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Titus Cornasidius Sabinus

To the Praetorian Prefect

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Following the events of People Watching

The marble halls of the Palatine echoed with the purposeful strides of Titus in his hobnailed military boots. Palace slaves scurried out of his way as he thundered along the labyrinthine passageways that riddled the office areas of the palace complex as intricately as a beehive. His cloak flapped behind him and every now and again he adjusted it over his shoulder with a snarl. In his hand was clenched a sealed papyrus scroll, one he had been working on since returning to the Castra Praetoria yesterday evening. Now, finished guard attendance with his cohort at the Palatine, having dismissed the men, he made a detour back into the palace to personally deliver the missive to the confidential secretary of the Praetorian Prefect, his employer, and ostensibly the second most powerful man in Rome, tasked with the security of the Imperial family. 

He barged into the ante-chamber of the Prefect's spacious offices. This room was handed over to row after row of desks, staffed by freedmen scribes, under the direction of the Prefect's personal secretary who, like a king surveying his domain, sat on a slightly raised dais at the end of the room, with the large window overlooking a fine vista of Rome behind him. The scribes barely looked up as he entered but their boss did and returned Titus' scowl with one of his own. As the Tribune approached, the secretary gave a raised brow as if to say "what now?" It was amazing how the pair could communicate in only looks and grunts! Titus slammed the letter down on the desk, making an inkhorn totter dangerously over a stack of virgin paperwork. "For the eyes of the Prefect...only!" he added, to underline the point. With that, he turned on his heels and left.

Quote

To the illustrious Praetorian Prefect from Titus Cornasidius Sabinus, Tribune of the Second Cohort of the Praetorian Guard, I bid you greeting.

It is with reluctance yet in the full pursuit of and honoring of my sacred duty towards the protection of the Augustus and his sacred family that I am moved to supply your eminence with this missive. Like all members of this esteemed body I am aware, at all times, of the oath made on entry to preserve and protect the lives of the Augustus and his kin who represent in their persons the sacred continuity and position of Rome, chosen by the Gods. 

I have, in the course of routine activity in the city, and through the network of informants that I maintain in pursuit of the above objectives, common to all officers of the Guard, come to have concerns about the loyalty of a faction of senators currently residing in the capital. At present, my information is limited but I hope, in time and with official sanction, to continue to conduct non-invasive, clandestine surveillance to see whether these rumors contain any kernel of truth. If they do, I am sure all necessary action will be taken for the preservation of the safety of the State and the Augustus. You will surely agree with me that any rumors of this nature must be properly investigated as to do anything else would be a dereliction of duty.

My concerns center around the family of senator Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus and, more specifically, the family of his wife, Horatia Justina. The senator is recently returned from a posting in the north and, undeniably, has a strong set of credentials in favor of his loyalty although, as you will be aware, many more loyal persons than he have, in the past, turned traitor. There exist a growing body of tales amongst the plebeian mob that the senator plans to build great public works, or otherwise sponsor suitably grand munera, with a view for winning political favor. This, in itself, is surely no treason and serves to benefit the City and the People. My concern is that this is either the first step or a front for something altogether more sinister and hinting at a dangerous predilection for power or otherwise a belief in the position of the senate as a caste to possess favor distinct from that owed to the Augustus. Anyone courting the mob who is not of the Imperial family ought, in first instance, to be scrutinised.

I have spoken, in passing, with the senator's wife who piqued my interest in that there may be more afoot than what meets the eye. I met the honorable lady in a tavern frequented by tradesmen hard by the forum, into which she hobbled with an injured foot and no coherent story for why she should be there and in such condition. From further investigation, I can confirm that her father is Marcus Horatius Justinus, a man who I am informed fled Rome in the Civil War and took refuge with the senate-in-exile in Antioch, under the pretender Scaurus. Marcus Horatius, besides Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus, also has a second son in law in the person of Secundus Quinctilius Varus. Both sons-in-law have military connections which causes concern if this family network should prove to be disloyal. Further still, I understand that Aulus Calpurnius has personal and professional connections with Lucius Cassius Longinus, the scion of a family (and decorated military commander likewise) steeped deeply in the dye of bloody, damnable treason. 

In short, your eminence, I believe there are abundant and suitable grounds for the Guard to investigate this family - purely covertly at this stage and without upsetting the countenance of the Augustus and his consilium - to assess whether there is any threat in the rumors circulating and the general threat posed by such a network of connected individuals. My men and I are well placed to follow your orders accordingly, with all discretion and diligence. 

Hail Caesar!

Titus Cornasidius Sabinus, Tribune II Cohort

 

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