yes, that must be why such a great man existed only in memory now. But......if such a fate could befall this great general, then surely it could befall anyone......even.......

Tiberivs Clavdivs Marcellvs stood up and spoke meekly at first, trying to find a voice and words to match that would fill the akward silence left by the grievous news and the cavernous hall. Several of the senatores glanced over to appraise what was to be said.

"Senatores, all Rome and her various peoples feel this great loss. Verily, Lativm has lost its finest son and brightest star. Though I cannot yet propose legislation while in session, I do suggest we honor Consvl Asina's memory by levying extra taxes from the people who have committed this atrocity and additionally by denying them full equity within the Res Pvblica for a time of Ten years, afterwhich their debt shall have been forgiven. Let us also use the tribute of this new land to finance games for the people and a Triumphus for Consvl Cornelivs' legion who has been bloodied and away from home for several years. And lest we forget the noble actions of his Second, a Corona Civica for the valiant Legatvs Caivs Avrelivs!

"By doing so, we set an example to enemy nations that the might of Roma is not to be denied. It is better to surrender to us without contest, lest we extract the price of our labor from their very homes, fields, and commerce. Yet, we may also win the hearts of the timid amongst our foes by showing the people of Segesta clemency once their debt has been repaid. In this way we may convince the Barbaroi that there is no better friend, and no worse enemy than Roma."

Tiberivs finished his brief speech in a strong and confident tone, one suggesting to the cleverly tuned ears of the senior politicians that this man had the heart, if not the experience, to lead the way in times of trouble. Yet no sooner had he finished speaking then other senatores stepped forth to offer their plans of action, quick to not be left behind in the wake of such tumultus news and power vacuum. Over the course of several hours, it was as if news of the Qvaestor's death had not been delivered at all. The politician in each of these noble Romani had resurfaced, each vying for a piece here and a piece there. Divisions were ripping apart the Cvria and it was time to take sides.

Author:  Tiberius Claudius [ Sat May 22, 2010 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Politics as Usual


The doors to the Cvria were opened, but the Senatores chatting away before the morning's business did not initially notice the figure walking into the Senate hall. The clacking of his caligae on the marble floor echoed throughout the cavernous hall, and the chatting turned to whispers as the legislators turned to catch a glimpse of the new arrival. The man was a soldier, wearing clean military dress and carrying a helmet adorned with a feathery parade plume. His face gave nothing away as his fierce, yet reserved gaze swept the benches. As he reached the center of the speaking floor, all talking in the room stopped and the clerk announced his arrival,

"Legatvs Caivs Avrelivs Cotta, of Legio II Lativm!"

"Good morning, gentlemen. How fares today's discussions?"

A portly senator stood, a look of anger upon his face,

"Ah Legatvs, nice of you to join us at last. We were just mourning our dead Consvl, if you hadn't noticed during your relaxing day!"

Caivs Avrelivs looked at him with a kind of detached weariness,

"Horativs Decimvs, as I know you are well aware, I was there when the Consvl was killed, thank you very much. I dragged his bleeding body from the battlefield myself. I have said all I wish to say to him, to his family and to his clients. Mourned I have - believe me not at the cost of your own respect. A fine man, a great man, has died, leaving our Res Pvblica once more weaker than it should be.

"But gentlemen, we gain nothing from mourning. Further action, retaliation, and less dileberation is what we require at this time. Senatores, I do not dishonour the memory of the man that was, when I say we must for now forget about when he was alive, and we must ourselves live up to the fact that he is dead and that is that. Our Res Pvblica stands daily on the brink of destruction. One decisive move by any single one of our innumerbale enemies, and we are crushed. Consvl Cnaevs Cornelivs, had one of us died in his stead, would unlikely have sat around wishing we were still alive until something so drastic forced him from his slumber. I have returned to Roma to make sure this does not happen.

"Segesta is captured, but Liguria as a whole is not. It will require many more battles, a constant show of force and the occupation of the country for several upwards of a year before we can even think about leaving them be. In my absense and with the Qvaestor's recent death, the legions have been left in temporary command of the highest ranking Tribvni, my second-in-command - Pvblivs Atilivs Regvlvs. I trust his judgement and command ability. Be in no doubt that our recent exploits to the north have improved our position not only in Italia, but in the Mediterranean. We are, and should remain, a force to be reckoned with. However, we are still new to the board game. We face invasion from every corner. The Macedonian Greeks and their barbarous Epirote cousins, ever hungry for conquest, still lie in their mountainous homeland. I admit, they fight constantly amongst themselves with no single party gaining the upper hand, but invasion from Greece has occured before; it can happen again.

"To the south lies Sicilia, the home of evil tyrants and ambitious empires: Syracusa and Carthago. Neither would weep at Roma's fall. We called an alliance with the son's of Dido over the Molosson threat. That threat is extinquished; how long can the pact last?

"And to the north the Gavls watch and wait like patient wolves eyeing a flock of lambs. Though we have expanded north we have no northern border. The Celtic hordes have many a time before swept down the spine of Italia, burning and pillaging whatever pleased them. It could reoccur at any time. We must establish our authority! With exhausted armies and depleted strength, a complete conquest up to the Cisalpine Gavl is, for the moment, unrealistic. However, the wide banks of the Po River offer a stong natural barrier against the blond giants. Let us guard this border, lest we again face another invasion.

"Senatores, the time for mourning is over. There is much to discuss. Legio I Apvlia lacks a commander. My two Tribvni are ready to face the trials necessary to earn the rank of Legatvs. We lack a second Consvl. All must be addressed, and quickly. I leave it in your hands, gentlemen, as I must return to outfit our forces in the north until it is so decided how best to fill the ranks."

The soft murmur of consensus began to fill the air as men spoke in hushed voices. Once again, however, what started as a unanimous movement with concern for what was best for the Res Pvblica began to be twisted by the wanton desires that creep into the hearts of men when opportunities for power and advancement arise. Nominations to fill the leadership positions within the legions were cast about without regard to the merits of the men so named, so long as a political favor was to be curried by doing so.

While most thought it his right due to his promotion to the rank of Legatvs after the capture of Bononia and his pre-existing standing as the second-in-command of the Legio I Apvlia, it was only by the narrowest of margins that Pvblivs Atilivs Regvlvs was named as the full commander with Manivs Clavdivs Cicero Imageand Sextvs Cornelivs Sulla Imageas his Tribvni.

By the end of the session, the legislators could not bring themselves to create a third legion to augment defense of the newly acquired territories. In order to appease a strong minority who wished it so, the Aemelii twins Image and Image were promoted to Legatvs but forced to remain within the structure of Legio II Lativm.

When the final vote occurred, Senator Tiberivs Clavdivs Marcellvs had not been present. As he emerged from one of the alcoves designated for the keeping of the Senatorial library, arms piled with several scrolls and a small book, he placed them down at a desk. A housekeeper of the Cvria scurried forward with a burning wick to ignite the lamps where the Senator would be reviewing the legal documents.

Curosry glances of the scrolls reveaeld nothing of interest. He knew they wouldn't but one could never be too careful when searching for information. Father had taught him that often enough the most important of things could be hidden in the most obscure or unassuming of places. More than once father had been right. This time, however, the scrolls being examined contained only supply lists for the Legions that until recently had been "liberating" provinces and towns for the Res Pvblica. A laundry list of everything from barrels of water to bushels of grain to ingots of iron for the blacksmiths. The sheer magnitude of supplies needed boggled the mind. It was inconceivable that so many people could be coordinated to supply these items from all over Italia and be convinced to sell them to the military. Yet, Segesta was the lastest testament that supply these items they did, and according to the records at quite the profit too.

Tiberivs pushed the scrolls aside and motioned to a clerk that they were ready to be replaced in the alcoves. The elderly man silently glided up and caressed each scroll as he would a newborn babe. These parchments were this man's life. Tiberius reminded himself to show respect for them. Opening the small book he had almost overlooked on the shelves, Tiberivs flipped through the pages until he came to the current accounting of Tribvni being accepted to the new legions. Passed up again!

Tiberivs was livid. How dare they pass him up for men of lesser age and standing. While his own standing was still that of Plebeivs, he was moving up in the world - or at least trying too. Then the wave of realization suddenly hit, overwhelming Tiberivs to the point of near regurgitation: The Romani were plotting against him because of his Hellenic upbringing. They wouldn't even consider him for a post unless it was in some backwater province keeping the rocks and the fields in line. They did not trust him.

Calming himself, Tiberivs gently closed the book and walked to the alcove to place it back on the shelves. The custodian wrung his hands and figeted nervously, too wary to ask the Senator to allow him to do it himself; but unwilling to trust someone else to handle his charges alone. Tiberivs smiled at the elderly man and walked out of the chambers. These Romaoi would learn that Tribvnvs Tiberivs Clavdivs Marcellvs was no man to dangle a carrot in front of and then refuse to let him have even a nibble. No sooner than was the senator out of sight then the arthritic custodian of the Cvria quickly glided into the alcove making slight adjustments here, and a finger swipe at the dust there. Senators were such clumsy folk. They had no attention to detail.

Author:  Tiberius Claudius [ Sat May 22, 2010 3:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Bona Fortuna


Almost a year in Roma and still no word on a military assignment. Just as well, perhaps, it's not like life in the military was a truly desirable career anyway, just a means to an end. True, it was a necessary evil though, to ensure the safety of the Res Pvblica and the enforcement of the will of the Senate, and it did offer those dirty commoners who had no skills the chance to avoid a life of begging - or worse - on the streets; but it was so violent, so physically demanding! If only these Romaoi weren't so violent and hell-bent on taking over the world.

Tiberivs Clavdivs Marcellvs let out a sigh as he held his arms out for Marcvs to tie the last fasteners of his clothing. The baths were usually such a refreshing place; but lately, they were absent of their soothing effect. Roma was much different than Taras. True, Tiberivs' family were Romani .... in name at least, but he didn't fit in here. Tiberivs' great-grandfather had moved his branch of the gens Clavdia family tree southward to Taras to avoid Roma's warring with the other tribes of Italia. There they took up life as merchants and set about learning the ways of their Hellenic home. In Taras, Tiberivs was known and well-liked, or so he thought at least. The upper middle class with whom he always associated treated him as an equal. Here in Roma, however, he was a junior Senator from a newly "liberated" province and he couldn't even get assigned to muck stables let alone command in a Legion - something these Latins all but fawned and doted over. To sit on a horse and tell men to "go forth and kill lots of them before they kill you" didn't leave quite the impression on Tiberivs as it did his fellow Romani. Just one of the differences between life as a Hellene or a Roman.

"What bothers you, sire?", asked Marcvs.

"Marcvs, I'm afraid that I shall never be given the opportunity to rise here in Roma. I've yet to be even considered for command in a Legion despite the death of the Qvaestor and that I come with the aid of a commander whose lifetime of experience would be invaluable to me. My quarters are so much smaller than back in Taras - and so far away from the Cvria as well! It is insufferable that I, Tiberivs Claudivs Marcellvs - a member of the Senate! - be made to travel such distances for work and for sustenance. And what a mighty member indeed! They mock and ridicule my suggestions in the open! Marcvs, I fear that Roma has little to offer me."

Marcvs mulled over what his master had confided to him as they both walked through the Forum and markets. Suddenly, an idea came to him.

"Sire, when I commanded my first company back in Taras, oh, almost 20 years ago now, I learned that to keep the morale of my men up I needed to keep them busy. Sitting around without a goal to work towards breeds ennui and disdain for one's surroundings. My men needed direction not only on the field, but off.

"I remembered the lessons I learned when I first enlisted: 'do not make work for the sake of work'. Now, that may seem contradictory to my original statement that soldiers - and senators - need to keep busy; but I assure you that nothing will bring morale down faster than pointless effort and wasted sweat going towards a task whose purpose does not matter. My first company commander was fond of making us dig latrine ditches most of the afternoon every other day because he believed we needed to keep our minds off of sitting around waiting for an enemy to rear its head. When I became company commander I vowed never to toil pointlessly; but with purpose!"

Tiberivs, half-listening as always, rolled his eyes as he handed a shopkeeper a bronze coin for two apples. The shopkeeper started to hand Tiberivs back the proper copper change; but he shook his head and withdrew his hand.

"You've a greater need than I. Save what you can and one day you can better your position."

The shopkeeper thanked Tiberivs profusely and offered to donate the extra money to the shrine of Ceres. 'What a foolish simpleton,' thought Tiberivs. 'That is why he is a shop keeper and I am a Senator. He can't even follow simple advice.' Tiberivs handed the second apple to Marcvs who appreciatively took the fruit and bit into it. It was refreshingly tart and juicy. Both men walked through the milling throngs in silence while they chewed.

"Marcvs, continue with what you were saying."

"Of course, sire. When I took command of my company I made sure that whatever tasks my troops did to keep busy were relevant to either their jobs, their health, or their morale. Whether we were digging latrine ditches, drilling into the night, or inviting their families for a communal meal and fire, there was always a purpose behind the task."

Losing interest, Tiberivs interrupted, "And I should invite the Senatores and their houses to my quarters for a feast and orgy?"

Marcvs coughed on some of the juice of the apple that went down the wrong way. This young man was insolent and impatient to the core. Irritated, he replied, "No, sire. What I do suggest is that you do need to keep busy to keep your mind off of your boredom and lack of appointment to the Legions. Rather than sulk at your current state of affairs, keep busy at trying to better them yourself. If the Legati won't send word to you, send word to them. If the Senatores are less-than-impressed with your status and so ignore your speeches, then, as you told the shopkeeper, better your station. You are quite capable, master, to challenge the Fates and wrest control of your own stars. 'Carpe diem,' as the Romani say."

Tiberivs thought over all that Marcvs had said. It made sense. Tiberivs' own ancestors went and made their own fortune, why shouldn't he? Marcvs had proved yet again his value. But how to increase his personal standing amongst men of power and influence and wealth? They had everything that Tiberivs did not, where to begin?

It was then that Tiberivs noticed a rather awkwardly dressed man about his same age haggling with a fish monger over the price of the day's catch. On closer appraisal, it appeared rather that they were arguing over the system of scales used. Intriguing, not many commoners knew how the different guilds measured what they sold against how much they sold it for. This man, however, appeared quite knowledgeable - enough so to risk causing a public scene. Tiberivs couldn't help but intervene.

"Gentlemen, what is the commotion about?"

Before the fish monger could speak, the man dressed in a tunica that was two sizes too large offered his side of the story,

"Sir, this man is using rigged weights in his scales. I saw that his medium weight on the produce side is the same as the heavy weight on the currency side. He is cheating me and others."

Tiberivs plucked up the questionable weights from the scales as the hairy-armed fish monger started to contest the customer's accusations. Fear registered on his face when he realized that Tiberivs had caught on to his scam. He began to stammer excuse after excuse while sweat poured from his forehead. Tiberivs silenced him with his index finger raised in front of his face.

"You, sir, are a scandalous viper. Your corrupt business takes bread from the mouths of families who toil from sun up to sun down. Marcvs, round up the nearest patrol and have this man arrested on my authority as a Senator."

Marcvs came to attention, gave a quick salute of his fist to his heart and trotted off around a corner to find the nearest patrol.

"Sir," Tiberivs said to the wronged man, "you are quite observant and knowledgeable of weights and measures, the law, and currency. You are an asset to your master's house."

"I am Quintvs Valerivs, freeman," said the man in the large tunica. "I saved enough of my wages as a servant to Gnaevs Decimvs Brvtvs Hortensio to purchase my freedom. While I worked for him I was his chief steward. I am an asset to myself, now."

'Gods be praised!' thought Tiberivs. Just minutes ago he was sulking over how to better his position in life, when lo and behold a second capable man comes within reach to aid his rise to power. Surely this opportunity could not be passed up.

"Qvintvs Valerivs, freeman: I am Tribunvs Tiberivs Claudivs Marcellvs, Sentaor of the Res Pvblica Romani, representative of Tarentvm. I am in need of services such as the ones you provided to your former master. What say you to becoming part of my house as a freeman clerk, earning your keep and well as some clothing that fits?"

Qvintvs replied, "Most honored Senator, I've no obligations to others and your house would provide better for me than the brick maker I serve now. Allow me to settle my affairs with him and I shall accept your position this evening."

Tiberivs smiled, Nike be praised! "Qvintvs Valerivs, I shall meet you at my quarters an hour before sundown with your possessions. If you do not know the way, the clerk at the Cvria shall give you instructions."

The Fates were conspiring in Tiberivs' favor......for now. But for how long?

Author:  Siggard [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

its less embarrasing to **** yourself than to wear roman armor to a belegarth event

Author:  Caleidah [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Siggard Mordus wrote:
its less embarrasing to **** yourself than to wear roman armor to a belegarth event

Number one: You don't even know what that's from.
Number two: He put a lot of time into developing character background. You don't see people * all over your half developed and poorly typed background.

Author:  Hash [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Don't deny his dream of necroing every thread in the Role-play forum

Author:  Siggard [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

caleidah, i dont know how to put who it's from >:( !!!! and for insulting my background story, :finger: you! and 2nd of all, this is a Medievalcombat society...not a pre dark ages roman **** society!!! :axed: to retards who create roman characters in medieval combat societies!!!

Author:  Siggard [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

yet again...he has made a quite LARGE amount of time designing this story and did one hell of a job at it :)

Author:  Caleidah [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Siggard Mordus wrote:
caleidah, i dont know how to put who it's from >:( !!!! and for insulting my background story, :finger: you! and 2nd of all, this is a Medievalcombat society...not a pre dark ages roman **** society!!! :axed: to retards who create roman characters in medieval combat societies!!!

Yeah, and **** all those retards who make fantasy characters in what is obviously meant to be a very serious medieval recreationist group.

Get over yourself, kid.

Author:  Siggard [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

last time i checked, Belegarth is loosely based! :eek: :finger:

Author:  Derian [ Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Siggard Mordus wrote:
this is a Medievalcombat society...not a pre dark ages roman **** society!!! :axed: to retards who create roman characters in medieval combat societies!!!

Siggard Mordus wrote:
last time i checked, Belegarth is loosely based! :eek: :finger:

Seriously though, you should probably chill out for your own sake.

Author:  No'Vak [ Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Siggard Mordus wrote:
its less embarrasing to **** yourself than to wear roman armor to a belegarth event

Obvious troll is obvious.

You're a bigger douche than toolius because you don't even understand why that happened.

Author:  Siggard [ Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

hey guys look...i have calmed down alot since posting last time and i'm sorry for the rude comments

Author:  Tiberius Claudius [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Dude, I just found this.

I hope to see you at an event this upcoming season Siggy. If I can't make it out to War of the Ring, hopefully you can come to the War of Reckoning in St. George, UT.

Author:  Siggard [ Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

sounds good, see you there, along with the rest of andor

Author:  Tiberius Claudius [ Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All roads lead to Roma

Awesome, the more the merrier. We're looking to really make our event a large SW US, winter shindig.

I'll just have business with you though.

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