The Betrayal of Marcellus
Marcellus Hadriana Felix darted his gaze behind as a figure danced past the shadows in the company of many men. Marcellus did not know how to hold his sword against over 6 trained soldiers so he dashed away as fast as he could.
Marcellus was Legatus Legionis of the Roman 3rd Legion. His battle prowess was impressive even by his status’ standards. But, he was no match against 6 powerful Persian commanders. He decided to find a way to trap them and escape to the city to tell the Ceasar they have been betrayed by a loyal Roman officer who was once his friend.
There was no time to waste. Every second his army grew more decimated. He must move quickly if he was to reach Rome in time to save his men. The betrayal was by none other than the Ceasar’s right hand man and confidant, Cicero of Carthage. His betrayal would no doubt surprise and dismay the Ceasar. He would need to be careful or risk his majesty killing him instead.
But, the Legatus Legionis was a trusted member of Ceasar Romulus’ inner circle and would at least hear him out before deciding to gut him like a pig like all the others. Legatus Legionis were some of the most feared commanders of their day. No doubt he may wait to listen because of his usefulness. It is definitely something to worry about, thought Marcellus.
The Ceasar was in his castle sipping Wine when a guard burst into his room with a look of terror.
“Sire, the Roman army was decimated! Marcellus betrayed the Ceasar … YOU!”
“Why that is impossible,” Balked Romulus, “He’s one of my most trusted soldiers and a close friend of mine … you must be mistaken.”
“I assure you not, Sire,” the no-name soldier handed him a note from Cicero.
Romulus read the document aloud, “Ahem … There has been a betrayal. Our soldiers are being dominated by Persian soldiers at the Tiber river. we need to mount a defense. Send as many soldiers as you can or they will take the Fort at Tiber. Sincerely, your friend, Cicero.”
“Hmmmm … send 2 legions. Capture Marcellus, I want to have a word with him.”
The Roman soldier left the room in a hurry leaving Romulus to his thoughts. It hadn’t occured to him Marcellus may be a traitor but considering the current events he was in Marcellus would have the most to gain from such a betrayal.
In fact, it was Marcellus that was the most likely to succeed him, not Cicero, if Romulus lost the war for Persia. Marcellus is the most capable military soldier and Romulus does not currently have any heirs to the throne. This leaves Marcellus in a prime position to overtake the thrown should he be betrayed and killed.
The Ceasar now worries for his life.
Cicero was in the middle of a bloody battle against a superior fighting force. The remnants of their forces were disbanded due to the orders of Marcellus. Cicero was infuriated to watch Marcellus scurry into the bushes like a coward. Cicero ordered a messenger to leave Ceasar Romulus with a note of The Betrayal of Marcellus.
It would be too difficult to explain how Marcellus has betrayed Ceasar Romulus in a note. So, he left out details until they meet directly. For the moment they need to consider defending their position. It is a vital objective if they want to push back the Persian forces from reaching the Roman capital city.
The Tiber river runs straight through Rome. If the Persians capture the Tiber river the war is much more difficult to win. They would need to recapture the river in order to push the Persian forces back. It can get very complicated if the Persians move into the wilderness surrounding the Tiber river. Capturing it then will be very difficult if they are in hiding surrounding it. At the current state of affairs it’s difficult to defend the Tiber river. They would need more men to even hold a counterattack, anyway.
Cicero hopes the messenger returns with good news from Ceasar Romulus.
Marcellus Reaches the Roman Capital City
After a good 3 days of running, camping, and hunting, Marcellus finally reaches the Capital City of Rome. He enters the gates and is immediately stormed by Roman guards who capture and imprison him.
“What’s with the force!?” Exclaims Marcellus. “I am here to inform Ceasar Romulus about a betrayal. Do you know who I am,” he seethed through clenched teeth. “I will have your head!”
“I’m sorry Sir, Ceasar’s orders …” said the Infantryman.
“Well tell Ceasar there has been a mistake!”
“No mistake, Sir,” The Infantryman handed the Ceasar a note from Cicero.
After reading the eyes of Marcellus grew wide with anger.
“That traitor! Did he tell you he ordered me into a trap and my soldiers were decimated? Ha! He leaves out grave information about the ordeal.”
“We will see, Sir. It’s not up to me, it’s up to the Ceasar.”
Ceasar Romulus and Marcellus
Marcellus and the Ceasar sit down for a drink over stewed chicken. The Ceasar is eyeing Marcellus with anticipation over how he is to defend himself from the accusations of betrayal considering the evidence is plain as day. It would be difficult to prove to the populace he is not guilty of betrayal.
Despite that, because of the close friendship the two have shared over the years, Romulus decides to hear out Marcellus’ side of the story.
“So, what is your side of the story, Marcellus? Why should I believe you?”
Marcellus spoke with care in his voice not to upset the most high figure in the land.
“I was leading the 3rd Legion as requested, My Lord, when we were attacked by a Persian force. We were doing well in our defense when Cicero found an enemy force attacking the Fort at Tiber River. I told him I was off to defend the Tiber River and Cicero agreed that was important. Obviously.
So, I left to defend the river as would normally be expected. When I turned to look at Cicero he was nowhere to be found. Our soldiers were decimated and dying. I had no choice but to escape into the forrest to explain the situation.
Apparently, Cicero abandoned his post for fear of dying.”
“You do realize if I find you lying you are to be beheaded, correct?” Asked Ceasar Romulus. “There is no tolerance for traitors here in Rome. Nor anywhere for that matter, my Friend. I will look into this matter for you …”
It was dark at this time. The night was still and quiet. A shadow appeared over the window in the back of the room. No soldier has seen or heard the figure. No one made a sound. Not even Marcellus.
The figure slowly approached Ceasar Romulus. Marcellus made not a sound. Ceasar Romulus turned around and Marcellus handed him a glass from the table.
“Here you are, didn’t you forget your wine?”
“Why thank you, I … arghhh …”
His screaming only lasted for a mere second and was unnoticed by the guards outside. The dark, shadowy figure stabbed Ceasar Romulus 5 times in the back.
When Ceasar Romulus was surely dead, the figure uncloaked himself and shook hands with Marcellus.
“Great job, Friend. The Kingdom is ours,” Said Cicero, his face smiliing with glee.