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Rome was man's world, no two ways about it, define exclusively in terms of achievement in the male spheres of militarysm and politic, as she could not command armies, that should be afforded Roman men . Only because her family could afford payed the high taxes for the army , she had a way from behind the scene. Faced with such dilemma she's using Alexius her fiancee and her family influence. Despite on the charasteristic twas gradeur, in some way; It's virtues, it's vices, it's prosperity, it's misfortune. She reflected in near of time she'll be his wife and so as the compromise, it'll be stairs for him, as the both families plan as if the blaze had seemed to came out from the Juno hand, and it caught unware those trapped in it's path, scything a lethal swathe through the air of Muse. As the tongues of flame billowed into the night air. Filling the acrid smell of burning tree sap. The dry sound of crackling woods were layered shouts and labouring breathing.copyright protection33PENANAGTngPxFvA2

For a educated roman woman to stray into traditionally male territory as Caius Alea Zenious was seen to be doing, did not automatically have to lead to her condemnation. The city's richly idealised history of it's own mythical past punctuated female like Cloelia, a younger girl lauded for rescuing a group of females hostage from the Estruscan King Porssena by swiming with them across the Tiber through a hail of enemy spears, and publicy thanked with the errection of a statue on the Appian way. The message was clear for Caius Alea Zenious, if only all women as brave as cloelia and wise as Venturia and Volumnia, then the Rome never fall to the traps of vice, corruption, and despotism that had afflicted it at various in its event trajectory . The timing of their various moment from this point it becomes certain it was such tumultous nature. Now, she must playing her role as well as her family, been dictated to her since she was still an infant. The adviser behind her very own husband. In a bid to pacth over their fragile alliances. copyright protection33PENANACiO81QIjRI

Without reason do mankind complain of their nature, on the ground that it is weak and of short duration and ruled rather by chance than by virtue. For reflection would show on the contrary that nothing is greater or more excellent, and that nature has more often found diligence lacking in men than strength or endurance in itself. But the leader and ruler of man's life is the mind, and when this advances to glory by the path of virtue, it has power and potency in abundance, as well as fame; and it needs not fortune, since fortune can neither give to any man honesty, diligence, and other good qualities, nor can she take them away. But if through the lure of base desires the mind has sunk into sloth and the pleasures of the body, when it has enjoyed ruinous indulgence for a season, when strength, time, and talents have been wasted through indolence, the weakness of human nature is accused, and the guilty shift their own blame to circumstances.copyright protection33PENANA6oazWJNNae

But if men had as great regard for honourable enterprises as they have ardour in pursuing what is foreign to their interests, and bound to be unprofitable and often even dangerous, they would control fate rather than be controlled by it, and would attain to that height of greatness where from mortals their glory would make them immortal.copyright protection33PENANAgR7D7XaMtK

For just as mankind is made up of body and soul, so all of acts and pursuits partake of the nature either of the body or of the mind. Therefore notable beauty and great riches, as well as bodily strength and all other gifts of that kind, soon pass away, but the splendid achievements of the intellect, like the soul, are everlasting.copyright protection33PENANAP63De4uWnl

In short, the goods of the body and of fortune have an end as well as a beginning, and they all rise and fall, wax and wane; but the mind, incorruptible, eternal, ruler of mankind, animates and controls all things, yet is itself not controlled. Therefore we can marvel the more at the perversity of those who pass their life in riotous living and idleness, given over to the pleasures of the body, but allow the mind, which is better and greater than anything else in man's nature, to grow dull from neglect and inaction; especially when there are so many and so varied intellectual pursuits by which the highest distinction may be won.copyright protection33PENANAEuKP3HzRuJ

But among these pursuits, in her opinion, magistracies and military commands, in short all public offices, are least desirable in these times, since honour is not bestowed upon merit, while those who have gained it wrongfully are neither safe nor the more honourable because of it. For to rule one's country or subjects by force, although you both have the power to correct abuses, and do correct them, is nevertheless tyrannical; especially since all attempts at change foreshadow bloodshed, exile, and other horrors of war. Moreover, to struggle in vain and after wearisome exertion to gain nothing but hatred, is the height of folly, unless haply one is possessed by a dishonourable and pernicious passion for sacrificing one's personal honour and liberty to the power of a few men.copyright protection33PENANA5KBdoIbzvE

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But among intellectual pursuits, the recording of the events of the past is especially serviceable; but of that it becomes her to say nothing, both because many men have already spoken of its value, and in order that no one may suppose that she led by vanity to eulogize her own favourite occupation. Suppose, too, that since she have resolved to pass her life aloof from public affairs, some will apply to this arduous and useful employment of her in the name of idleness, certainly those who regard courting the people and currying favour by banquets as the height of industriousness. But if such men will only bear in mind in what times she was elected to shadowed office, what men of merit were unable to attain the same honour and what sort of men have since come into the senate, they will surely be convinced that it is rather from justifiable motives than from indolence that she have changed her opinion, and that greater profit will accrue to the country from her inactivity than from others' activity. She have often heard that Aulus Plautius, Publius Ostorius Scapula, and other eminent men of  country, were in the habit of declaring that their hearts were set mightily aflame for the pursuit of virtue whenever they gazed upon the masks of their ancestors. Of course they did not mean to imply that the wax or the effigy had any such power over them, but rather that it is the memory of great deeds that kindles in the breasts of noble men this flame that cannot be quelled until they by their own prowess have equalled the fame and glory of their forefathers.But in these degenerate days, on the contrary, who is there that does not vie with his ancestors in riches and extravagance rather than in uprightness and diligence? Even the "new men," who in former times already relied upon worth to outdo the nobles, now make their way to power and distinction by intrigue and open fraud rather than by noble practices; just as if a praetorship, a consulship, or anything else of the kind were distinguished and illustrious in and of itself and were not valued according to the merit of those who live up to it. She sank in deeply thought as she considered her option. There were some who thought that even then Pallas was not unaware of the Emperor Claudius's design,  and who found it impossible to believe that the ease with which the Emperor protracted a war begun with such urgency was not due rather to guile than to incompetence.Now when in the course of time the day of the elections drew nearer between the two heirs of Claudius. Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus even introduced a semblance of free government by maintaining the ancient dignity and powers of the senate and the magistrates; for there was no matter of public or private business so small or so great that he did not lay it out before the senators, consulting them about revenues and monopolies, constructing and restoring public buildings, and even about levying and disbanding the soldiers, and the disposal of the legionaries and auxiliaries; finally about the extension of military commands and appointments to the conduct of wars, and the form and content of his replies to the letters of kings. Although he declared that those who were elected to office ought to remain in the city and give personal attention to their duties, a praetor elect obtained permission to travel abroad with the privileges of an ambassador.He rebuked some ex-consuls in command of armies, because they did not write their reports to the senate, and for referring to him the award of some military prizes. As if they had not themselves the right to bestow everything of the kind. He highly complimented a praetor, because on entering upon his office he had revived the custom of eulogizing his ancestors before the people. He attended the obsequies of certain distinguished men, even going to the funeral-pyre.He showed equal modesty towards persons of lower rank and in matters of less moment. Claudius's general policies increased the control of the Emperor over the treasury and the provincial administration and apparantely gave any jurisdiction in fiscal matter to hids own governors in the senatorial provinces, and he creates a kind of cabinet of freedmen . On whom he bestowed honours, to superintend various branches of the administration. copyright protection33PENANAPAjzpngYeL

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She made cynical smiled from her corner lips as she reflected the whole circumtances, thru action a human could be a fortune with the name of hero, it'll scribe thru ages in history, as good or evil. She does not want her name in all history but what she need is legal act to do so to freed the kind of her , a woman liberty as equal as a man with power, and intellegent without cheap treatment from the circumtances. That's Caius Alea Zenious higher goal. The woman with iron fist of Juno and strong as Ares,for once last time she glanced Alexius tablet waxed at her desk. Use several men wiped their power while she absorbed all of it right to the core. Her form as woman was the curse, as she always despite it. In the name of replacement of her passaway brother that's how she gained to control her all family power, money and trust. Her devious dark side of a man world. From every book she read and the life around her and Empire it self . Only through strategic brilliance, she must made the paralleled life. As If any form she wish desire to make and adjusted to the any circumstances she'll face . The tensions will finally appeared on the boiling point . The ambtious men in the Legion commander as her true allies or true opposite. Thing's she need to to observe before she decided to take any legal act's whatsoever the name call it. Under her military judgment knowledge without using any ambitions. One of her thracian slave knocked her bedroom door. And stood in attention stiffly in front of her bedroom door. She broke her thought as she replied in regal deep voice ." Come in."copyright protection33PENANAnPT7cT6Em2

A tall man with tanned skin, stepped smartly to her room. "Begging your pardon, My lady. There's an incoming news, A warship been entered our perimeter line couple minute ago."copyright protection33PENANAubDNL3b22q

Slowly she looked up her face from the waxed tablet and cocked her eyesbrow. " Vitellius's ship regiment?"copyright protection33PENANANLKk5ig70L

" Yes, My, lady."copyright protection33PENANAGnAAvNtCsQ

Zenious rose up from her chair and walked towards the thracian slave  as she stood next to him. The Trachian man made report in very small voice so not could over heard by any one unless for Zenious itself . She nodded and  cliked her finger, took her cloak and followed her strode off from her bedroom with her two slave then she paused , clicked her finger and asked to the other bodyguard of her. " Do my future husband on his office ?"copyright protection33PENANAFW1iJMlVOo

One of her bodyguard shook his head and replied courtesy ." No. He's at Valerius office for meeting."copyright protection33PENANAlC96Xeodmo

" I see." She paused a moment and considered her thought for a moment .copyright protection33PENANAY2MzDhm7UO

 The  slave bowed their head as she marching from the house . She paused in her way, and turned her body facing the four guard and pointed two of the thracians  to approached her and say  in lower voice " Make sure sent some of your men to do exactly as I order  you lastnight and prepared one of the trireme, put some supply and weapons in minimum, understood."copyright protection33PENANAXzKYSuLepz

The two Thracian men replied at once." Understood, my lady."copyright protection33PENANACLcLR9Zfnl

" And kept out of any sights, from the legions." She whispered to them both. The two of her private bodyguard nodded ."I'll be in my office. If there's any change in the situation send word to me at once."copyright protection33PENANAEloqU1Ih8D

" Yes, my lady." the two of her body guard nodded and Zenious with the other two  body guard tuned away and descended to the narrow  street .Through the wide thoroughfare . The mob been calmed recently. And she wished to keep it that way. Suddenly she turned to her one bodyguard " Make sure my men work properly to maintained the mob to be quiet,  I don't want anyone make stupid noise not today not tomorrow, go now."copyright protection33PENANA55cQ44kPiK

One of her bodyguard nodded as he turned away and ran to the legions camp. The sentries of the gate in the naval base open the gate and she crossed the parade ground, she shot a sharp gaze over the naval harbour. Ten biremes were moore bow to stern along the dock, with two more anchored a short way out, waiting for their turned to be clear and loaded. A continous flow of men moved between the ships and storehouses, driven on by the harsh shouts of their offices. At this pace the ships would be loaded before nighfall, exactly as the log book list ordered , ready to leave at midnight . The notherly wind is ready to breeze. Calmly she made her way up to Veralius office. She would not expecting a good news, at this rate. As she calcualted. She want to know what The Prefect's Vitellius report this time. copyright protection33PENANApVvBGmLFC8

As soon as Veralius had givens his orders to the officers in charge of the garrison, He entered Legatus Alexius office as he saw Artemis sit at the Legate's stool. Gaving the report of the development . Alexius stared at Artemis with sharp expression. " What do you hope to achieve?"copyright protection33PENANA1gupGprpGA

"Win, sir. Both of the men are in a fair shape. The Prefect looking for a chance to prove and win advancement."copyright protection33PENANA2MGfCKkXAD

Alexius folded his arm. Veralius saw both the men were silent for a moment before Alexius continued. " Sound like hunting commander is developing cold fleet."copyright protection33PENANAIZyeBeBmUd

"Perhaps." Artemis did not feel comfortable for Alexius cold criticising. In truth he began to discover the vulneberaility of his position where he should share some responsibility in determining the course of a campaign . Before the suppression of  the pirates , he and Vitellius had been junior enough to be told where to go and who to fight , the strategy was largely determined by other men of higher rank, and officers like Artemis and Marius were left to execute their orders. Even if Artemis had both ranks and experience of command, yet he was still regarded as too fresh faced or worse regarded as too ambitious . How else could someone of his years have advanced to his rank in Praetorian without being ruthless in his ambition? It was a question that those who perceived him as a rival would ask in order to justify their lack of cooperation. Artemis was on his own, he realised. If he was to have any influence over the direction of the campaign, then he must find a way of working round Alexius's prejudice towards him. May be this was a real test of those promoted to high rank. No longer was he being judged purely on the basis of his talent as decorated instrument of war. The time had come when political skills were every bit as vital.copyright protection33PENANAvWtZmaoNA4

" And what can i do for you, Centurion?" Alexius leaned back in his chair.copyright protection33PENANAoCR4RtPcrp

" It's concerning our supply and ships, sir."copyright protection33PENANAPapno0BZmw

"Regardless with all source been reached?" Alexius gestured towards the sheets of papyrus on his desk. " As you can see, the need of your superior is not only the consideration affecting our decision. There are conflicting reports on the location of the enemy. Rumours are rife. The overall picture is very uncertain, Centurion." copyright protection33PENANAdSsGRORfCr

Artemis was not suprised, Since Vitellius sacked the fleet . Any intelligence of the legate's movements beyond that margin . Depended upon questioning merchants or those sailing and the truth had to be filtered out from rumours and wild speculation. copyright protection33PENANAk14b5WFV87

" I do not ask for a vast host with which to overwhelm our enemy, but i must enough to ensure the job is done well. Until then, it would be imprudent to proceed." copyright protection33PENANAkXhJlGKWG7

Artemis briefly wondered if he had ever met a lion hunter. He thrust the thought aside and cleared his throat. " Sir, it is possible chance  that the pirates are also using time to call on reinforcements. In any case, the longer the remain without reinforcements the large damage the pirates do to the colony . The people are bound to feel they have been insecure and dissapointed."copyright protection33PENANAtTZVAQKr6n

" Only because they lack full understanding of the circumtances." Alexius countered . " Alas, and all part of the exigencies of war. Vitellius must anticipate the musing of such losing men and be concerned lest he be thought to have sanctioned his inactions, as he might see it. When his request for inforcement arrives. I  fear that it may spur the Emperor's anxiety that the campaign is not being fought to a swift conclusions. What if the Emperor felt impelled to replace him with a commander inclined to prudence ? Rather than a hothead who lead the army in a wild dash straight at the enemy, with little thought. Have you consider that?"copyright protection33PENANATqoYCuVhq3

Artemis stared directly at Alexius. " I see what you mean" He replied quietly.copyright protection33PENANApK1Humnej3

Alexius nodded. "Men like Vitellius always looked down on his subordinate, just because the thought of that man being placed in charge of the campaign . Shortage of ambitious men type regard me with amusement." Alexius closed his eyes and made a quick calculation. " I supposed need to consider, to keep up with the campaign. " Alexius smiled warmly at Valerius whose remain silent and listening Alexius point of view and strained his eyes towards the naval harbour through the window. copyright protection33PENANAlMWkIwbtYh

Caius Alea Zenious and her bodyguard made their way through the corridor, Zenious could clearly see the clerks sending the orders instruction. She made signal to her bodyguard to wait outside Alexius office door as he stood smartly in attention . The room was in the silent as she stepped towards Alexius desk. Alexius stared directly at his future wife as he rose up and walking calmly and before the other could react , she spoke with cruel intensity. " I should not have doubt you. I  have heard rumours your commander lost in the first encountered with Tharsos.Now I see the rumours are true ." copyright protection33PENANARRIgQkLLCb

Artemis turned his body and stood quickly and then regarded her silently for a moment, then nodded. " We had an unfortunate experience, Ma'am."copyright protection33PENANAP2VRJqe6Fx

Zenios paused and gesture to Artemis whose seat at the stool then patted his shoulder " If there's one thing I can be certain of bunch of some goats, eh ?" copyright protection33PENANA90k6l3CxxB

"Word of our presence spread and we had to keep on the move. And the Prefect pursuing the leader of pirates, ma'am. They ambushed us."copyright protection33PENANAOosxFjSq4v

"I see." Zenious replied slowly and her lips framed a faint smile. " Such hubris for make a point of understanding precisely what it is that impels your commander to seek inforcement in the first place. Is that a reason why you come here ? You wish me or him to provide you more ships and supply , to be on safe from those who hunt your commander regiment ?" Zenious's lips rose in a faint sneer . " Far from offering us the result, then it seemed that he better off hunting down those dice of him rather than supporting our cause."She spoke coldly." I need soldiers, not madness bearers who use my army for experience ."copyright protection33PENANABUxxLgXZnD

" We understand and do all that we can to further our cause. For now, I ask that you give me more biremes and column of men, and I will visit death and destruction upon our enemy. I know how to fight and to lead the men. Trust me, and I will prove my words."copyright protection33PENANAxwDSDZWfwt

"And how would that be?" zenious asked with cold tone and made an amused smile. She leaned forward and hissed ." What advantage could you offer me?"copyright protection33PENANAQlSjSxDLYI

Artemis resisted the urge to smile . He had a most useful bargaining counter with Tharsos and once Zenious knew of it, Artemis was certain the master mind would accept his request.copyright protection33PENANAgzCO6o44or

" Tharsos have a spy in our side. I have a way to infiltrated the spy and he will tell me all that we need to know about the  Marc Anthony scrolls and Tharsos weakness  and its dispositions."copyright protection33PENANAHVYlOBlKRR

"Hmmm." Zenious straightened her body. " All right then I give your commander request." copyright protection33PENANAdId626EFRC

Alexius and Valerius almost yelled at Caius Alea Zenious, she nodded at Alexius and stroking her chin . Alexius shook his head in frustation ." Something I don't fancy going into battle with a bunch of time serving bureaucrats at my side."copyright protection33PENANAo8b0Wio1nN

Valerius nodded as he stared into the mid distance. As Artemis reached the unseal package of reports  waxed tablet, from his haversack and handed over to the Caius Alea Zenious. She examined the linen wrapper and the seal. She nodded at Alexius and Veralius as she took Vitellius package message , so  Artemis could not see the message.Alexius  turned his body at Artemis . " I'll send my clerks then to give what vitellius need. You dismmised."copyright protection33PENANAt5Irrx3MhV

"Thank you, Sir." Artemis saluted and strode off from Alexius office. Valerius waited until Artemis left then said in undertone ." There's something not quite right about it." copyright protection33PENANAEvDRBGXfmP

Alexius raised his eyesbrow. " What are you thinking?"copyright protection33PENANARKX3KUm9VK

" She told you to give what Vitellius asked easily, She planning on something. But Idon't know what it is." Valerious replied then stood up.copyright protection33PENANAXoQFQicU4u

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Alexius beckoned to Valerius and the two of them left the room and stepped out of the office , where some clerks still laboured at their desks , then they walking  into the narrow corridor. The officers rose and stood stiffly as Alexius and Valerius strode down crossing the parade ground "Perhaps she calculating for tax collectors." Veralius suddenly spoke . " I'm impressed with her self restrain and by her hospitality for quite sometimes."copyright protection33PENANAoIfmM0h8ac

" Our orders are clear. We are to hunt the Marc Anthony box within the content, and the chest money that been stolen from the Praetorian , whatever the cost , and however long it takes . And that's what we will do until we are restored the treasures ."copyright protection33PENANAT7BKNs20m7

" We went through the same thing." Valerius replied softly. " I'm here still, the same Veralius as ever was."copyright protection33PENANAubQtEs4O1U

Alexius looked at him and smiled. " Really? I was wonder could we kept our ol' days just the same like in the future."copyright protection33PENANAjqCzNoz4xK

" I know you well enough to see how wise you are, Alexius."copyright protection33PENANAhrRTbEleFI

" I'm not wise enough."copyright protection33PENANAl9TcDyFHmG

Veralius watched him closely. " Did you ask her ?"copyright protection33PENANACG7ffUDOZb

" No... I didn't want to remind her of it."copyright protection33PENANAzgCqaO5w2K

Veralius shook his head sadly ." You didn't ask and now you are forced to imagine instead."copyright protection33PENANAeoU8ByGgg3

Alexius stared at him and said firmly." I'll deal with it in my own way. If the gods see fit to place him in my path or her path , then i'll carve his fucking balss off and ram he down his throat before I finish with him . I swear it by the gods and on my mother ."copyright protection33PENANAWSJ47YZLNY

Veralius rubbed his nose and gave a  slightly chuckle. Sound you haven't managed to put it all behind you."copyright protection33PENANAWmfzNpnSWq

" When it's all over."copyright protection33PENANADaOxiq6ZGm

" And until then ?"copyright protection33PENANA2DeMHmLG7z

" I don't rest until it's time."copyright protection33PENANAF4WVDJl1Ch

" Good. That's settled ." Valerius smiled widely ." Then I'd better give the orders to loading the ships for what Vitellius need." Valerius paused and nodded then turned his way back towards the store house. copyright protection33PENANArfrgNJGTJm

First things Zenious scanned at a coded message, seemed Vitellius preffered to use an Augustan code , the transposition of letter in the alphabet according to an agreed key. Simple, but effective enough to deter those who lacked the intellegence to work out the key . The Prefect's report began with a shrewd anticipation of the council  leader's protest to Rome. Vitellius explained that he had been obliged to strip of its garrison in order to defeat of the pirates. He made details description of the sea battle, and claiming to have driven off the pirates with subtantial loses on both sides. Apart from the blatant misrepresentations of the disastrous first encounter with the pirates rather optimistic schedule for future operations, As the conclusion of Artemis's recklessness, the operation will take considerably longer than he had anticipatited . Therefore he request her permission to have Centurion Artemis removed from his command and returned to her for disclipinary proceedings . By given the sensitives nature of the mission , he felt can not proceed with any certainty of success while encumbered wit a man who has neither the experience nor the courage required for the job . It's pain him to report to her in these terms, since he know she  have some regard for the abilities of the individual in question. For the removal of his burden .copyright protection33PENANAfLZuyHQjoY

Caius Alea Zenious set the tablet down . And stared again at the Prefect's report. She made a bright smile formed on her face. It's perfect timing. As she been predicted from Vitellius . A huge satisfaction at the thought of her natural judgement. Zenious roared In silent laughter as she toyed with the idea on her head. She strained her cruel eyes and drumming her fingers. Two hours later she watched a few the skiff  of fishermen rowing. Over the winter months, dozen of ships had been towed in, one by one , hidden from view and the knowledge of man. she had secretly assembled afleet force somewhere around Ravenna. The Marc Anthony was the Emperor property. copyright protection33PENANAS32OZGykHa

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