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  1. Note from Chris: FORTUNA AUGUSTI JULY-SEPTEMBER 76 AD It is the 829th year since the founding of Rome, and for the better part of two decades the empire has had peace. After bringing a swift defeat to the usurpers and traitors who with their very actions moved to unravel the fabrics that made up the sacred traditions of the eternal city, Imperator Quintus Flavius Caesar Alexander Augustus has managed to maintain balance by directing the ambitions of those under his control toward strengthening their empire internally with great architectural projects, and fortifying her borders against the ever-ravenous barbarian tribes inhabiting the fringes of the world. IN APRIL all of the Roman world celebrates the gods and the fortune of the Caesars. In the first senate session of the month, with the nineteenth birthday of Caesar's eldest son Titus just days away, the Senate invests upon Titus the traditional imperial powers - the maius imperium - along with the tribunician powers in the same manner as Augustus had passed them onto Tiberius half a century earlier. With these powers Titus is essentially co-Caesar, equal to Quintus in constitutional power, if yet lacking in his personal authority and majesty. The month of Aprilis is marked for celebration; celebration for the new powers placed upon Titus, and for the Ludi Megalenses (on April 4th) celebrating Cybele the Goddess of Motherhood; the Ludi Ceriales (on April 12th), honoring Ceres the Goddess of Grains; and the Ludi Florales (on the 27th), honoring Flora, Goddess of Flowers. It is a joyous time across the empire. IN MAY Quintus Caesar, along with his son Titus and retinue of his closest companions, embarks on a tour of the empire to visit the legions and frontier forts so that each commander and solider might see Titus' face, know his voice, and what sort of man he is. Across the frontier they engage in small raids and drills, with Quintus deferring command to Titus. Titus, unwilling to let his pride be wounded, performs marvelously and is quick to earn the respect of the frontier legions (arguably the most important to a Caesar's base of power). Later in the month, while on the lines of the Danube, Quintus Caesar falls gravely ill. Spartan in his diet and regimen, he is a man who has rarely fallen ill at any point in his life, and it is a great surprise to his attendants when this new ailment ceases all progress of their tour. In a private moment witnessed only by Quintus, Titus, and Quintus' closest aide, Quintus hands his signet ring - a family heirloom of the Flavians - to Titus, effectively conferring absolute power to his son. IN JUNE Caesar briefly recovers from his sickness, but finds himself short of breath and energy and makes the decision to cut his tour short in order to return to Rome. Once returned, his condition again worsens and he calls upon his closest allies. In yet another closed-door meeting, he presents Titus, wearing his ring, and one-by-one each proclaims their loyalty to Titus, his family, and to Rome. Quintus announces that he intends to retire into private life, for he will not stand to have his image of strength wither away in front of the senate and people. At the suggestion of his closest advisors, and in an attempt to avoid any sort of turbulence in handing over power, Quintus creates a consilium, or council, of ten men who will serve the empire and Titus Caesar. This first iteration of the council is made up of: Two Flavians to serve as potential successors: Jullus, and Octavius Flavius Alexander The Princeps Senatus - Directly representing the Senate. Two Consuls - Revolving every year to represent the empire at large. The Praetorian Prefect - To represent the Equestrians. Two Peoples' Tribunes - To represent the lower classes. Two Companions - Chosen directly by Titus to support and represent him as called upon. IT IS NOW JULY and Quintus Caesar has retired to his family's villa in the countryside between Rome and Naples. He remains weakened from the mysterious illness, and will likely remain so for the rest of his life. Though he remains away from the weight of power, he still offers guidance and support to his son, and maintains alliances across the empire in an effort to help as he can. The majority of his time is spent writing his personal memoirs and a treatise on tactics in warfare. Titus sits as Caesar. All decisions that are made are first made within the Consilium, and then taken to the Senate or people as needed. Rome's nobility, as ambitious as ever, now see the Consilium as the gateway to glory and power for their families. They are eager to prove themselves worthy of inclusion within Caesar's inner circle. Outside of Rome the barbarian tribes remain as restless as ever, but it is the continued success of new Seleucid Empire against Parthia in east that poses the greatest growing threat to Rome. Will Titus prove himself the commander that his father and grandfather were, or will he find a new path on which to forge his legacy? All roads lead to Rome... and from it. Where will yours take you?
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