The 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…