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October 60CE.

(This takes place during Lucilla's funeral)

There was a long reason for the wasting illness that had plagued her. The funeral procession led through the streets of Rome. Surrounding the casket as it was drawn were the population in the clothes of mourning. Her family were around her, no doubt it would be her male relatives who would give her the funerary orations and share her achievements (and theirs with the populace). She wore a death mask that concealed her features from view. Inside, images of Darius' death, happy and troubled memories stirred as her body began to twitch. Which God or Goddess from down below had decided to bless (or curse Rome)? Finally, a dark memory took hold. One of anger..... betrayal.... 

Her hand lifted and knocked the shroud off. There were cries of shock from the crowd and followed by silence. Perhaps this was all a trick? An illusive one the family had pulled to lure out enemies into the open? Her hand was pale, tinged with grey and purple where the blood had begun to pool. The mask was pulled off and thrown, smashed on the floor as the litter was placed down on the ground, and she pulled herself up. Her funeral gown was beautiful, she wore ornate necklaces, rings and bracelets as she had done in real life. Her face, beautiful once in life had faded with her mouth semi-open and her eyes grey, clouded and hungrily. 

A shocked (and terrified) praetorian stepped forward to assist her only to be sharply yanked forward. Her arm grabbed him by his uniform and pulled him towards her with surprising strength. Her mouth dug into his neck as he screamed in complete terror and tore with her teeth. She gulped down what she could.

Screams of panic filled Rome as people began to fight or flee.

Soon the praetorian's eyes changed and together they began to attack others who approached.... 

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He could not believe what he was seeing. 

It... it made no sense.

Gods! 

The sight caused all the colour to instantly drain from his face. Instinctively, his hands pushed Horatia and his sister, Cornelia out of the way. Already the people were in a complete panic as people ran around screaming. Pushing each other out of the way and trying to either find safety or shelter. He did not wish to look at whatever foul creature had taken control over his cousin. No... no.... this could not be happening. He leaned down to them, picked up his children in order to hold them to help keep them away. "Come on! We have to get out of here!" He yelled loudly at them, desperately trying to scream over the sound of the populace. Appius looked at his other friends and kinfolk but it was hard to see them all. All he could do was safe the ones who he was with now. In the distance, he saw the members of the praetorian guard protect the Imperial family with their swords drawn and had taken a defensive front.

Gods... he wished he was armed. 

@Gothic

 

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