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.