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Forum Romanum- Rome, Italia
Mid-Morning- March 15, 44 BC
Artemis Gaius Sylvius, Spurius Papirius Valens, and Marcus Sabinus found themselves in the Forum, feeling like they had only gone to sleep a moment ago. Though they knew it was morning, the sun had gone completely dark. In their hearts, they knew the worst had happened even before they had seen some of their other friends enter the Temple of Venus leading a makeshift litter bearing the dead body of Julius Caesar, his arm hanging over the edge. Claudius and two other slaves bore the litter, while Senator Germanicus led the entourage, along with Caelia Alba, Titus Iunius Philo, Decius Lupus, and Aricus Callidus Gladio. By the time the three of them caught up to the larger group, they had already entered the temple and were in conversation with a beautiful priestess.
He mounted the stairs and took them two at a time. When he entered the Temple, he blinked a few times to let his eyes adjust and he could see his colleagues gathered around the most beautiful of women wearing the dress of a priestess. "So it was all for naught, Lady Caelia?" Artemis whispered as he joined the group.
"There are many small wounds but there was only one that delivered the mortal blow; struck with conviction straight through his heart." She shakes her head and looks up into the dark and tremulous sky, "Look, even the sun is mourning his passing."
She turns to the priestess, "Please, what does it mean; will the sun come back?"
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Germanicus turns to Claudius and speaks sternly.
"Quickly, send for Marcus Antonius to come here and dispatch a messenger to my wife and tell her to seal the gates and bar all visitors save Jupiter himself."
Germanicus shakes his head gravely.
"I believe the Consul, just like myself, was delayed by cruel Fortuna."
No sooner had the slaves stepped outside than one of them returned, followed by Marcus Antonius, out of breath from running, and his entourage of lictors and servants. He let out an agonized wail when he saw the body of Caesar. He lowered his head, tears streaming down his cheeks. For once, he seemed at a loss for words.
Titus stared at the darkened sky. It seemed extremely odd to see stars in the daytime. Apparently they were always there, but the sun would normally outshine them. The brightest of the stars was Venus, and she was positioned directly over her temple.
Germanicus walks over to Marcus Antonius and embraces the man like a brother.
"We were unable to save him, but what strength we have should be used to save Rome from the jackals that have brought down our truest friend."
The senator turns his attention to Caelia.
"Scaevola? He has already wrought the worst he could and brought about the blackening of the Sun. What other evil has he in store then?"
"What will we do now? The City will be in a panic and that will not make any effort to avenge poor Caesar easier by anyone. Where were the others we started the evening with? " Artemis asked as he looked about those who were inside the temple. The beauty of the place was lost on the signifier as he tried to identify people in the crowd.
"Calpurnia? Yes, poor Calpurnia...Antonius! Wait, don't act rashly! Come to my mansion at noon and we shall take council!"
Germanicus looks on as Marcus Antonius leaves.
"Prepare to bear Caesar's body to his home..with Venus's blessing, naturally."
He looks at the priestess for a moment and then to those present.
"The time has come for all under the sun to make a choice. The enemies of the Republic will move swiftly now to seize what power they can and to eliminate all those that were Caesar's friends. If you walk out with me then you will become their enemy. If you choose to stay, you will become mine, for I intend to avenge myself upon his killers."
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