Mid-morning- March 15, 44 BC
The captain of the guard led the way past the statue of Anubis into the altar room, followed by Decius, Aricus, and Spurius. The gladiator had a minor wound, but Spurius had a nasty neck wound. They were followed by two more guards. Some distance behind them, in the antechamber, out of view of those in the altar room, two more guards approached the archway. Elizabeth. Titus, and Artemis were behind them.
The room was a vast square chamber. Murals and carvings, all Egyptian-themed, covered the walls. Some of them were rather disturbing, depicting people being sacrificed to the gods, Thoth being prominent among them. There was also a large idol of Thoth, the same size as the one of Anubis, in the center of the chamber. At Thoth's feet stood a sandstone altar on a raised platform with horns rising from the four corners. Caelia lay on her back upon the altar, her wrists and ankles bound to the four horns. Akana stood over her behind the altar, carrying a lit torch, and another guard was present. Another archway led onwards from the rear of the cavern. All of these underground rooms lay beneath the villa. It would have been expensive in terms of both time and labor to have them constructed, but Scaevola was surely not without those resources.
"We have captured three more prisoners, Akana," announced the guard captain. "The rest were slain in battle. We have also taken some casualties."
Akana's eyes narrowed, and she took out a pugio from underneath her robes, holding the point above Caelia's heart. "Not another step, or she dies!" she shouted, glaring at the new arrivals. "What treachery is this?! When you take prisoners, it is customary to disarm them!"