Previously on Gladius
"Lupinus!"cried Perito peering through the Aegean sea. "My Talons! My faithful Talons! Woe be to you Syracuse. Damn you to hell, Archimedes! I will strangle you with the intestines of a goat!"
Scenes flashed before him like it was yesterday. The terrible failure of Talons in capturing Syracuse.
"Why is Master Perito sad?" asked Stenos' son, Archaeus. "Son. Two years ago, Emperor Angus deployed Talons to capture Syracuse. In this mission a total of 10,000 Roman soldiers set off to Syracuse in ten ships. Master Perito had sketched a splendid plan. A decoy legion was engaged in battle with Syracuse's army in a nearby island. Only a few hundred soldiers were present to guard the Syracuse's walls. We vastly outnumbered them and their only answer to our fiery arrows was few bronze shields. But there lies a wicked snake in that beautiful Syracuse liar. His name is Archimedes. A sly genius that he is, he worked for both Rome and Greece. Now when the times are dire and Greek states have unified, he has turned his back on us.
He, with a measly army, set fire to our mighty Roman fleet."
"Father! Is Archimedes a dragon?" asked the petrified thirteen year old Archaeus.
"Haha. No son. He is just a sly serpent who with the help of science, set fire to our plans. He polished those bronze Syracusian shields and then made them reflect the sun rays directly upon our ships. Master Perito didn't see this through. One after the other our ships burnt and sunk. Only a raft, which carried our master Perito,myself and eight others of our Talons survived and somehow reached the shores of Venetia. Emperor was displeased and took away Master's title and his up-holdings as a compensation of this disaster. Master didn't lose hope. He recruited people though he was officially dismissed. Few members of senate helped us to raise funds. The surviving members of Talons, brought the men in our family to fight along. That's why you are here Archaeus, after two years of back-breaking training. Today, we have but three ships. We are sailing towards Syracuse with 16 knots speed. If we lose, we may have no home to return. Or worst, we may die. If we win, we will have everything back. "
Stenos' narration was interrupted by Perito's voice.
"Sailors! Soldiers! Fishermen! Farmers! I know that not all of us are men of war. But all of us are a progeny of Rome. Greece is an independent sovereign now led by Athens. Athens will snatch away our colonies in no time. Our Rome, survives with trade. Without things to trade, Roman empire would collapse. We trade things from our colonies with East. If Greece takes Egypt, Carthage and Mediterranean back, Rome will have to forget it's dream of stretching all over Europa. We've tasted the Northern winters. We have felt the Western winds. We have sniffed the Eastern goodness. We have collected the southern wisdom.
Rome is in all directions. Romans are everywhere. A nation like ours shouldn't submit to islands of Greece.
Two years ago I lost most of my army in battle with Syracuse. I lost my friend Lupinus.
Death to Syracuse. Death to Archimedes!"
All the people aboard cried along with Perito. Three of the Roman ships were at the shores at the evening. Today was a holiday for Syracusians. Goddess Artemis, their patron goddess's birthday was being celebrated in Syracuse. The security nearby the city walls was the minimum as they believed that Artemis would protect them in the nights as a guard.
"Archimedes. You can't use sun rays now. The soldiers are busy in securing the temples. Today is the day Syracuse falls."
Saying these words Perito jumped off his ship and led his forces through the gates. Stenos and Archaeus using Roman ballistics, penetrated the walls, making way for Perito. No one heard the intruders because of the festive din. With a quick guerilla warfare, very unconventional for traditional Roman forces, Perito swiped out the guards. Then after explaining everyone their role, Perito went to the library. He knew that he would find Archimedes there. Perito found an old man scribbling something onto a paper in the dark library. "Syracuse is on siege. Romans shall plunder it." Perito told.
"Leave me alone. I just want to complete my invention in peace", said a thoroughly unsurprised Archimedes. Perito was disgusted with the old man's daunting attitude. He quickly unsheathed his Gladius sword and cut off Archimedes' head. He then held the head in his hand and said," Your head sure is heavy, with all the knowledge that you got. But you could have lived longer if you kept quiet" .
Perito had his revenge. His forces began looting and killing the citizens. The festive green turned into a bloody red in Syracuse. This surprising attack shocked the king of Syracuse. His army was in chaos.
The king needed his chief adviser Archimedes. A bag came flying and hit the king on his head. He opened the bag and saw the decapitated head of Archimedes.
"Heed this dead man's advice, the king of Syracuse. Or heed mine. Surrender now. To the Emperor of Rome, Caeser Angus", ordered Perito to the jarred king.
Syracuse surrendered to a few hundred Romans. Perito's accomplishment was praised all over the Europa.
Perito was made the governor of the island of Crete for his contributions and he was once again made the commander of the Roman elite force, "Talons And Wings", in the honour of his deceased comrades.
Perito, alongside being a great warrior, was also a skilled tactician and a politician. He needed funds to build boats and an army. For which he brought some senators to his side. He promised few power hungry senators the Opium trade of Syracuse and he fulfilled his promise. Perito received many favours of such sorts. But he was an undoubtedly good governor. He was the first to introduce the concept of tourism to Rome by opening hot springs of Crete for business. Islanders, tired seamen and Emperor Angus himself visited Crete a number of times to savour the hot springs. Soon the concept of conserving ruins became a thing. After the siege of Syracuse, Romans defeated the unified Greece in three bloody consecutive wars. In the process many beautiful temples and palaces were destroyed. Perito helped conserving the culture of Greeks and also made these ruins as tourist spots. Cretes who were Greeks, were highly pleased by their Governor.
Previously on Gladius