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April 75 CE

Quintus was growing tired of Rome. He was a restless man. Always had been. He supposed it was the Flavian blood of his father, and perhaps even some of his Cornelian ancestors, that pushed him to always rise to find new challenges to overcome, or enemies to conquer. Thanks to his brother Jullus, the German frontier was mostly placated. Britannia and the Danube were always active, but were more areas of controlled enforcement rather than conquest. The true enemy was building in the east, and no Roman had yet been successful in conquering the east. It was in his name to do so.

However, as always there were matters to attend in the Eternal City. The commander of the Praetorians spoke with him that morning of matters to keep an eye on.

Over a decade prior, Quintus had personally seen to the reorganization of the Praetorian Guard. He enacted stricter, more rigid rules for requirements to join the Guard, and rules for length of service. Well over half of the guard was replaced after he donned the name 'Caesar', all of whom were urged to accept Caesar's offer of an early retirement bonus and a plot of land in the provinces. Those who refused the offer were quietly imprisoned or executed for treason; those who accepted were let be. From that point on, Caesar had maintained a careful watch over the Guard, consistently transferring veterans loyal to him in and pulling others out.

He also decided to place men he absolutely trusted as the commanders of the guard. The first was a man of German blood, whom had at various times in his life been an enemy to the Flavians, and a protector: Alaricus Aetius. The second was Lucius Marcius Tertullus, a cousin-in-law whom had supported Quintus' rise to power and fought bravely for him over the years.

While he personally appointed the Prefects, he allowed the Prefects themselves to oversee the recruitment of new guards, according to the rules he set in place. In his experience the tribunes were the men to be wary of. They were hungry and self-centered. They looked down on centurions, and saw the Prefects above them as the end goal. But such men, if they were to ever become Prefect, wouldn't be satisfied. Such ambition knew no bounds. Clemens had shown all of the empire as much. As a result, Caesar also required regular inspections of the guard, to ensure all those serving were worthy of the prestige associated with their position.

The most recent had brought with it interesting developments, which led to Caesar calling upon one tribune by the name of Titus Cornasidius Sabinus, whom had finally arrived.

"Caesar!" The tribune stood at attention once within the Aula.

Quintus waved his hand to tell the man to be at ease, and then motioned for him to step closer. "I have just recently spoken with a good friend of mine by the name of Aulus Praetextatus. You know him?"

Sabinus nodded. "I am familiar with the name."

"Indeed," Quintus said, and then took a long, calculated, quiet look at the tribune before him. "He seems to think highly of you."

Sabinus spoke up. "I am pleased to hear that, Caesar."

Quintus brought his hand back up, this time telling the man to hold his tongue. "I've known Praetextatus for a long time, now. I trust him. I trust his judgement and typically pay close attention to his recommendations... but I found it odd the way the conversation just popped up." With a quick motion, Quintus flung his fingers away from his body to mimic an explosion. "That he might suddenly have a care for the position of the Prefect of the Grains, or Prefect of Egypt itself."

"You understand, Sabinus, that grain is the most important resource to our city. If its supply is impacted in any way, my job quickly becomes much more difficult. In years past, lesser men have attempted to use that knowledge to their advantage. All of them failed." Quintus stood and moved closer to the tribune.

"You have served the empire well, from what Tertullus tells me - and he tells me many things. A term in Egypt, and Britannia. Yet, I have not once heard of your name until today. A pity, then, that the manner in which I hear of you is one that feeds suspicion.

"I can see the ambition in that small grin you can't seem to take off your face. I'm sure even now you are thinking of how you can get ahead of whatever obstacle I throw out next."

"Caesar, I--"

Caesar stepped closer to cut Sabinus off, looking him straight in the eyes. "You are being reassigned to Egypt, resuming your former post beneath the Prefect. I don't trust you enough to place you in a place of such power. But, I do prefer to have men of ability working for me rather than against me. The choice is yours what you will do with this opportunity, but rest assured there are only two outcomes: More opportunity, or death. Now get out of here."

Caesar waved his hands and turned his back on the tribune before another word could be said. After Sabinus had left, Quintus called over his secretary.

"Write to Prefect Vitellius in Egypt that Tribune Sabinus is on his way."

"Is that all, Dominus?"

Quintus nodded. Vitellius already knew what to do.

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