Friday, 5 June 2015


In the streaming clouds a distant lone black dot is approaching. Nearing, enlarging, soaring; the most powerful of all birds dominates the heavens alone. To Rome, the majestic eagle was the appropriate emblem of dominion. Above Londonium, a city conquered and Romanized with an adapted ancient Celtic name, the hovering eagle turns its head south; a dark plume of fiery smoke is ascending. On the ground a war carriage is enveloped in flames, horses are screaming to be freed from their harnesses, and Roman soldiers are fiercely engaged in retrieving their Commander caught within the flaming carriage amidst a raging battle. From beyond the hills, fiery arrows are hurtling. The soldiers pull and tug at their Commander's flaming body in a desperate bid to retrieve him, but the fire is overwhelming and all retreat the raging furnace.
Then one soldier throws himself into the flames, into the carriage cavity, his body igniting instantaneously, yet he manages to throw off his Commander from the burning carriage. A trembling charred hand from the flames reaches out to his Commander, whose life he saved by forfeiting his own.

"Promise me, swear by Rome you will protect my son, my only son. Pledge to me by sacred Jupiteres…"

"You have my oath, Matarian." His Commander rests his right hand on his chest, eyes welling. "By sacred Jovis Diespiter, before our comrades I swear it - with my life will I protect your son. You Matarian, magnificent son of Rome - go in praise of Jupiteres."

The trembling hand wavers, succumbing to the fires. Commander Vespasian turns to his soldiers.

"Erase Londonium. Burn them all as they have our comrade. Heed not for age or sex of these savages."

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