Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Nobodyman123
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It started off like a plague. Terrible and indiscriminate, it swept through the city of Rome, bringing many of it's people to the gates of Dis. For days, the smoke from the funeral pyres could be seen billowing into the air from all seven of Rome's hills. Yet there were always more bodies to burn, and a few always fell through the cracks of the Vigiles who organized the burnings.

Then, without any warning, the dead began to rise.

First it was a handful, but soon walking corpses began to spread throughout the city. Those they caught eaten. Those who escaped with wounds soon became like their killers.

The Senate scrambled, forcing every living citizen to the Palatine Hill at the heart of the city. Once secured, the Praetorians and and armed militias closed the gates to the rest of Rome.

Lucius Casca, a former centurion turned militia commander, knew in his bones that his people were now in a deathtrap. Standing atop the quickly thrown up palisade, he could see the mass of bodies pushing and shambling their way towards his defenses.

With his one good hand, he put a whistle to his mouth and blew, signaling to his assembled militiamen and whoever was standing near by that the Mortui were making another push.
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Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by Force and Fury
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Junia Phillipa Maxima

Truth be told, Junia was exhausted. Her journey back to Rome has been a harrowing one. They liked to say that all roads led there. Yet, it had seemed as if all led from the great city. She could've sworn she'd been the only soul heading towards it - a profoundly unsettling feeling to be sure. It had been nearly a week's worth of stealth, sudden terror, and fighting. In her head, she'd told herself that it was just like those games of hide-and-seek she'd played with her brothers and sisters as a child, but the stakes were life or death and there was no missing that. Then, after she'd made it back to the Palatine against staggering odds, hoping to find dear Fabius and Quintus alive, an overenthusiastic sentry had nearly skewered her with a spear. She vaguely remembered her boastful jest at the the time that she knew that she looked half-dead and surely felt it but, just as surely, was not yet ready to be counted among the mortui.

She'd had a day to search and recover, but it had hardly been restful. Her dear ones were yet missing and she felt aches in parts of her body that she had not previously known even existed. Already, she had been engaged as a scout and skirmisher, her almost-preternatural quickness and stealth an asset, yet she felt the skepticism of these men on the front lines - so many of them ex-legionnaires, so many rugged and brawny, gruff and hardened. They were not unkind. They simply had not yet accepted her as one of them and might never do so. That was no matter. Junia had her part to do even if, in her heart of hearts, she had begun to suspect she had made herself into a trapped rat in the name of a lost cause. Best to burn the city, the dead, and everybody in it at this point, she thought. Flee to the countryside in small groups, and hunt down the mortui gradually. Her personal feelings on the matter weren't of much consequence, though. She would spend some days here and perhaps longer if the situation improved but, if not, she would risk herself again. Better to die trying to live than holed up and waiting to die. She'd make a break for it. She'd done so once and could do it again or so she tried to convince herself.

Casca, the ex-centurion with the bad hand, put that whistle in his mouth that she'd heard before. She knew what it meant when he blew it. Junia hopped up onto the barricade, gladius in hand, nerves on fire, scanning the burgeoning wave of mortui and trying not to project a sense of courage and belief that she did not truly feel.
Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Hansa
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Auxilio Mauritanius


He had always wanted to see Rome, ever since he heard his masters praise the city during his earlier life as a slave in Africa. But that was a life Auxilio rarely permitted himself to think about, and now was not a good time to start. And alas, Rome had been a complete disappointment. Maybe it was unfair to judge the city on the impression it made during a plague of undeath, but still - what a shithole.

Auxilio had arrived during the early days of the plague. The people of Rome were dying of illness, their scouts and guards included. Times came when able-bodied men became scarcer by the day, and the Senate had sent for the best men from all the colonies and vassal-states as reinforcements. Auxilio was among these men, and at first he felt great pride in this. When the boat docked at Rome's harbor and he smelled the smoke, the panic and the miasma, the pride shrivelled back into nothing. What was he going to do here? How was he going to help? The only way he knew how - following orders.

The nature of the new sickness of the Romans was surprising, and even Auxilio could not help but be afraid. The dead walking, growling and eating flesh was the most unnatural thing he could imagine. And so, as the others did, he fled to the Palatine Hill, as they were told. And now, Auxilio found himself within the ranks of the remaining Romans, in the very center of this city of wonder, which had turned out to be a city of death and decay.

A whistle rang in Auxilio's ear. He turned to face where the sound came from, it was one of the few military veterans among them, a natural leader in these times of strife. The horse at Auxilio's side, a young mare, tall and elegant with a black hide, found the noise alarming and was obviously stressed. Auxilio put a hand on her forehead and shushed carefully, soothing her. Most people hadn't even questioned the fact that Auxilio brought a horse with him to the bastion during the escape, probably because of the color of his skin and the curls of his hair. The Mauri and their steeds belonged together, everyone knew that. And if Auxilio was to be of use against the undead, he better have his horse.
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Martian
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Cassius



The red haired slave walked alongside the buildings of Palantine Hill, passing many a shaking man. Like those men, Cassius had been decimated emotionally by the rise of undeath. How had these Mortui captured most of Rome so fast? This city was supposed to be a jewel of these lands, a city that would stand forever. And yet this plague had brought it to its knees, the gods seemingly forsaking all of Rome.

It had started slow, a new disease spreading across the Empire. Cassius was aware of it as a few fellow slaves died, and some neighbors of his master. But Cassius assumed that this disease was like all others he had heard of. It would cull the weak and lead to a stronger population. But then the plague got worse. Vast swaths of Rome were filled with corpses, as there was not enough fires to deal with the dead. But then these unburned dead began to rise, feeding on the flesh of the living.

Cassius’s master immediately fled his home, taking only a few select slaves with him, Cassius included. They had left for a better defended part of the city, taking refuge behind legions of soldiers. But even the blades of these centurions could not keep back the dead, so the survivors were pushed back and back, until now when all that was left was Palantine Hill.

Against the Mortui, Cassius was mostly useless. His only relevant skill that could help the survivors was his culinary skills. Cassius had become the de facto head chef for the survivors. He figured that he could raise spirits with a good meal, but that was becoming harder as he ran out of ingredients. The assembled living had very quickly gone through all the spices from the east, with most other ingredients following suit. As of this morning they were almost out of meat.

As Cassius wondered what kind of dish he could make tonight, he heard a familiar whistle, one he dreaded. That was the commander stating that the undead were attacking again. A cold sweat immediately engulfed Cassius as he knew that this could be it, his death. Like all of the men assembled, Cassius was expected to defend this position. Hell, he had even seen some women defending the hill.

Since he wasn’t trained in combat before this, he had been assigned a simple weapon, a spear. As Cassius ran toward the barricade, he picked up a spear resting against a wall. With how many men they were losing on each attack, it was quickly becoming that they had more weapons than warriors to use them.

Cassius ground his teeth as he reached the barricade. With spear in hand he pressed up against the makeshift barrier. In the distance he could hear the unnatural call of the Mortui, causing him to shiver. Cassius also saw other defenders shaking. It seemed that they had far too few actual soldiers, as Cassius was surrounded by merchants, politicians, and farmers.
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Nobodyman123
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The Mortui shambled ever closer to the makeshift barricade, and the survivors who had things to throw barraged the undead with spears and stones. It was largely useless, but a few of the shots struck true and the corpses stumbled and fell. But for every Mortui that fell, three more took it's place. Many of the walking corpses wore simple, plebian tunics, but a few wore fine togas, now stained red with blood. Lucius could even see a few Mortui wearing the armor of Roman soldiers.

The situation was beyond hopeless. Sooner or later they would get through and all these people would be ripped to shreds. But for now, all Lucius could do was help delay them. He secretly wished that a few more trained soldiers, but chided himself. The gods weren't going to help anyone who couldn't help themselves.

The first mass of dead threw themselves at the wall, and Lucius gripped his gladius in his one remaining hand.

"Push them back! Nothing gets through!" said the centurion before taking his place on the wall. Even now, the Mortui were already crawlling over eachother to climb over the wall. Lucius took the first one in the throat, severing his spinal cord with his sword before kicking him back off the wall and into the mass.
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Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by Force and Fury
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Junia Phillipa Maxima

Junia was lucky enough to hit one of the Mortui squarely in the head with a stone. It had been a patrician in life, but now it lay there and twitched: nothing more than a corpse twice over. She'd always had a good arm at least, but the momentary exultation faded as two more shambled in to take its place. There had been a handful in the countryside outside of Rome and a good many in the city itself, but there were throngs here: hordes!

What have you gotten yourself into, Juni!? she screamed inwardly, hefting another stone. She was not about to waste her spear though, truth be told, there had been a worrying excess of those of late. Good, in theory, but actually a sign that the number of able defenders was dwindling. One last push, she counseled herself. Once more to try to find them. Then, she would focus on herself. Then, she would... give up on my child? Not in his sixth year? The thought nearly crushed her. A howling barbarian of a mortui had climbed to the top of the barricade and bellowed in her face, swiping. Junia leapt back and thrust forward with her spear, taking him through the eye. He flailed and twitched and collapsed, but then there was another and it just didn't seem to end. "Die!" she howled back, her voice small despite its loudness, small compared to that of soldiers and men and un-dead monsters. Junia cast about, taking int he centurion with the bad hand, the red-haired house slave - at least she supposed that he was, for he had the look of one - and, somewhat further back, the dark man of Africa, who was presently going for his horse. Did he mean to fight or to run?

This was insanity. There had to be a better way! A fat man in a fine toga overbalanced himself swinging a gladius and knocked her sprawling. Junia scrambled to her feet, but the ranks in front had already closed - barely. They were getting thin. She cast about for her spear, but it had fallen - tip first, into the glowing embers of a cooking fire. She shook her head, jogged over, and plucked it free. Its tip glowed and... she got an idea. Wouldn't fire kill these things? Wouldn't it spread faster and be far more effective than this piecemeal hack and slash? In those next few seconds, an idea took root in her mind and blossomed into a full-blown scenario. They needed to make a break for it, barricade the city with the mortui inside, and then burn it to the ground! Rome had been rebuilt before and would be again! There were few enough in the countryside that the legions could yet hunt them down and dispose of them, but... if their final remaining living targets were gone, the un-dead would spread out in search of new food. They would spread across Italy, and into Helvetica, Gaul, and Illyria. They would... No point dwelling on such, she decided, halting her thought process. There had to be someone she could bring her idea to. Perhaps the African? More likely the centurion? The slave was a good cook, but she had no idea how clever he might be or how seriously his words would be taken. More than hers, certainly, for war was men's work and she was not a man. First, she had to put the idea to them, however.

Seeing a gap close to the latter two, Junia leapt up to fill it, driving her spear into the neck of an un-dead. The thrust was not clean, and its head lolled to the side for a moment, skin and blood hissing and steaming from the metal's heat. "Sirs," she addressed the two men, "should the gods smile upon us and we succeed in driving off this wave, I would speak to you of an idea I've had, if you'd hear it." She stabbed again, and put the dead man down for good.
Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by Hansa
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Auxilio Mauritanius


As Auxilio was calming his mare, the dead began to attack the barricades. The horse was bound to agitate once more, but there was no time to ponder that. He bound her to a nearby arch before running towards the men who were already in battle. At the very forefront of the defense was the centurion Lucius, a battle-hardened soldier Auxilio looked up to a bit. Sure, the man knew nothing of the hardships one endures through a life on the outskirts of the Empire, but he had seen victory and defeat, even losing a hand. That was nothing to scoff at.

Seeing as the Mortui were already up close and climbing the barricades, Auxilio picked out his shortspear to start. More wieldy and lighter than the longer counterpart, it would do nicely for a situation such as this. Noticing that one of the flanks was more sparsely guarded, Auxilio found his place furthest to the left of all the defenders. After all, a cavalier was naturally drawn to the flanks. Two young boys, no more than twelve or thirteen years of age before they met their doom, were rabidly gnawing at the wooden poles that made up this particular section of the wall. One might think that young corpses awoke misplaced mercy or compassion in Auxilio, but in that case one would be wrong. Young or old, these risen dead were unnatural and vile.

Auxilio struck hard and fast, first plunging the spear into the mouth of the closest of them, driving the the tip into the base of the skull. Not waiting for the first to fall, Auxilio jerked the spear back and gouged at the head of the second boy. He hit the very center of the face, between the eyes, and the tip was lodged into the bridge of the nose. Auxilio lifted the handle of the spear, so that the weapon was angled diagonally downwards, before he put all his weight into a new trust. The facial bones were crushed, and what was once a set of eyes on the young corpse dissappeared into a mess of bone, brains and blood. The two Mortui laid before him, finally at rest. "Rest in peace, young souls." Auxilio muttered, grinding his teeth in fearful anger.

In a short moment of respite, Auxilio noticed a noblewoman with a longspear within the fight, mildly surprised at a woman's presence in the battle. She appeared to be attempting some sort of small talk or chattering in the middle of this struggle, to Auxilio's utter disbelief. However, giving it a second thought he should hardly be surprised, he thought to himself. Was it not the absolutely most typical thing for an Equite, and a woman at that, not to realize the gravity of a situation such as this? Who knew, maybe she thought herself immortal. Auxilio held his tongue, as he had to do in the company of nobles. "For now, we must put the dead to rest. And protect the living" he answered the woman calmly, full of restraint. And with that, the moment was over and an arm lunged at Auxilio through the barricades, which he dutifully answered with his spear.
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