Golden Blood - An Imperial Roman Timeline

Chapter I: Marcus Aurelius
Golden Blood

“For our history now descends from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust”
- Cassius Dio


Chapter I: Marcus Aurelius

As he rubbed the ash onto the letter his aged hands pained, having been worn out writing the document. He knew it should have been delegated to one of his scribes, to save himself the aches, but this was too important to leave for any other man. He rolled the parchment and bound it, pouring on the asphalt and sealing it with the portrait of his face engraved into his ring.

“Cassander!” He beckoned to his slave, standing opposite him in the tent. “Go to the camp and fetch me messengers, two of the best men you can find. I require some immediately.”

“Yes Dominus, at once Dominus.” Cassander replied, leaving the tent and rushing outside into the camp.

Marcus relaxed himself slightly, leaning into his cushioned chair. The weather had warmed and spring was near, but it was still too cold for his ailing body. Perhaps it was only a few years until he passed on, left for whatever awaited him beyond. For all that he had done to cleanse himself of emotion and to live a balanced life, he couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness. Not for those who he would leave behind but rather for Rome itself, his duty and his ward. I have failed in the task set before me, he thought, despairing. Tasks left finished with none worthy or willing to secure them. The fear that slowly crept upon him came to a halt as Cassander returned, bringing with him 2 men, as he had been ordered. Marcus composed himself internally and spoke to them.

“Salve men, state your names and rank.”

The shorter of the two identified himself first, speaking to the Princeps.

“I am Julius Bricius Sir, Decanus in the 4th Legion.” The man was a bit below the height of most men, and clad in the typical laminar armor [1] that most legionaries wore. He also had a blue painted shield, to distinguish himself from the soldiers of other legions. The second man moved forward and spoke as well.

“My name is Adefonsus Sir, a nobleman of the Batavians and a member of the 3rd Batavian Cohort Sir.” This one was a bit more unique. He was a head larger than his counterpart, though lanky and thinner, and was dressed in the garb of a Germanic warrior, padded quilts under hooked armor [1], and an embroidered cloak hanging around him.

Marcus rose from his chair, pushing himself upwards off his desk, and he spoke to the soldiers.

“You men are to be tasked with an important task. You are to deliver this letter to Avidius Cassius, and to make sure that none follow you on your way to Antioch. I want this to remain as confidential as possible, and you must ensure that.”

“If I might ask sir,” interjected Bricius “What does this letter contain?”

“Something that is beyond your rank, Decanus.”

The Roman soldier put his head down, understanding the Princep’s orders.

“It should take you no longer than eighteen days to reach Antioch along the roads,” Marcus said, “you each can make use of the Cursus Publicus with my seal. I am entrusting you with a great task, and you shall not fail me.”

“We shall protect this with our lives, and ensure it reaches the right hands.” Adefonsus spoke, standing firm and tall to impress the Princeps.

“Good,” Marcus said, relaxing himself, “then make haste, and take Cassander with you.” passing the parchment into the hands of Bricius.

“We will Sir, we will succeed.” Bricius spoke, exiting the tent with his comrade and Cassander, leaving Marcus alone.

He felt relieved, Perhaps the future of Rome isn’t doomed after all, the future may hold a bright hope. He sat back down in his chair, and picked up a fig on his desk. It had turned a bit pale but he took a bite of it nevertheless, eating it and letting his body relax into the cushions.

[1]Segmented and chainmail armor respectively

The main shift in this timeline is the survival of all of Marcus Aurelius' children to adulthood, or at least to the point of his death. this current chapter is in early March of 180 AD
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Golden Blood

“For our history now descends from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust”
- Cassius Dio


Chapter I: Marcus Aurelius

The main shift in this timeline is the survival of all of Marcus Aurelius' children to adulthood, or at least to the point of his death. this current chapter is in early March of 180 AD

Wait what! Every single child of Aurelius survives, and here i thought the POD was Aurelius naming Cassius his hier not Commodus, definitely watched!
Chapter II: Antoninus Minor
Chapter II: Antoninus Minor

He rode into the camp, blood-soaked and armor gleaming in the sun, cheered by the legions of men within the walls. His guard rode behind him, hooves thundering on the soil and purple cloaks flowing in the light breeze. He raised his bloodstained sword high in the air as a symbol of victory, and the men surrounding his path let up a loud cheer, banging their swords upon their shields and proclaiming “
IMPERATOR! IMPERATOR!”. It filled him with a sense of unadulterated joy, to hear the cries of legionnaires proclaiming him as their victorious general. Antoninus couldn’t help but put on a child-like grin as he rode towards the stables, red shields being beaten the whole way down.

As he entered the stables he quickly dismounted, with a swarm of slaves gathered around him, taking his horse and removing his armor from him, leaving the Legate in nothing but a bare tunic. As they scrubbed his face and limbs clean his mind remained in the previous moment, with the acclimations still ringing in his mind. Even as he was brought his broad striped tunic and donned it the memory still played in the back of his head, and Antoninus still maintained a faint smile on his face. He continued his walk from the stable onwards, towards the grand tent of his father, flanked by his generals Helvius Pertinax and Tarruentius Paternus.

Antoninus opened the tent flaps and entered, saluting his father alongside the prefect and rector [1]. The aged Marcus simply nodded his head to tell them to ease, and Antoninus spoke first.

“Princeps, we have defeated the Sarmatian raiding party to the north of the Danube. They had raided multiple settlements, however we were able to catch them and destroy their war band.” he declared, hoping in his heart he would be congratulated.

“Good, how many men fell as casualties? And how many have you taken from the Sarmatians?” spoke Marcus, plainly and with little emotion.

It hit Antoninus like a punch in the gut but nevertheless he held it within and spoke back to his father.

“We have lost only 15 men out of the entire 500 man force, and we have taken near 200 of the Sarmatian tribesmen.” he spoke, with a slight bitter tone in his voice.

“Good, you may take your leave, all of you. Rest and enjoy, for you have tasks that must be completed.” he spoke, simple and cold.

Antoninus exited the tent, heading towards his own residence within the camp. Simple bitterness couldn’t describe his feelings, this was like a harsh acidic rage brewing within.
I have done all he has asked for me, and yet he treats me like a hound! No, a hound still receives gratitude from his master, I get nothing, as if I am a mere beast of burden. He stomped into his tent, removing his sandals and sitting on his couch, hunched over in anger. Two slaves approached, one taking away his dirtied sandals and the other approaching him directly.

“I am glad to see you return Dominus, would you like some wine and bread?” he questioned.

“Indeed, I would like some, bring them to me.” Antoninus replied in a hoarse voice.

“I shall Dominus.”

The slave ducked out of the tent to the nearby kitchen, leaving Antoninus alone with his thoughts once more. I could conquer the world and it still wouldn’t be enough for the Stoic bastard, even if I dropped dead he wouldn’t even mourn me, he thought, his bitterness swelling into rage. He felt something build up in his throat but was interrupted in his moment by the arrival of Pertinax.

“Salve friend.” greeted Pertinax, the large bearded man dressed in a military tribune’s toga.

“Salve,” Antoninus replied. He rose from his couch and the two embraced, sitting together on the same couch.

“You seem like you are constipated,” Pertinax teased, “why do you sit dejected when we have won another battle? We have conquered the last of Sarmatia, the Marcomanni have been annihilated, and the Quadi bow to us!” he declared, his voice filled with joy in an attempt to lighten his friend up. Antoninus rose from his slouch and gave a soft smile, ordering the second slave to retrieve more wine and bread for Pertinax. As both slaves returned with food and wine, the two ate and drank throughout the night, with Antoninus’s rage being buried under liters of wine.

[1]The Latin term for Governor

Note that this is Titus Aurelius Antoninus Caesar, the eldest son of Marcus Aurelius.
Sorry I haven't posted in a long time. School just kicked into gear and I've had no time to write. I'll probably make a post over the weekend, before Monday at least.
Chapter III: Aurelius
Chapter III: Aurelius

He heard footsteps marching outside his large tent. Perhaps a dozen people come to see me, Aurelius thought. He was glad to have some visitors while he sat in this boring and drab frontier. Aurelius rose from his cushioned couch, wiping off the few drops of wine on his face, and beckoning his slave from other rooms to greet his guests. As the tent flaps opened and he saw who came to greet him his mood soured instantly.

“Brother!” Antoninus greeted, “How have you been these past weeks?”.

“I have been as well as one can be on these barbaric frontiers.” Aurelius said, putting up a veneer of excitement to see his twin.

“That is good to hear.” Antoninus spoke. He came with his band of personal Guard, as well as his guard dog Pertinax. He still smelled like sweat and horse shit, probably having come a day or two ago from that goose-chase father had sent him on.

“I take it that your campaign was a success?” he said, with false enthusiasm.

“Indeed I did, the last Sarmatian band north of here has been kicked to the doors of Hades, and the remainder of the province has been secured.” Antoninus replied, seeming smug in his victory. Relish your victory over those bandits, Sarmaticus Aurelius thought, filled with disdain.

“And what will you do now, sit and wait by the fireside?” he asked.

“Perhaps I shall,” Antoninus said, his face looking as if he enjoyed the thought, “alas I fear father has more plans for me, more plans of great effort with little reward.” There he goes again, whining about his recognition. Whenever father won’t give him a gold star for tying his sandals the boy will go cry in the corner He thought maliciously.

“Nevertheless,” Antoninus said, “I merely came to see you once more and let you hear of my victory from my lips. I shall take my leave of you.” Oh yes please do.

“It was good to see from you brother, and I hope you have many more victories to come!” Before what is to come.

As Antoninus and his guards left his tent he slunk back into his couch and drank from his chalice again, his mind swirling with bitter thoughts against his brother. The Minor gloats and laughs, rubbing his victory in my face. He grew more and more angry, dredging up more of his brother’s slights.

He sees himself better than me no doubt, as my superior and my brother. He's less than an hour older than me and he thinks I am inferior in all manners.
Aurelius continued to seethe, his face contorted with rage as he downed more wine.

He claims to be smart, I’ll show him soon, once that old sack breathes his last. Aurelius took a breath and relaxed himself a bit, not letting himself dwell on his anger too much. His mind turned to a different topic, that of women.

“Heliodorus!” he beckoned to his slave.

“Yes Dominus?” the slave replied. He approached his master, long and wiry in shape and dressed in fine clothes.

“Any news from the Illyrian officials? Of them which have accepted my offers?”

“Both Julius Decianus and Herennius Egnatius [1] have accepted your offers of proposal, but Decianus wishes for a large dowry to be paid for his daughter's hand, about 30,000 Sesterces.”

“And Egnatius?”

“Gladly willing, and I must say he has a large and vibrant base within the Illyrian and Thracian provincial elite.”

“Good, good, tell Decianus he asks for too much and the request has been denied, and to Egnatius that I shall marry his daughter as soon as convenient!”

“I shall write the letters at once.” Heliodorus slowly began to walk out of the room, but he quickly turned around.

“And sir,” he said, “His daughter’s name is Mariniana, you should remember that lest you go to your own wedding not knowing who the bride is.”

Aurelius let out a small chuckle, his face loosening up into a smile.

[1]These are OCs, not actual real Romans.

The POV Character in this chapter is Titus Aelius Aurelius, the younger twin to Antoninus Minor.
Chapter IV: Bricius
Chapter IV: Bricius

Northern Thrace, 5th of March, 180 AD

The narrow valleys and highways of the Thracian mountains were an abysmal place to be. Save from the few rest stops and local farms, the peaks and hills were desolate save for the incessant chirping of birds and insects. Bricius slumped forward on his horse, bored and tired after 2 days of riding, but he turned quickly after hearing Adefonsus begin to speak.

“I’m telling you, the only thing that could be in that letter is a will! Why else would he send us on these backpaths to slink into Antioch?” Adefonsus said in his accented Latin.

“Like I said,” Bricius replied, “if it was a will, why the hell are we going to Antioch? We should be giving it to the Vestal Virgins or the Salians, not to some general in the asscrack of the globe.”

“Why wouldn’t we? He’s a strong man, he can enforce it, unlike young virgins or dancing priests”

“Maybe in your barbaric society, but in Rome we have the rule of law, rather than the rule of fists.”

Adefonsus scowled at him, likely taking the insult to heart.

“Fine then, if it’s not a will then what else would it be? I see no other reason for us to go to the edge of the world.” he spoke back, a slight tone of resentment in his voice.

“I bet that it’s a letter of war, probably for the Parthians.”

“Parthia? Why would we be at war?”

“Why wouldn’t we be? There’s a new war every other year with those fire-lovers.”

“Then why are we taking the backroads? You think there would be Parthian spies on the Danube?”

“You never know, they could be anywhere.”

“That’s ludicrous!”

Adefonsus gave a quick turn to the rear and looked at the slave riding behind them on a mule, holding the letter in question.

“Hey, Greek!” Adefonsus called, “Tell us whatever the hell your master wrote in that damned thing, I want to prove to this Gallic dumbass I’m right.”

The slave stared at the mane of his mule for a few seconds before speaking just a few words.

“Fuck off.”

The two soldiers stared at each other after hearing the slave’s words, and busted out laughing, bending over and chuckling for minutes at this attempt of strength. Adefonsus wiped his eyes and spoke first.

“They haven’t cut your balls off yet?” he wheezed, slipping back into laughter.

“You might find this funny,” the slave spoke, attempting to project power, “but I was entrusted with the contents of this letter by the First Citizen of Rome, and this is not a trivial matter.”

Adefonsus continued to laugh at the display of power and his own joke but Bricius composed himself and began to speak.

“And if we decide to break the letter open, or to cut you up until you talk?”

“To break the seal of Caesar and kill one of his favorites? Your heads would be displayed on the walls of Sirmium for months, Gods know what will happen to those close to you.”

His bluff called, Bricius turned his head and continued forward, facing the scenic landscapes of Thrace and the miniature sight of a fort town in the far distance. Let me just get this letter delivered and get back to my men, he thought, tired of having to march this distance.

Adefonsus spoke once more, his laughter having passed.

“I’m willing to put down 50 denarii that it’s a will” he said to Bricius.

“60 and we’ll call it a deal.”
Sorry once again, I'm gonna be switching to bi-monthly updates for this, since it's a bit time consuming to plan and write all of this out, plus I have other stuff that needs handling.