As Gnrl. Armenius Auraius sits back and takes a look at his own family, his memory drifts back to the very moment in which his life would change its course forever. It was like any other day in the life of a servant to the Emperor of Rome. As a servant, it was the task of a young Armenius to deliver discharge papers to the legendary Gnrl. Castus Cyronicus.
Other men usually became very nervous in Castus' presence, but it was the opposite for Armenius. For him, this was his one chance to come face to face with the legendary general, the man he respected for his career within the Imperial Army. This day was going to be a day that would live with Armenius for the rest of his natural life, and would dearly alter the life of Gnrl. Castus as well.
"Halt ! What is your purpose of business as you approach my chamber?!" "My Liege," says Armenius, "i am holding the key to your very future...the future you have always wished for. I hold in my hands...your discharge papers. My liege, your freedom awaits you." "Thank you, Armenius, for delivering my papers in person, instead of by messenger. You are indeed a good gladiator, and a good man," says the general to the young man that just handed him his freedom.
Little did he know, Armenius would soon become one of the most important people that Castus will ever know. As Armenius stood there in awe of the general, he realized that he should take his leave, for Castus had slipped into a deep mental reverie. Armenius then informs Castus of his own departure, "I'll take my leave, my liege, and leave you to your privacy." "Thank you, Armenius. You may leave my side."
And with that, this was the first and last time that these two soldiers will ever see each other again..or at least they both thought that. Thanks to a big twist of fate, these two will indeed cross paths again, and effect each others' lives in a big way. As Armenius took his leave, General Castus Aurelius Cyronicus came to the startling realization of what was really in his hands: he was finally free. Free from the anguish of battles over a land and country he no longer cared for..and free from the responsibility of caring for an army that no longer respected his rank.
As Castus now held his freedom in his hands, he began to think to himself "is this but a play of the gods? do they not take some sick pleasure with the thought of my constant torment? Can this not be??" Soon Castus came to the realization that his pensive ponder was so long that he didn’t take into fact that the sun had risen into a new day...the day that he is to leave his post along "the wall" (Hadrian’s Wall). As with all discharges, he would have to pack up his parcels and take his leave with a ceremony marking the end of his lustrous career as the sole general of the armies of Imperial Rome. As Castus began to take another ponder about this new life that was handed to him, he couldn’t help but reflect deeply about the life that has come to pass, for Castus was only sole general of all of the armies only recently.
It was at the Battle of Cannai that changed his life, and his fate. One of the major life-changing days in the life of Gnrl. Castus was the day he was drafted into the Roman Imperial Army. Stationed at "the wall" in the outer lines of Northern Britain (an isle), he was to be trained in the fine and dangerous art of combat. He was to learn everything from swordplay, battle strategies, how to place your mind into the mind of the enemy, and how to operate various battle stances, positions and weapons. His teacher and life mentor was the honorable and legendary Gladius Artorios Germanicus.
He was trained by the best to become to best and at an impressive age of 29 he had quickly ascended to the position of co-general and would fight alongside his hero. Side by side in battle, Gladius and Castus were damn near unstoppable. Where Castus had pure power and brute force, Gladius had stealth, agility, and the advantage of two quick hands (he was ambidextrous). In every battle these two would fight in, victory was sure to follow. Every battle that they fought in was merely training for the battle that was to come. This was the Battle of Cannai, the bloodiest battle in recorded history. It began like any other battle, with each side plotting to decimate their enemy. It was Imperial Rome vs Carthage, a deadly enemy to the Roman Empire. These people were known for having fierce warriors, bloody weaponry, and a mindset that would make Ares himself take a second look. Gladius and Castus came up with an ingenious strategy, something that would guarantee victory and conquest. The shame about this plan was that it was flawed. Severely, and fatally flawed.
Everything on the battlefield was looking in the favor of the Roman Army when the flaw within the plan was revealed: too many resources on one side of the battlefield, and not enough on the other, leaving Gladius and his men severely vulnerable to a number of variable attacks. Even with this being so, Gladius was not about to go down without a well fought defense. He would utilize every military trick he ever learnt, but alas, it wasn’t good enough to secure a victory, or even his life.
Within mere minutes (and via a clean sweep decapitation by an enemy soldier), Gladius was down, out and dead. Out of nowhere, the Carthage General himself appeared and drew his sword, challenging Castus to a mano e mano showdown. The real battle had just begun.
Steel swords began to clash, human flesh would sever, and soon the blood began to fly. Even though he was clearly and severely outmatched, in Castus' mind there was no way that he was going to lose this fight. The death of his mentor and friend Gladius fueled his need even more to seek out retribution from this mammoth of a soldier. "Weak Roman," scoughed the Carthagan soldier, "i outrank your strength by ten men count! Give up while you still have your head to see the sun!" Castus knew deep down inside that if he revealed even a shred of weakness and vulnerability to his enemy, that tiny mistake will lead to his downfall, and bring a tragically short end to his legacy.
This was to be the bloodiest and most personal battle-within-a-battle that Castus would ever take part in, and it would be a battle too brutal for him to forget even if he begged Orpheus himself to take away the awful nightmares that would haunt him for his entire life. Castus, with a blow that felt like it could take on a 8.0 earthquake, was knocked to the ground by Hannibal's battleaxe.
Just when Hannibal goes in for the fatal finish (a brutal decapitation, a clean sweep leaving no entrails behind), Castus slyly raises his long sword from behind and shoves it cleanly into the left lung of Gnrl Hannibal. Hannibal let out a blood-curdling scream so loud that even the birds cleared the battlefield. His lung was punctured, his breathing was shallow. Within minutes, Gnrl. Hannibal was dead. Now that Hannibal was dead, there was only the need to get the word out that he had been killed. There was only one thing to do, and when in Rome, he would do what his fellow Romans would do.
Still feeling very vengeful over Gladius' death, Castus began to build a makeshift crucifix out of nearby wood and branches. Within minutes, he had Hannibals body nailed and hung to the crucifix, and once he had it raised, the message was made very clear: I killed your general. You have three choices: to leave & never come back, serve Imperial Rome, or suffer the same cruel fate as your general. As soon as the crucifix was hoisted in the air, the message was sent. The message, as clear as day, was this: leave us, serve Rome, or die.