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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Hello, AARland. My name is Issac Wolfe (if only had I double-checked when I was signing up), a new-ish member to this community. I have only written one AAR prior to this one --Blood, Order, and Kingdom-- but it fell apart after College was back in session. So, I hope that I can produce something for you to read and to enjoy. I thank all who read, and hope it was worth your time.

So, I would like to present...

DIVUS JULIUS
A Story of the Empire-That-Was



Gaius Julius Caesar Victrix Augustus Divus

Rome, for the past one hundred years, has been a desolate place. She has been full of violence and intrigue, racked by unemployment and abject poverty, and almost constant instability and civil war. Furthermore, not much attention was paid to its problems. As once tyrant would take the reigns of power, another was strike him down and fill the vacuum. It was a vicious cycle that was destroying the Roman World from the inside out. Rome had, or could, conquer all of its neighbors, but it could not conquer itself. It could not end the lunacy of hungry patricians looking to exploit the mob and accomplish a lengthy set if ridiculous goals. If stability could not be had, sooner of later, the city and her empire would collapse in on herself.

Where did this problem begin? Romans thank Gaius Marius, the seven term Consul, for that. Having raised illegal armies for illegal wars was what sent Rome into the downward spiral that it now rides. Armies became loyal to their commanders, and not the state, as originally they had been for centuries. They became tools of their generals, in which they turned them upon Rome for less-than-honest purposes. Sulla used them to oust Marius. Catiline raised an army to butcher the Senate, and Caesar crossed the Rubicon and marched straight to the Seven Hills, ousting Pompey and fellow optimates. “Private armies,” as they came to be known, had became a very unhealthy blight upon the failing Republic.

Coinciding with private armies were the patricians, sapping the life out of Rome, her empire, and her people. Squandering resources for one family took a meal off the table for another. Large conglomerates of land worked by slaves, or latifundia, siphoned jobs from the ones that truly needed them, which were generally run by senators and other senatorial officers. Aside of normal corruption and intrigue, Rome is no longer the shining light of civilization as one once believed. She is dark, damp, and not a place one would ideally live if given the choice. Exploitation and civil strife are the order of the day, and there is no apparent compromise between justice and criminality.

However, there is hope. With Gaius Julius Caesar’s senatorial proclamation to Dictator perpetuus, Rome has emerged as a changing city. Caesar increased the standard of living, employed thousands of citizens for public works, returned some power to the people, threw banquet after banquet, and even distributed solid currency amongst eligible citizens. The mob has, in return, given their love for Caesar -- having been several attempts to crown Caesar a Rex. Having graciously refused every time, the Senate gradually became more wary of Caesar’s power. He held massive influence over the city. Having once been loved by the people, but having no glories like Caesar’s multiple triumphs, naturally, a power struggle emerged that would, again, throw the Republic into anarchy…

Chapter One: The Ides of March
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Chapter Two: Consolidation
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Chapter Three: Thrace
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Chapter Four: Carpe Noctem
1

Extras
The World of 709 Ab Urbe Condita

Awards
WritAAR of the Week Award - November 15th, 2009
Awarded by Mr. Capiatlist of Homelands: Tales of the Anglo-Prussians

Honorary Senator of Assam - November 27th, 2009
Awarded by L Lawliet of An extremely Assam AAR

Weekly AAR Showcase - December 23rd, 2009
Awarded by Remble of The Setting Sun - Gotterdammerung, Japan 1944

Favourite Rome ARR - February 7th, 2010
Awarded in the 4th Round of the AARLands Chose AwAARds
 
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Chapter One, Part One

Chapter One: The Ides of March
Part One: The Dream

Midnight, March 14th, 709 Ab urbe condita

Rome

With his fasces-and-axes-bearing lictors, Caesar proceeded through the Forum and towards the Senate House. Raising his hand in salutation to passing citizens, and waving it to dismiss solemn petitioners, Caesar squinted at the structure to just get a glimpse of what was happening. Much to his dismay, the Senators were all very much annoyed. Sour expressions dotted the visages of his opponents, and relieved looks blanketed that of his proponents. Rightly so, in his opinion. He was late, to the point of ridiculousness. He had also not shown if it weren’t for his friend, Marcus Junius Brutus. After taking a gander at multiple sections of poisonous graffiti art, his friends asking him not to attend, and crazy, old wenches telling him to beware of this day – it was all too unsettling for Caesar, to the point of distraction.

Noticing Caesar’s discomfort, Brutus felt compelled to speak, “What is the matter, Caesar? Are you ill?”

Becoming slightly annoyed, Caesar looked to his friend, “A rough morning, as they have been as of late. Nothing to get excited over, Brutus,” Caesar replied in his usual, sly tone, trying to avoid such silliness. However, Brutus was undeterred.

“Perhaps we should turn back? You should not let the Senate take advantage of you when you under the weather. You never know what you will agree to. I can summon the litter-bearers if you wished it so,” Brutus insisted, Caesar only waved a hand of disapproval, as if to a lone petitioning soul.

“Lunacy! We are nearly at the steps. Is this how I defeated Pompey? With everyone surrendering to me at the first sign of trouble? Trust me, Brutus, I have dealt with much, much worse. Besides, perhaps the slightly increase in incline-grade will sooth my worries,” Caesar stated, sarcastically. Brutus only responded with a roll of his eyes.

Then, as Caesar turned to face one of his slaves, he noticed Brutus doing something strange. Nodding to Gaius Cassius Longinus, a newly-elected Praetor. Dismissing the thought almost immediately, Caesar gave orders for the rest of the afternoon to one of his slaves just as he arrived at the steps of the Senate House. Leaving his slaves behind, he ascended the steps to the top, stone landing with his lictors, which filed out in front of him to take positions inside of the chamber. As he strode to the door, he heard cries from a voice as familiar faces such as Publius Servilius Casca and Lucius Tillius Cimber seemingly swarmed him.

“Caesar! Stop!” the voice cried out again, but he couldn’t make out its origin.

Dismissing the voice like he dismissed Brutus, Caesar walked inside the Senate chamber. However, it wasn’t even a few minutes before the trouble started. In an instant, Caesar lie dead on the floor of the Senate – holding the remnant of his toga over his face as some type of mask. Blood was everywhere. It was a hideous site to behold. The Senate finally got its revenge.


It was well past Midnight, and Caesar was still up reading reports from his various senatorial spy networks around the city. Many people wanted him dead – to no one’s surprise. Many possible assailants were simply ignored know they had no backbone. Others could not be ignored and had to be dealt with immediately. However, to his dismay, the name Marcus Junius Brutus came appearing on the summation of the network’s intelligence. Shaking his head at such a notion, Brutus would surely never betray him. Yet, the doubt was still there. He had been at odds with his possible son since he was appointed dictator at the close of the Civil War.

Looking over to his wife, he saw her eyes moving rapidly and winces of horror and disgust. Prodding her, she awoke instantly. Opening her eyes as if it were pitch black and, she padded Caesar as if to check to make sure he was still there. Taken back, Caesar swiped her hands away and stared at her curiously – not sure to be scared or light-hearted.

“What are you doing Calpurnia? Whatever you were at, you clearly did not want to be there,” Caesar inquired, setting down the wax tablet to look at his wife. Changing positions, he lay on his side and gazed upon his fear-stricken Calpurnia, wondering what was going on in that head of hers.

“I had a horrible nightmare, Gaius,” Calpurnia gasped, still trying to gain control of herself, “You were walking with Brutus and your lictors. The next thing I know, you are laying in a pool of your own blood on the Senate floor! I wanted for it to end, but I just couldn’t wake up. To make it even worse, it was the Ides, just as the crazy old wench said last month!”



Calpurnia stressing her fears to Caesar. Caesar had been warned for weeks not to attend the convening of the Senate on the Ides of March. Though unconformable, Caesar remained undeterred.

Caesar quickly became uncomfortable. As Calpurnia mentioned, this was not the first time he had heard not to attend the Senate convention tomorrow. A wretched, old fortuneteller had told me not to attend. Antony told him not to go, and now is wife. With the culmination of the reports and the warnings, Caesar was indeed becoming fearful of this looming day. Was it really to end in his own demise? However, Caesar, even in the mist of his own death, could not help but produce a quip.

“All of this talk of abject assassination is making me sick. All anyone does is worry for my health. What am I supposed to do? Quit Rome? Certainly not, Calpurnia. There is much to still be done,” Caesar rolled off the tongue, unaware of his wife’s feelings. Calpurnia, shaking her head yes, began to summon tears to her pale, white eyes.

“There is always something to be done. I just don’t want it to kill you,” he scolded, to then turn over away from Caesar in hopes of returning to sleep. Rolling his eyes at his wife, he blew out the candle next to him and rolled over with his back turned to Calpurnia. What was a Man to do?
 
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Chapter One, Part Two

Chapter One: The Ides of March
Part Two: Interrogation

Afternoon, March 14th, 709 Ab urbe condita

Rome

“Summon my guard, you wretch!”

Antony stood up, pacing around the room. Having just commanded a slave to do as he required, his head was down and his arms behind his back. Displaying a visage stricken with thought. He could either act, which would be disobeying Caesar, or sit back and do what he was told to do; which was to do nothing at all. Knowledge was power, and opportunity was in the air. Frankly, Antony had the power to shape the future if he wanted. It was just how would he do it.

What is being spoke of was of Caesar’s spy summation. Antony, having his own confidants, knew where one of the names of the would-be-suspects was going to be. Publius Servilius Casca, one of Caesar’s biggest threats. Sadly, he had not joined his family when they openly supported Caesar and his exploits during this time of troubles. They had supported his invasion of Gaul, and his war against Pompey and the optimates. Why this boy turned was unknown to Caesar, and to Antony. However, if Antony could perhaps reach Casca alone, he could give some insight to his status as an enemy of Caesar’s regime. His guilt, or perhaps innocence, would be put on trial.



Mark Antony thinking of his next move. Though undoubtedly loyal to the Roman dictator, Antony and Caesar were moving apart ever since Caesar replaced him with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus as his Magister equitium.

Antony walked outside as his guard assembled. Gazing at the setting sun, he had to hurry before it became too dark. Antony was in as much danger as Caesar was – and the sight of him roaming the streets at night could provoke even the most dimwitted citizen who despised the dictatorship. The lictors, with unlit torches in one hand and fasces in the other, surrounded Antony in formation and prepared to depart. As Antony stepped off the stone platform of his house, they were in motion to catch Casca completely off guard.

****​

Casca relaxed in his chair. Sipping from a goblet of expensive wine, he straightened his toga and let loose a sigh to the Ages. His guests would be here any moment. Having planned a dinner party with some of Rome’s elite, including his trusted friends Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, he intended to wet his nerves before the Senate meeting tomorrow. Surrounding himself with expensive food, expensive wine, and expensive friends would naturally do the trick. Hearing a faint knock at the door, he grinned. The fun was about to begin.

Until his doorkeeper came to announce the visitor.

“Sir, Marcus Antonius is here to see you.”

Nearly spitting out another sip of wine, Casca immediately stood up, “ That whoremonger Antony naturally needs to come at the most inappropriate time. My guests will be here any minute! What will they do when they see him standing in my atrium? They will not tolerate this!” Casca lambasted to his slave, with the slave only nodding, awaiting his next order. With a gesture, the slave was dispatched to collect Antony, and bring their uninvited guest to him in the peristyle. Trying to cover his nerves with a gulp of wine, he wondered why Antony was here?

Seeing Antony, Casca sat down and gestured for Antony to take the seat opposite of him.

“So, friend of Caesar, what do I owe this unexpected visit to my home?” Casca rolled off the tongue, covering up the bead of sweat he wiped from his brow.

“Ah yes, I apologize for my rudeness, Casca. This was very prude of me to arrive at this hour. I am sure you have more pressing plans than to speak with me,” Antony said with a smug smile, “but I have important business to speak with you about.”

Producing a scroll from an attending slave behind him, he laid it out on the table in front of him. It was a list of names all very familiar to Casca. Not adverting his gaze, it was a list of people he was involved with in his political career. The only name not present was Brutus, by order of Caesar – as he was a close and good friend of the Dictator.

“Listed here are a collection of names Caesar deems unhealthy to his just rule over the Republic. I am tasked to investigate these names, and to factor out any suspicion. Naturally, we want to accuse no one that has done nothing harmful to the state. That is why I am here, Casca – to clear your good, patrician name,” Antony explained, much to the dismay of Casca, who had cleared his throat nervously after he uttered that last sentence.

“Well, surely, I have done nothing wrong to merit such an investigation such as this.” Casca spoke with more sweat dripping over his brow.

“Indeed, by do you plan on doing anything to harm the state?” Antony said, drilling fear into his host by the inflection of his voice. Casca could do nothing but take a sip of wine. When he said nothing, Antony leaned forward and raised his voice.

“Well?”

“Certainly not, and I am offended that you say so! Treachery is not a game that I play, Antony. You of all people should understand that,” Casca yelled, hoping to hide behind the veil that was his family’s support of Caesar.

“Very well then. Excuse me for the interruption. I hope I have not ruined your dinner party,” Antony smiled, and then nodded while snatching up the scroll and standing up. Casca was dumbstruck. How did he know he was having a party? However, as Antony turned to leave for the vestibule, Casca stood up, gripped by curiosity and the need to for clarity of this situation.

“Antony! When you said the state, did you mean Caesar?” Casca yelled across the peristyle to the tablinum. Turning around, Antony raised an eyebrow.

“No, I meant the Republic,” Antony clarified righteously. Before Casca could respond, Antony turned to leave. Feeling foolish and violated, Casca sat back down to take another sip of wine. Something didn’t feel right about all of this.

****​

Unbeknownst to either man, Marcus Junius Brutus stepped out from the shadow of Casca’s sidewall of his house. Having heard the conversation between the men, he walked swiftly to the street and knocked on the door.



Marcus Junius Brutus was once a close friend of Caesar, but grew distant, and then rebellious, as Caesar was bestowed more honors and more power over the Republic.

Sometimes, it paid to be early.

****​

That Night

“We have to abandon the idea! Antony knows! Caesar will surely follow!” Brutus warned. No one, other than Publius Servilius Casca, was taking heed.

“Quiet yourself, Brutus. It is no matter that will affect our plan. As long as we reach King Caesar first, Antony will remain irrelevant,” Cassius reassured the Liberatores, the present assembled group of senators, “Brutus, you are taking Antony too seriously. Stay focused and Rome shall be free!”

“Antony may be prude, but he is no fool. He will tell Caesar, and Caesar will have us all killed! Does that matter to any of you fine gentlemen?”

“I am starting to get the notion that Brutus is going to withdraw himself from saving the Republic!” Lucius Tillius Cimber yelled. Cassius quickly gestured to him to quiet down.

“Don’t be foolish Cimber, Brutus is one of us. He is our guiding hand. It is in his blood,” Cassius reassured Cimber, who sat down, “Brutus, I am surprised that Antony even got out of bed this morning. When he is not drinking himself to oblivion, he is copulating with his cooks! To think that Antony will reach Caesar before we do is ridiculous.”

Brutus stayed back for the remainder of the party, to only be kept company by a constantly full goblet of water. Having no idea what to say or think - he only hoped that he was making the right choice. Which, his choice, would decide how people would remember him for millennia to come. As dusk turned to dark, Brutus excused himself from the party to return home. All of this talk of conspiracy was taxing, and not good for the bowels.
 
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Mr. Capiatlist

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Very nice opening we have thus far. Let us see where Cæsar will lead us.
 

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Very nice opening we have thus far. Let us see where Cæsar will lead us.
Why thank you. I think cheating death on Caesar's part will have a profound impact on Rome, let alone the rest of the world.

It is funny that you used the ligature, Æ. The Romans "invented" this letter only to save space on inscriptions in triumphal arches and other monuments.
 

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Chapter One, Part Three

Chapter One: The Ides of March
Part Three: Guilt

Morning, March 15th, 709 Ab urbe condita

Rome

“There is a man at the door, master. He says he knows you,” said one of Antony’s slaves rather plainly. Immediately alerted by the slave, Antony squirmed in his bed and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.

“What day is it?” Antony yawned, thrusting his arms up in the air in an over exaggerated stretch. Annoyance was the first emotion felt by Antony. Why his slaved defied his direct order to not wake him was beyond him.

“March fifteenth , master. Dawn just broke,” the slave responded, sensing his master’s feelings. Perhaps he should have told the visitor to come back in a few hours.

However, the mention of what day it was immediately sprung Antony to life. With his hangover near completely dissipated in mere seconds, he slapped the arse of his German cook next to him in bed. Rising, he grabbed a tunic and his belt as the slave proceeded out of the room. Before he could get away, Antony grabbed his arm and spoke sternly to his slave, worried on who it might be.

“Did he give a name? Tell me, did he give a name?”

“He said his name was Marcus of the Junii, sir, called Brutus,” the slave stuttered, cowering in fear from his over zealous and hyper aggressive master.

Stunned by who was awaiting him in his atrium, Antony quickly threw on his tunic, clasped his belt around his waist, and laced his sandals. Gesturing his slave to fetch Brutus, Antony ran to the nearest source of water, running it through his hair with much haste to wash it. As he walked from his bedroom, Antony found Brutus pacing in the tablinum with a glass of wine in his hand. As both men connected their gazes, each one stood in shock of each other’s presence. Stepping forward, Antony took a seat and offered one to Brutus. Clearing his throat, a slave brought a glass of wine to Antony. After taking a swig, Antony leaned forward to look Brutus in the eye.

“So, Brutus, what brings you to my home at such a ridiculous hour in the morning?” Antony groaned, showing his clear discontent for the man across from him. Brutus only flattened his tunic in awkwardness.

“Early? This is when the Senate usually starts its meetings, Antony. Is that why you are never there?” Brutus rebuked, but considered retracting his statement after Antony grunted in annoyance.

“If you came to insult me, you may leave. I have no time for petty argument,” Antony said with his aggressively sarcastic tone. Taken back, Brutus asserted himself in his chair and leaned over to meet Antony’s visage.

“No, Antony, that is not why I am here. I am here to warn you that Caesar is in danger,” Brutus stated calmly. Antony only raised an eyebrow at the notion. Rumors had been circulating for a while, and Antony was interested in what another person was going to add to this ludicrous fiction.

“If Caesar attends the convention of the Senate today, he will meet his end,” Brutus added. Intrigued, Antony peered into his conscious. Brutus was a suspect of being a possible enemy, regardless of his close relationship with the dictator. It gave his claim a flare of legitimacy.

“Is that so, Brutus? Then why did you not visit Caesar himself? I am sure he would open his ears for you on possibility of being assassinated,” Antony inquired, truly being confused on why he was here. Antony couldn’t reach Caesar in time if he had left already for the Forum.

“You know as well as I do that Caesar doesn’t trust me anymore. I am an enemy, in his eyes. It also doesn’t help that I carouse with his confirmed enemies, like Cassius. This is all based on speculation, but if Caesar hasn’t left yet, we can intercept him before he is murdered. I can also produce a list of senators that would be involved in ending his life, and if Caesar wishes it, they can be subsequently arrested,” Brutus blurted out in a hurry, hoping to bring about some action. However, Antony wasn’t taking the bait.

“We could catch him. I know he is worried about all of this talk of his demise. However, a whole list of the conspirators? Not even our most experienced spies can discern that,” Antony talked out his thoughts, knowing exactly what Brutus was going to say next. Feeling a wrathful fire burning at the back of his head, Antony gulped his wine to dull the anger. Letting out a heavy sigh, Brutus continued.

“I have been involved in a conspiracy to kill Caesar know as the Liberators. I have been involved with a dozen Senators plotting to usurp power and give it back to the Senate in an effort to free Rome from tyranny. We were planning on ending his life by luring him into a trap and having every participating conspirator stab him in a glorious and religious act before he would leave the city again on campaign,” Brutus said oh so grimly. It was entirely up to Antony on what to do next.



Brutus prepared for the Ides senate convention. Having been descended (possibly) from the man who threw out the Etruscan kings of Rome, also named Marcus Junius Brutus, it was expected that he be the one to reckon with "King Caesar" on the Senate floor. The Liberators claimed, and rightly so, that it was his duty because it was in his blood.

“Well, it is not everyday that guests come to my house admitting to treason,” Antony started off slowly, but then picked up his tone and busted out in a roar as he stood up, “but how dare you actively partake in something like this! Damn it, Brutus! Was it because I interrogated that idiot, Casca? This better be an act of guilt and not to save your own skin! Gods, I would kill you myself if I had the ability to do so!”

“Calm down Antony! Does it truly matter how I got the information? What is important is that we can save Caesar from certain doom and keep stability and peace in not just the city, but around the Republic!” Brutus yelled back, which took Antony by complete surprise as he also stood up,” I don’t care about the repercussions for my actions. Caesar was like a father to me; I couldn’t imagine ending his life. Frankly, we would only be replacing one questionable leader with a group of questionable leaders.”

Infuriated, Antony wanted badly to tackle the traitor and beat his face into the marble floor of his house, but he knew he could not do that. It was fair to say that Caesar was indeed questionable, and it was fair that conspiracies would arise against him – but shocking that one progressed this far in it’s planning and precision. Antony knew that he had to defer to Brutus’ judgment this one time. The Republic would surely crumble if a titanic figure such as Caesar were quickly dispatched. Caesar was like a vine to a building – having grown into the foundation of Rome.

“Brutus,” Antony slumped back into his chair, “we obviously need to follow the plan your friends invented to avoid suspicion. We can’t have them running out of the city. So, take it from the top. How is this going to unfold?”

Brutus could only produce a feint smile. Caesar would get to live another day, and so could he. Rome was saved, but only if they reached Caesar in time.
 
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Argh!! Why there?! This is like the commercial during the good part of a movie! Keep it up!
 

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To kill enough senators and start yet another civil war?
Didn't the sons of Pompeius still wage the war at this point?
 

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To kill enough senators and start yet another civil war?
Didn't the sons of Pompeius still wage the war at this point?
Do you think Caesar would do that? I did not mean for that to sound harsh; I am just trying to start some discussion about the story thus far.

My memory fails me, but I believe that was a problem that the Second Triumvirate between Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus dealt with. So, that is coming up. In game, Sextus Pompey's loyalty is so low that he will probably incite a rebellion.