The Roman, Pt.3 by TheRomanizer22
Hot days turned into cold nights, and pretty soon Castus was unable to separate the two. He had wandered so far into his mental hell that he knew no longer whether he was alive or simply in a mental paradox set up by the Gods to punish him for misdeeds on the battlefield. Just when Castus readily knew he was going to die from pure uninhibited insanity, a messenger came to him during one of his supposed hallucinations. It was none other than Gladius, and he was dressed in Angel-garb. "Castus, it is truly I! I have been sent here by Athena to release you from your self inflicted torment! Come with me and you will se what really happened on that fateful day!" Castus, not knowing whether he was still lost amidst his labyrinth, did exactly as he was told. Soon, they were taken back to that fateful day when Castus had lost the one man he truly had faith in. The vision into the past takes them to Gladius' side of the battlefield where he encounters Hannibal, and it shows exactly what happened that caused Gladius' death. As Castus was over on the north side of the field trying to somehow avert the phalanx ( a common battle weapon of choice for the Carthadgian Soldiers), it showed Hannibal and Gladius squaring off as if it were a free-for-all at the Coliseum. Gladius had proceeded to show Castus what really happened. The end result of Gladius' death was a simple mismatching of opponents. In other words, Hannibal wasn't gloating: although Gladius did put up a heroic effort, he simply wasn't a match for Hannibal when it came down to who was the better fighter. Castus could not believe his eyes or his mind. At first, he felt overcome with joy, to know that the death of his mentor was indeed not on his hands. This soon passed, for as the evidence began to seep into his logic, he was now overcome with irrational anger. "Why?!” he thought to himself. "Why was I allowed to torment myself into a personal labyrinth without even a single warning?! Why hath the gods doth betray me so? What pleasure have you experienced with my consistent torture?! Why wasn't I released?!" The more Castus ranted onward, the more he realized that there were more questions than answers and that if he were to receive any resolution from this situation, he had to calm down enough to here what the angel Gladius had to say. "Castus," Gladius calls out to his tortured and angered commandant, "There were signs that my peril was not of your own responsibility. The celebration when you arrived back in Rome, the peasant boy that tried to place upon you well-deserved accolades, even your fellow generals all tried to relieve you of your stress. It was you who wouldn't let them, and as a result of your guilt and personally-felt responsibility for my death, you placed yourself within a hell world that you created all on your own! The gods themselves sent me here to let you know that you mustn’t grieve any longer over my passing, that you must celebrate my life & my meaning to you, my accomplishments, and simply move on with your life! Castus, I implore you my commandant, release yourself of your guilt, grieve, and let go!" With a teardrop that seem to make his eyes shine like a lucid ocean floor, Gladius placed one hand on Castus' shoulder and gave his friend a kiss on the forehead (in ancient times, a sign of the ultimate respect for your fellow man was shown with a kiss on the forehead, representing a respect of who they are as a person and not just an object of affection or desire) and with that one gesture, released the demons that once plagued Castus's mind, heart, and soul. Castus, filled with a newfound hope for life and all its pleasantries, had made the awkward decision to remain in the desert for one good reason: to clear his mind, cleanse his body, get physically fit, and then come up with a plan of action for his return to Rome.
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