Jordan's Page of Useless Babble

Chapter 18: War

Lucius Mummius' armies had begun to move and the forces of the Achaean League, under the leadership of Diaeus rose to meet them in the fields of Corinth. The party moved quickly from one encounter to the next in a bold attempt to keep Greece from falling to the Roman hordes.

    First, the party rushed to save a unit of Icarus troops who were under attack from Roman archers, who took aim at the flying soldiers. During the battle, a flash of light caught the eyes of the heroes as they watched Pollux disappear whilst in the middle of attempting to deliver a punch into the face of a Roman.

    Other reports soon came in, indicating the loss of Apnea, who disappeared in a similar fashion. In order to keep some semblance of cohesion, the heroes ordered the merging of the now-leaderless Greek spellcasting legion with the Egyptian.

    A powerful sending from Husa-Dain summoned the heroes to assist him and Talos who were under siege from Roman harriers. While the heroes fought bravely and killed many of the horseback warriors, Talos was caught by a rope snare and fell to the ground. Husa-Dain was caught beneath the Bronze Man's massive weight and crushed to death, while slowly covered with Talos' leaking life-blood. The heroes said a prayer for their fallen comrade, but had to move on, returning to Diaeus' command post.

    As the heroes arrived, they watched their commander commit suicide, thrusting himself on his own sword in absolute despair. With Greek command beginning to unravel quickly, things began looking grim. It was then that a runner arrived carrying the message that an outsider, a heavily tattooed Spartan with chained daggers was attacking the Lucius Mummius directly.

    The heroes fought their way to through the melee to find Kratos, another old comrade, returned as he had promised, and putting the fight to Lucius Mummius, the Roman consul. Suddenly, in the middle of a strike, Kratos' daggers reversed themselves midstrike and buried themselves in the Spartan's head. As he fell, Kratos did not bleed, but rather faded into shadow, leaving no corpse.

    The heroes had no time to ponder this mystery as Finneas Proscutas appeared, leading a large group of soldiers. Sending them into battle, Finneas sought to delay the Greek attacks on Mummius. Once the heroes had killed the fat merchant's bodyguards, Finneas began to gloat. He explained that Mummius was never going to attack Greece, but rather offer them friendship to Rome in observance of their strength in the face of overwhelming odds. He further explained that it was he and Calish who convinced the Roman consul to attack anyway and start the war.

    In a rage, the heroes threw themselves at Finneas. Eonus launching arrow after arrow, Sirius swinging his mighty scindoa and Idalia bringing strong magic to bear, they attacked without quarter. Finneas, despite having no formal battle-training, was not without defense, as he had his effriti servant Calish imbue him with powerful magic that let him fend off the heroes' attacks during the epic battle. The heroes finally obtained the upper hand and killed Finneas, leaving his corpulent corpse to rot in the hot sun of the battlefield.

    As the heroes were about the advance on Mummius, a figure waved them down. It was Polybius, who was thought to have abandoned the cause of the League some months before, and with him, Damocritus, once the leader of the League but a fugitive due to Critolaus's accusations. Polybius explained that it was not Mummius that lead the armies of Rome, but rather a creature from beyond the edge of the world that Finneas and Calish had summoned to kill and replace the original Roman consul. He further explained that the creature, without Finneas to order him, would likely return to Rome and live out the rest of Mummius' 'life' in excess.

    The heroes began to protest what Polybius seemed to be suggesting but Damocritus pointed out the battlefield. Despite the heroes' best efforts, the battle was lost and the Romans were overwhelming the Greek forces, pushing them back into Corinth. A dying figure next to Damocritus coughed up blood and in a croaking voice explained that he believed Finneas would betray him and he had already sent notice to Rome of his intentions. The dying man was the true Mummius, and he further explained with his dying breath, that he regretted the war, and moreover, the outcome. Greece would become a Roman city state, but their strength would be echoed throughout the Empire. Greece would keep her identity, she would still be Greece.

    The heroes looked upon the Roman consul with newfound respect as his breath finally left him and the commander died, alone and forgotten by his own people. In the end, it had been their enemy who had been moved by their efforts and had given them what they desired most, freedom. Although Greece would become a city state, they would still be Greeks, not Romans. It was unprecedented.

    As the sun set, the heroes set off with Damocritus and Polybius. The poet explained that he was finished writing his Histories, which would detail the struggle between the Achaean League and the Roman Empire. The secrets that the heroes had discovered during their travels were yet too dangerous to be revealed, so he had written a second Histories which carefully omitted such details.

    Polybius desired to travel south, farther than the deserts of Egypt to a small village he had visited as a younger man. There he would give the True Histories to a friend before setting off to Hispania where he had some small holdings. With nowhere else to go, the heroes joined him and Damocritus as they set foot in the light of the setting sun.

    The End

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