[CANON] [RP Episode] A Unusual Situation


#1

The war had been raging from months. Gaius and Numitor had hurled their armies at each other, striving for victory, only to fall back in shambles from that horrible river. After regrouping, the armies had clashed once again, but over the next several months, neither side could gain an advantage.

Then Lucius had attacked, and the Imperials and the Rebels were forced to call a truce to defend themselves. Valkora was a smoking ruin, destroyed by battleship shells. Now Lucius was attempting to use his fleet to destroy Gaius and Numitor from a distance.

However, Numitor knew that the ships were running out of fuel, Lucius had no means of resupplying them, or shipping in more coal due to the shattered Valkorian trade networks. So he had only one means of refueling, and that one option happened to be in Rebel held territory.

Which was why Numitor was here, with his entourage, winding their way up the steep mountain to the villa which sprawled at its top. Numitor paused, and looked around him. Even from where he stood, two coal mines could be seen, workers toiling like ants. More could be seen in the distance, enough coal to run five hundred ships for years. Titus was here to treat with the owner of these mines, Amulius Consus Liberius Evandarus Pulcher, one of the most ruthless business men in the Empire.

@Ariovistas


#2

Lord Numitor was awaited at the top of the staircase by an immaculately dressed butler - burgundy suit entirely free from stains by the soot that had marked most of the buildings on the mansion grounds. The butler bowed. “My master has bid me beg m’lord follow to the study.” He gestured with a white-gloved hand. It was clear Titus was supposed to follow.

Upon entering the mansion, Lord Numitor was greeted by the sight of warm mahogany, walls exquisitely carved with shifting and curving patterns, and the floor covered by rich carpet. His entourage waited in the main foyer of the building, while the Lord followed the butler to a side room. The butler knocked, and an exceedingly dry voice sounded from inside.

“Enter!”

When the door opened, Lord Numitor was greeted with a cloud of smoke and an overpowering smell of cigar smoke. He coughed discreetly into his glove before steeling himself and going inside. Once his eyes had adjusted enough to the smoke to stop tearing up, he became aware he was in a richly furnished study. The walls were adorned with bookcases, leather tomes and covers immaculately ordered. More carpet covered the floor, this one so fluffy the fibers almost reached up to his calves. In the middle of the room was a raised pedestal, on which sat a desk. Behind the desk sat a rather short, balding man, currently sucking on a sigar as if he were an infant and it his mother’s breast. His eyes, however, watched the Lord shrewdly, and there was no mistaking the hint of steel behind the supposedly indolent man.

Numitor likewise steeled himself, and sat down, looking the man straight in his eyes. He was here to negotiate.


#3

”Pulcher. You know why I’m here.”

The sentence was stated as a fact, not as a question, in a hard flat voice. Numitor felt an immense distaste for the man in front of him.

”Your mines supply most of the coal in Valkoria. I am willing to buy it from you.” The moment he spoke the words, Titus regretted them. Too upfront, not suave enough…I’m not merchant.


#4

Amulius Consus Liberius Evandarus Pulcher, sole proprietor and First Director of Pulcher Hydrocarbons and Resource Development, lifted an eyebrow.

“Indeed.” The corner of his mouth smirked. “And with you half the nation, Lord Nomitor. What do you have to offer me that they do not? I do not run a charity.”


#5

”I have money. My house controls several large mines. My army controls more. You do take gold, correct?” Numitor felt a little less tense. Perhaps I can do this. Lucius must not have that coal!


#6

At this, Amulius smiled widely. In the crooks of his mouth, Titus thought he saw gold glitter. “Ah, gold. The sinew of the world, and of war, correct?” His smile turned false and twisted. “The philosophers were wrong. Gold is no longer the sinew of war. Fuel is. Without it, your armies are as helpless as children. Fuel is power. Why should I give it to you?”

Amulius stood up to his full height, which was not at all impressive, and began pacing the room. "Do not believe I have not heard of you, Nimotor. The great, noble, honourable lord. You always used rank and title as an excuse to look down on us, ever eager to pronounce judgment and condemnation on us poor common lowlives in the name of your law and your ethics, have you not? How bitter it must be for you to swallow to now need us.

What if I were to do the honourable thing, which is to back the lawful government of the Emperor, against which you are committing treason and rebellion?" At this, Amulius’ expression turned downright unsavory, and Lord Numitor fought to not let the distaste show on his face. “Oh, that’s right isn’t it. You are a traitor, my lord. You are a rebel. Your honour is worth less than the fleas in this carpet. Why should I make myself complicit to your crimes?”, Amulius ranted, before blowing a mouthful of cigar smoke right in the Lord’s face.


#7

Numitor’s face betrayed him, the insult cutting deep. He stood up, standing two feet taller than the coal tycoon. He spoke in a controlled and steady tone.

”Because if you do not, Lucius Ultor will kill thousands more Valkorians, and murder the Emperor, ruling in his place. It appears you are out of touch with reality Amulius. Valkora is gone. Lucius destroyed the city with his fleet. THAT is why I must have this coal. If Lucius gets his hands on it, he can sweep the ’lawful government’ into the sea.” Titus narrowed his eyes, while hoping he had not given away too much information.


#8

“Did you not listen, Nitumor?”, Amulius sneered up at the giant’s face. “I do not run a charity. Did you think all this”, he made a wide gesture at the room and the mansion grounds beyond, “came to be by chance? My father was a cutler. His life’s work was to make clothes for the likes of you. Everything I possess, everything I now am, I created myself. Do not for one minute dare presume to pass judgment! You, Lord Numitar, would better spend your time trying to convince me to sell you the resources, because right now you are doing a very poor job.”" Having finished his circuit around the room, he sat down in his chair, and reached down for a new cigar.


#9

“I will ignore your goads, Amulius, for without me and my legions, the lawless tribes would have overwhelmed you.” Numitor sat back down. “I will give you 15 denarii per bushel of coal. I will buy all you have. If you do not agree to these terms, Caesar will be most displeased. You wouldn’t want him to see to this personally, I’d imagine.”


#10

At the offer, Amulius burst out laughing. He didn’t stop roaring for a good minute, until he caught his breath and wiped a tear from his eye. “If Caesar were here, Notimor, whose head do you bet he would take first? Yours or mine?” His voice calmed, becoming low and with an audible hint of threat in it. “Do not threaten me with a monarch whom you yourself have betrayed. And if you insult me with such a laughable offer again, I will have you ejected from the premises.”


#11

Titus maintained a forced grim expression. “I would not speak of honor if I were you, Amulius. Those who speak of honor as if they know it are not accustomed to forcing their workers to work long hours in coal mines, for low wages.” He rose. “If you will not sell the coal, I cannot force you. Good day sir.” Lord Numitor signaled to his guards, and walked out the door. “Gaius would have burned his villa, and burned the mines, burned the whole damn thing down,” he murmured to himself, "But I cannot…’


#12

“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, Numitor.”, Amulius spoke softly, almost regretfully, as he followed behind the large man. “Nothing in life comes for free. A businessman of any caliber has to choose the best option when given the chance.”

The doors to the foyer swung open, and Lord Titus Numitor was greeted with the sight of blood, swords, and soldiers wearing hated colours standing over the corpses of his retinue. Outraged, he turned abruptly, hands going for his sword as the coal mogul backed up behind the shields of yet more soldiers.

“I would not do that if I were you, Titus.”, a deep basso voice rang off the mahogany walls. It was confident, commanding. Titus knew that voice, and did not need to turn to identify the speaker.

“Lucius.”


#13

Numitor had his hand on his sword hilt.

”Lucius.”

The greeting was terse. Numitor turned around.

Lucius was tall, like all Valkorian. His weathered face was hard and lined with furrows. His tanned arms and face were a darker brown that most Valkorians, a product of his years at sea, while his hands were rough, callouses gracing them. His bearing was one of power, complete control emanating from him. Numitor took his hand away from the hilt of his weapon.

”It has been a few months now, hasn’t it?”


#14

With faked familiarity, Lucius walked up to the lord and put his hand on his shoulder. “Come now, Titus, no need for forced pleasantry. You are my enemy, I am yours. Though I never bore you any emnity, you made a grave error when standing in the way of House Ultor. While your resistance only deserves death, I am not entirely without mercy,” Numitor snorted at this, and Lucius frowned before continuing. “I am not entirely without mercy. Join me, join your armies to mine, and together we will push the tyrant into the sea and usher in a new, bright future for all of Valkora. Isn’t that what we are both fighting for?”


#15

”You forget Lucius, that you owe me a blood debt. You had my ward executed on trumped up charges of high treason.” Numitor brushed the hand off. ”I will not join my armies with you. You would be Emperor, and you would dispose of me the moment you took the throne. After you are gone, Gaius will face judgement. But not from you, faithless and accursed. You sought the throne out of lust for power, not out of any false sense of piety.” Numitor knew the chances of survival for him were slim, but his indomitable and defamed honor prevented him from joining the man who had kickstarted the civil war.


#16

“Piety? You think it is for religion that I do this?” Lucius removed his hand from Titus’ shoulder. “Young fool, even now do you still not understand. The Emperor is a tyrant, and his reign accursed. He would serve our nation to the foreigners on a silver platter if it suited him! He is a stain upon the throne, his family a scourge on our legacy. In the past, whenever an Ultor took the throne, Valkora prospered.” He fixed the lord with a steely stare. That is the legacy I will uphold. And no one will get in my way.”

“Not even you.”


#17

”Then you know the danger you are in right now, Lucius.”
Numitor stepped away from him, and slid his blade from its sheath. It was eight feet long, and felt like a feather in his hand. He turned and started walking steadily towards the Ultorii legionaries, who at a nod from Lucius began moving towards him, blades drawn.


#18

“So you have chosen death.”

Lucius spoke, solemly, as he exited the room and sent the platoon of soldiers outside into the room.


#19

The legionaries, like the well train soldiers they were, formed a ring of shields around the lord, gemming him in. The ring began to tighten, hoping to trap Numitor where his weapon would be useless.

Instead of waiting, Numitor feinted a heavy overhand blow at a man in front of him, who lifted his shield to block it. Reversing the blade with blinding speed, he spun it backwards and ran the man through, following it up with a kick that sent him sliding off the gigantic sword. The wall of shields collapsed as Numitor swung, and the legionaries has to break formation to attack him.

Numitor swing his blade around him in a circle, forcing all of the soldiers to leap back to avoid being cut in half. One was not so lucky, and attempted to block the blow with his sword.

The Kavehan weapon sheared right through the steel, and into the bone flesh and blood beneath, slicing the man in half. His comrades jumped forward to the attack, and a whirlingly fight erupted.

Numitor swung his greatsword down, reverses it again to hit someone behind him, slid it out, kicked a body away from him, and slit the throat of another. Grabbing his sword blade with a gloved hand, he used it spearwise, and ran a many through, the weapon protruding from his back. He wrenched it up, sending blood and brains scattering around the room as the sword cleaned upwards through the dead soldier’s head.

It could not go on. A javelin buried itself in his leg, and Numitor fell to one knee, still laying about him with a vengeance. A gladius got through, slicing his arm. The bearer of the weapon was not given the chance to celebrate his achievement, as Numitor punched him in the leg, and bashed his brain in with the hilt.

The Rebel Lordbwould have died that day, if not for the running speed of his one surviving aide, who had dashed down the mountain to Numitor’s army.

Titus’ defense was failing, he was covered in blood, and the room was a heap of bodies. The survivors of the squad were gingerly picking their way across the corpses, moving with caution for fear of Waveflame. Suddenly, the door burst open, and a flood of soldiers from the Tenth legion rushed in, slaughtering the Ultorii troops. Lucius was gone, but the vengeful men vented their rage on Amulius, who was thrown from the top of the mountain. His family had left in time, while he had stayed to arrange some monetary affairs.

As Numitor was carried back down to his army, the flames from the burning villa cast light over the surrounding forests, weird shadows flickering. Numitor passed out.

The coal did not fall into Lucius’ hands. He returned to his ships, with some coal, but not enough to keep him ships steaming indefinitely. He had his fleet anchor near his army camp, and continued to fight the war on land. Numitor recovered, but he walked with a slight limp whenever it rained.

@staff close it.


#20