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673 Ab Urbe Condita (81 BCE)

In the annals of this most illustrious city, never before has there been a calamity of such momentous significance. Rome, ever fated to light her flame across Mare Nostrum, our sea, has been abandoned by her gods. I have been afraid, O brave reader, from the start of this civil strife, lest the surreptitious desires of man overcome virtue and reason. But man is such a frail thing and Rome’s light flickers. For what can good do against the trappings of power? Thousands of our countrymen lay dead, their lives forfeited to the game of power between the two tyrants, Marius and Sulla. The blood of Italia has been spent, her noble sons now lying in fields at home and afar, at the leisure of the carrion birds. We have surely angered the Lares, and most embittered Nemesis, who has now taken her retribution on these most arrogant of Romans. Where such lawlessness lies, corruption has taken root, with greed as its seed. Gone are the days of Cincinnatus and Lucius Junius Brutus, where one’s civic duty came before one’s own needs. Our time is one of the absence of all that is virtuous and good in this world, replaced only by ambition, lust, and the immorality found in carnal pleasures. Nay, Aeneas’ lineage has failed and the children of the Wolf fall now. The portents were clear; two crows pecked at the other’s eyes, and blood streamed from the statue of Minerva on the Capitoline Hill. And as He, the most vile defiler, sauntered up the steps of the temple of Bellona, we could hear the cries of the Marian soldiers, guilty of no crime other than being on the wrong side, as they were sent to the afterlife. However, Charon, that most feared ferryman, would not grant reprise to the children of the Tiber. The sky grew dark and the air shook and was shattered with cacophonous discord as Jupiter bellowed with rage from the heavens. With Vulcan, he sent torrential storms and lightning, which struck the roofs of many buildings, including the Curia Hostilia, the Senate House, which promptly burst into flame despite the rain. Fire rained from the sky as projectiles plummeted down upon the city, demolishing many of Rome’s buildings. Animals cried with sorrowful whinnies and in the ground fissures opened up, Terra Mater claiming those which had the misfortune of being in Neptune’s path. We, the descendants of Romulus, have failed our ancestor and saw all his work brought to ruin. Our Republic has come to an end. Those that survived as did I now depart from this broken land, in search of a new beginning. We sail with the same hopes that our Trojan ancestors once carried; perhaps one day there will be a new Rome, her light resplendent across the Mediterranean. To you who might find this, a last testament of what has transpired, the choice remains yours alone. Will you join us in redeeming our honour in the eyes of the gods and restore our Republic? Or will you fail to let bygones pass and end the odyssey of the Roman people throughout the annals of time?

C. Fabius

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