The Eternal City

Grabbing at Power
how to take advatage of a screw up

tumblr_ni4f3eAj3d1tgckc1o1_500.jpg

The city was in flames and while the Necropolis was clam and oddly quizzical flames raged above. The worse offense and in need of the greatest attention was the fires at the granaries that provided the bread dole. Marcus Corbollo, Julia Commitor and other sprang into action securing their allies and cementing their position waiting for the winds to blow in a certain direction.

Yet, it would be the actions of the coterie that would gain attention. Ailith and Titus would seek control of the granary and minimalized the damage and quiet the rioting. Gaius and Linus would patrol and ensure those areas below the noble hills were secure and safe.
Dinius would converse and meet with those of the Julii and see what the lay of the land was. He discovered that a few legions were declaring their commanders Ceaser. As a neutral party he would work with the factions to toss the subtle support of the ancestors towards a unified candidate. In short order the coterie and worked behind the scenes and restore order and the empire had a new Emperor.

This young coterie found itself suddenly with significant prestige as kingmakers and their patronage protected them from direct opposition. Any attacks on them were quickly struck down by the wit of Dinius, the charisma of Linius, and the auguries of Titus. They were well noted as up and comers and there were already dark whisperings on how to slow their rise.

All According to plan

View
The Tragic Death of Commodus

Maxnew_lastfight_chargerfull.jpg

In the second year of Commodus reign there were disturbing rumors about how he was running the Empire. They surrounded that he had turned over much of the running of the Empire to the ministration of his freedman that he was also serving in sexual acts. This deviancy was an affront to all of we, propinqui of the Necropolis and called for Senux on how to proceed.

The coterie had it on good authority that Commodus’ sister was scheming to replace this disgraceful Emperor. Ancient tradition held that we were to leave the Emperor alone but all knew we danced and played at the Senate itself and sought to direct the grand city on its proper path. Titus was called in to perform an augury as Dinius argued that the Necropolis should do nothing and allow the fates to run its course. The augury sought that the days of Commodus were numbered and there was wisdom and the gods favor in the words of Dinius. With the gods so directing it was know to withdraw support and guidance and wait for the wheel of fate to play out.

It would be a mere few nights before Commodus seeking to challenge the accusations against his masculinity would compete in the games of the Flavian Amphitheater. He fought a good fight with a well-trained gladiator. The gladiator fought like a man possessed and filled with fury as he kept flinging himself at Commodus’ blade. In the end he fell but Commodus was wounded. All seemed well until the Emperor appeared fatigued. He sought to return to his palace and on his way would trip and impales himself on the wooden stakes nearby designed to keep animals away from the edges of the theater. He ascended in a mere few hours.

Commodus’ manservert was attacked and killed at much the same time and this action taken cast suspicion upon Commodu’s sister Crispiina. Other Generals were equally linked and servants confessed as suddenly a conspiracy against the Emperor emerged. Crispina was isolated on her ill as Generals and Senators sought to seize control as the city descended into civil war and chaos.

Who knows how long this would last if not the coterie actions in those nights

View
Victory, Patronage, and Plots

Upon presenting their report it was confirmed that they were not in fact facing the nemesis but will o’ wisps. A supernatural creature of the barbarian lands similar to Stryx only in their ability to possess corpses. They are quite powerful and feed off dead meat, fortunately they are week to fire and a massive burn campaign would drive them if not destroy them.

They returned to Rome having fulfilled a vital duty and were inducted under patronage and protection. The board was set as with Marcus Corbollo on one side and the coterie on the other. News arrived that the Emperor has passed on campaign and Commodus would be arriving in Triumph. Dinius and Linius consulted and saw opportunity in this.

A few years were spend laying the ground work. Aielith began to spin her webs deep in the tunnels. Dinius quietly observed affairs in the Senux while Linius would move between the soldiers and see where the fault lines were. Giaus spent time working the fields of his father’s lands. He worked on vineyards and began testing varietals. It was seen at the time to be the wistful musings of a naïve ancestor but it would prove to be a potent economics asset. The genius of the coterie was already in play.

In the second year of his reign, there were rumors and disgruntlement amongst the legions and guards of the Emperor. Commodus had not pressed the fight and expanded the borders enough all the while relying on his advisors. His sister if born a man would have been a natural successor to their father, if only fate had decreed otherwise. It is unknown who had the idea first, only that Dinius and Linius had come to the same conclusion, it was time to select a new Emperor, one indebted to the coterie.

kalends-of-february-1024.jpg

View
Escape from the Forest

Aielith and Titus remained still as the ghostly girl looked in their direction. She then wandered around the buildings. Once it seemed the coast was clear they returned to their companions. They moved to around and attempted to see if the girl was the only one, it was then that they saw a male who had glowing green eyes and a broken leg. They moved in closer to get a better look and the male was a corpse by the look of it and was also eating the innards of the corpses around.

Thinking that it was about time to report back the wind shifted around them. A screeching sound caused them to turn and now both male and female creatures with fangs bared came charging into the woods after them. Fearing the worst the coterie fled towards the safety of Vindobona. Some proved faster than others as Aielith found herself being flanked by the creatures.

Giaus turned to face the creatures and as he did so with a curse Linius pivoted to allow the others to get in front. Titus would run further ahead before realizing that the coterie had turned to engage a fighting withdrawal. Aielith growled at her pursuer who seemed stunned for a bit while the other dodged and weaved at Giaus. In the give and take of the battle the creatures seemed unaffected by the Legionaries attacks, as such they continued to move towards the fortifications of Vindobona.

As they left the woods and approached the banks of the river, things were looking dire for the Coterie. Then a trumpet blast echoed through the night as Dinius, who had ran on ahead, led a troop of cavalry that prepared to bear down on the unnatural creatures. Sensing the situation was against them the creatures fled into the woods and the coterie rescued retreated to the safety of the fort.

Commentary

Total-War-Rome-II-Battle-of-the-Teutoburg-Forest-Trailer_8.jpg

View
The Carnage of Battle

Arriving at Vindobona the coterie settles in. Aielith sought out the underground contacts connecting her tendrils from the front to her home base in Rome. Dinius sought out to make an appearance to the local Senux. Doing so they clearly bowed to this representative of Rome and provided a seat of honor for this member of the Julii. Meanwhile, Giaus and Linius sought out the commander of the Legio Mortuum in Vindobona. They met with Cornielia Bellator, a Primarch for the front and to the their surprise revealed that she commanded three legions, and had lost two out across the river.

She provide details that rumors of the nemesis existed and lent themselves to provide a fierce front and attempt to prevent them from coming into the Empire. Two legions had gone out with the armies of the Emperor, they were feasting from the dead of the mighty battle but were wiped out by an unknown presence. Tales of the dead walking and other odd cases contributed to their fears of the opponent. Having lost so much already they wanted the coterie to cross the river and gather clues as a smaller force to determine the nature and number of their enemy.

The coterie crossed the river however reluctantly. They found the major battle with the corpses of Roman soldiers and Barbarians littered on the fields. They found piles of ash and other clues indicating where the legionaries had fallen. Additionally, they found corpses had moved and upon closer examination had risen and slumped off to the north, deeper into the woods.

They carefully follow the trail with Titus and Aielith in front. They come up to a small village. They can smell the carnage, the villagers have been slaughtered much earlier. The eerie silence makes the coterie cautious. Titus and Aielith sneak closer to get a better look. Coming around a house they see a patch in the middle of the village. Is the middle there is a young woman survivor bent over the body of another dead body. Titus uses is unnatural sight to get a better look and realizes that the girl is eating the innards of the dead body. He stumbles back in horror, as this is beyond his experience. A twig snaps and the girls lifts her head and in the stillness of the night calls out, “Fratele Meu? Is that you?”. She looks in the direction of the Titus and Aielith and her eyes reflect an unnatural green in the night…

eyes.jpg

View
Matter of Horses

Milan.jpgThe Coterie left and headed north along the road. It was a largely uneventful trip on foot towards the next major city of Mediolanum. The only thing of note was a series of crucified criminals that had defied the Empire. Arriving into the city the coterie noted the presence of the Camarilla who aided in providing the information that they knew and any assistance that they could provide to the envoys of mighty Rome. It had been several nights so the coterie was rather hungry.

They had travelled by foot and at Mediolanum it was offered that they might purchase the use of horses to speed their effort at alleviating the scene at their final destination. Linius initially suggested that it would prove beneficial to ghoul the horses to augment them for their purposes. Giaus agreed that this would be quite useful. Aielith protested quite forcibly and that even if the others ghouled their horses she would not do her own and ultimately they would be forced to proceed at the pace of her all to normal horse. With much reluctance they acceded to her request.

They heard word that the legion they were seeking had been called to the scene of the front to pursue the nemesis. Little really information of the nemesis was forthcoming merely that they were ancient enemies to the Camarilla and the Julii specifically. A fearsome enemy that can take on many Propinqui at one time so necessitating the need for a full legion to deal with.
Such fearsome new led the to ride with full haste to their destination…

View
First Nights - Part 2
The Trial

The coterie was rounded up save Dinius who was afforded house arrest. In time they were brought before the body of the Senux, the Camarilla. There they were accused of crimes of misconduct, having disrupted the party to embarrass Marcus Corbollo. They were charged with having set loose the animals below and risking great expense.

Dinius would speak on behalf of the coterie, a daring move for one so young, but he had the right by virtue of his seat. He stood after Octavius gave a stirring speech with the evidence against them. Aielith had been seen in the lower regions of the Coliseum and had obviously set the animals loose. Linius and Gaius were had been disdainful of the gathering’s host and had obviously been league with Corbollo’s opponent Julia Commitor.

Maccari-Cicero.jpg
Dinius stood eloquently and used gestures of piercing logic. Firstly had he not personally been negotiating with Corbollo? True Linius and Giaus had been speaking with Commitor, but to do otherwise would have been disrespectful. And the coterie was not never disrespectful. Finally, Aielith had indeed been down below but she had seen that Corbollo’s right hand aide Caius Maltinus had himself let the animals out. It was his act of betrayal that had caused the embarrassment and not the action of an innocent disinterested coterie. If any had doubt, Titus would provide an augury to demonstrate the rightness of their case.

Titus stepped forward and they brought in a goat for sacrifice. Titus took his knife out and did read from the entrails. It was clear from all in attendance, even the head of the Cult of Augurs had to agree that the augury demonstrated that the coterie were in the gods favor. Immediate calls went out to Caius who was quickly tried and convicted. He was stripped of all rank and privileges, tossed to the Perigrine Collegia.

The coterie exonerated triumphantly retreated in the Necropolis. Word reached them that night that Pollia Enapia, an ancient in the Necropolis would treat with the coterie. They were escorted to the oldest sections of the Palatine Hill. Deep in the tunnels below they met with the ancient. They mustered their courage to face her as she supped from her childer.
She was impressed with their defense and as such knew that they had made a powerful enemy in Corbollo and his backers. Commitor had no interest in them and would not risk a direct confrontation with Corbollo. But Pollia had no such limitations and was approaching a time of sleep. She needed good hands to help her children manage their affairs.

However, she had to test their resourcefulness before the pact could be cemented.
Rumors had been heard from the front of Vindobona. A full legion of the Legio Mortuum had gone missing. IF a serious threat was posed to face off against the Propinqui they needed to find out soon. The coterie was to head out to the front and find out the details of the disappearance and return. The coterie having little alternatives accepted the commission.

The next night they packed and prepared to head north our of Rome…

View
First Nights - Part 1
The Invitation

hqdefault.jpgThe invitation was sent out during the fall of the 19th year of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The Emperor was on campaign in Vindobona against the Eastern Germanic tribes. As was custom, a Julli named Marcus Corbollo sought to have a massive fette. It was his emergence into a position of influence and power an opportunity for him to take on clients seeking a patron. The invitation was to come to the Flavian Amphitheater to watch grand entertainment.

The massive coliseum was arranged for a massive night display. There were animals galore and several slaves that would engage in combat. Corbollo promised that the climax of the evening festivities would be a re-enactment of Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps! He had invited many to attend, and there was a great showing of the Ancestors both powerful and small. The entire quarter of the amphitheater was filed with the spectators.

The coterie arrived and Aielith, not one for social gatherings, slinked off to explore the grounds. The rest entered the noble quarter of the stands and met Corbollo. He was a fat corpulent man who was gorging himself on food and blood. His hangers on all had the look of sycophants and lap dogs. They recited bad poetry. Yet they had the look of practicality about them and seemed to be made up of those with more mercantile interests.

Linus and Gaius were disgusted and had a difficult time hiding their displeasure in their hosts presence. At first opportunity they excused themselves and mingled with the others before spotting a clear rival faction to Corbollo’s corner. Dinius stayed along with Titus. Neither were particularly keen on Corbollo’s ‘interests’ but Dinius saw a Julli he could deal with and someone that likely he could gain influence over and flip the patron/client relationship. Dinius would be no one’s pawn. Titus was present to smooth negotiations and show how the gods favored Dinius.

Dinius and Gaius went over and were introduced to Julia Commitor. Here they found a more refined entourage who were disgusted at Corbollo’s flagrant bloody display of excess. If the two were expecting to find a kindred spirit regarding humanity, they were quickly dissuaded. Commitor’s faction clearly were into luxury and dominance of their lessor’s. Commitor would sip from a slave’s wrist and speak of vintage of the blood. Excusing themselves they went to take a look at the entertainment.

They did not appear to like their options and choice of patrons. It appeared the coterie would ally itself with Marcus Corbollo by default per the negotiations of Dinius. Yet at that particular moment a roar was heard as at the far end of the field, elephants, lions, lemurs, zebras, and other animals of all kinds came stampeding up from below. As many gladiators were still in the midst of the planned exercise the whole arena became consumed in chaos. An elephant charged at the spectators and the wall that Linus and Gaius stood shuttered. This was the cue to leave as Corbollo leapt to his feet and began shouting order to being things under control.

It took awhile but his men took down the animals and restored order to the Coliseum. Many slaves were dead on the ground in much blood and gore. Corbollo had regained control of the situation but his party was over, ended prematurely and the Coterie among others forced to retire for the evening. They contemplated their next move and how to proceed the night goal a complete bust.

The next evening the coterie was summarily arrested to stand trial…

View
The Coterie - Final
Aielith

Aielith. How the word just fills the mouth with bile. Spider. Thief. Worm. All these things she was called and more. And she earned every one of those epitaphs. She was the only one of the coteries that was not approached as part of Linus’ grand plan. Instead it was she who sought the coterie out. She was in need of protection and this young coterie had a need, a need only she could provide.

She hailed from Hiberia and rumor had it she once had a lovely head of red. All I knew of her was a bald and hairless thing that a sane man would never have trusted. Taken prisoner from Britania to Hibernia before eventually being dragged across Europa, or perhaps it was the other way round? It matters little, what is known is she was not Roman, dumbed in the gutters without family or connection. A bereft worm in our glorious city.

Yet she was a dutiful member of the Perigrine Collegia, that august body to ensure that all had a voice that all may bring grievance before the Camarilla and a just cause would gain redress. But it never hurts to have friends, and so Aielith sought the coterie out. And offer them her skills in information and secrets.

Aielith had many friends in many places across Rome. Many of them were small fries but she was determined to weave a web of contacts and allies in veritable nest of secrets. She’d be the coterie’s underhand and ferret out the things that the coterie would need to maintain an edge against their foes.

The coterie was fully formed and had been working together for a few years but had yet to make a move. It was imperative that they work out a patron, and fortune smiled upon them with an invitation to a party…

Commentary

View
The Coterie - Part 4
Titus

Where to begin with Titus? Once it was common that every business transaction, every important vote of the Senux, military campaign, and so on and so forth; was officiated by a member of the Cult of Augurs. It was only natural and right that each coterie have a Vaticinator to officiate and consult the will of the gods. It mattered little who your primary god of choice was, what was important was the ritual and grace granted by their wills.

Not unlike their live counterparts, many could be bribed and corruption rang rampant with the ‘good will’ up for the highest bidder. Yet, many still held true to the old ways. Many were not afraid to present news of bad omens and that things should be delayed or a different action taken. Even if the vision seen was different from the desired outcome it was hard not to admire those true in the faith.

One such true believer was Titus. A man of firm conviction is his primary belief in the order of Janus, the two headed god. Titus was clean shaven in the style of the early Empire and a more wiry man then the others of the coterie. Often contemplative he sought to lead the Cult of Augurs and preached that a Roman life was a godly life.

Dinius had been in need of a Vaticinator to oversee his business transactions. Knowing that a true believer blessing any dealings that he made, few would object to the outcome. Even better for Dinius they would see that a blessed dealing with Dinius was a blessed deal for them, that even in losing they were winning in the eyes and favors of the gods.

The coterie was now at four with two up and coming Legionaries, soldiers to defend and protect the coterie. Direct access to the Senux, and all its official actions. Now with Titus they had spiritual guidance to help direct the path. The only missing component was a means to gather and collect information.

For that the only one to seek Linus and his coterie out and not the other way around, came the spider….Aielith.

Commentary

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.