I looked at the Emperor as he sat upon his throne. He wore his deep purple robe over his pure white toga; both of which hung from his old withered body like death hangs from a carcase. His hair, white as ash, sat limp and lifeless atop his head as he sat upon his regal seat. His face wore, on top of the wrinkles of age, the wrinkles of one who rarely laughed and often frowned.
He looked past the man in front of him, seeing to either side of him row upon row of the Senators of the Roman Empire. Each man the Emperor knew by name, title and corruption. Alone in the room this tall figure before him was the only he did not know. He knew of the man, his deeds in battle were legendary and many within the army revered him as a god of sorts.
He was a member of the elite guard, but not the Emperors guard. He guarded a man far older than the emperor but a man far more powerful. This man ruled the armies of Rome and through them Rome itself. He was the most powerful man in all the world and could bring any nation and its armies to their knees. No man outside of his elite guard knew his name and few outside of the Caesar’s family knew of his existence.
I waited for the Emperor’s reaction to the news. I feared what he might say or how the messenger might receive the reaction. As the whole senate chamber waited for any reaction from their ruler I contemplated what the news meant.
Romulus, the shadow leader of Rome and the first of the elite guard was dead, hundreds of years after the date the history books give. The world would never be the same again and Rome would soon slip into mediocrity. Rome was Romulus and Romulus was Rome; one without the other was like rain without a cloud or cows without milk.
The Emperor stood slowly from his throne and the effort which it took him was audible throughout the chamber. He steadied himself for a moment and then spoke, “So Rome will finally be run by the Romans.”
Remus, the messenger of the army; Romulus’ second in command and son laughed. His voice reverberated through the chamber like that of a master orator; Julius Caesar himself would have been pushed to fill the roof so well. And then he abruptly stopped, “Rome will never be run by the Romans.”
Remus growled the words through gritted teeth and turned, marching from the chamber to complete silence.