Rise of the Steam Goddess (Arcana Imperii Book 1)


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Then too shalt thou be bound with heavy chains of iron and cast out from the light of day and imprisoned in the nethermost pit, thy snaky locks overcome and shorn from thy head. Then the world shall be owned by all in common, no field marked off from another. Oak groves shall drip with honey, streams of wine well up on every side, lakes of oil abound.

No price shall be asked for fleeces dyed scarlet, but of themselves shall the flocks grow red to the astonishment of the shepherd, and in every sea the green seaweed will laugh with flashing jewels. Return, ye Muses, and throw open rescued Helicon; now again may your company gather there. Nowhere now in Italy does the hostile trumpet forbid song with its viler bray. Let peace, Stilicho, succeed these age-long labours and ease thine heart by graciously listening to my song.

Think it no shame to interrupt thy long toil and to consecrate a few moments to the Muses. After the subjugation of the Alpine tribes and the salvation of the kingdoms of Italy the heavens welcomed the Emperor Theodosius [56] to the place of honour due to his worth, and so shone the brighter by the addition of another star. Then was the power of Rome entrusted to thy care, Stilicho; in thy hands was placed the governance of the world. But Rufinus for cruelty and crime brook not peace, and a tainted mouth will not forgo its draughts of blood , Rufinus, I say, began once more to inflame the world with wicked wars and to disturb peace with accustomed sedition.

By what means beat back the rising storm? On all sides are hate and the threat of arms. What am I to do? Instant dangers ring me round and a gleaming sword hangs above my head. What is left but to plunge the world into fresh troubles and draw down innocent peoples in my ruin? Gladly will I perish if the world does too; general destruction shall console me for. I will not lay down my power before my life. So spake he, and as if Aeolus unchained the winds so he, breaking their bonds, let loose the nations, clearing the way for war; and, that no land should be free therefrom, apportioned ruin throughout the world, parcelling out destruction.

Some pour across the frozen surface of swift-flowing Danube and break with the chariot wheel what erstwhile knew but the oar; others invade the wealthy East, led through the Caspian Gates and over the Armenian snows by a newly-discovered pass. The fields of Cappadocia reek with slaughter; Argaeus, father of swift horses, is laid waste.

Hence comes mourning to Asia, while Europe is left to be the sport and prey of Getic hordes even to the borders of fertile Dalmatia. Alas, in how swift ruin perish. An empire won and kept at the expense of so much bloodshed, born from the toils of countless leaders, knit together through so many years by Roman hands, one coward traitor overthrew in the twinkling of an eye.

Some guard the walls with watchful outposts, others hasten to fortify the harbour with a chain of ships. But fierce Rufinus is full of joy in the leaguered city and exults in its misfortunes, gazing at the awful spectacle of the surrounding country from the summit of a lofty tower. Great is his pleasure thereat; from time to time he laughs and knows but one regret—that it is not his own hand that strikes.

It is his boast, moreover, that to him alone the enemy camp opened its gates, and that there was allowed right of parley between them. Rufinus himself in their midst drapes tawny skins of beasts about his breast thorough in his barbarity , and uses harness and huge quivers and twanging bows like those of the Getae—his dress openly showing the temper of his mind. What furtive murmurs! For, poor wretches, they could not even weep nor, without risk, ease their grief in converse. What end shall there ever be to our hard lot? Who will free us from this death-fraught anarchy, this day of tears?

On this side the barbarian hems us in, on that Rufinus oppresses us; land and sea are alike denied us. A pestilence stalks through the country: yes, but a deadlier terror haunts our houses. Stilicho, delay no more but succour thy dying land; of a truth here are thy children, here thy home, here were taken those first auspices for thy marriage, so blessed with children, here the palace was illumined with the torches of happy wedlock.

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Such were the tempests that vexed the turbulent East. But so soon as ever winter had given place to the winds of spring and the hills began to lose their covering of snow, Stilicho, leaving the fields of Italy in peace and safety, set in motion his two armies and hastened to the lands of the sunrise, combining.

Never before did there meet together under one command such numerous bands, never in one army such a babel of tongues. One common purpose inspires them all; grudges lately harboured are laid aside; the vanquished feels no hate, the victor shows no pride.

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So it is said that the army that followed Xerxes, gathered into one from all quarters of the world, drank up whole rivers in their courses, obscured the sun with the rain of their arrows, passed through mountains on board ship, and walked the bridged sea with contemptuous foot.

Scarce had Stilicho crossed the Alps when the barbarian hordes began to restrict their forays and for fear of his approach gathered together in the plain and enclosed their pasture lands within a defensive ring. They then built an impregnable fortification with a double moat, planted stakes two deep at intervals along its summit and set wagons rigged with ox-hide all round like a wall.

Panic fear seized upon Rufinus as he saw this from afar, and his cheeks grew pale. He stood with ice-cold face, not knowing whether to fly, to own himself. Of what use now were his riches, his vast stores of golden ore, his halls upheld with red marble pillars, his sky-towering palace?

He is troubled with thoughts of coming peace and cannot sleep, often starts up distraught from his bed and suffers as punishment the fear of punishment. All Gaul is sworn to my destruction. Am I thought fit prey for all those armies? Are so many standards advanced against a solitary man?

Whence comes this lust for blood? Stilicho lays claim to either hemisphere and will brook no equal. The world forsooth must lie at his feet.

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Italy is his kingdom, Libya his dominion, Spain and Gaul his empire. Why should he encroach on thy share? Let him leave Illyria, send back his Eastern troops, divide the. But if thou neglect to come to mine aid and make not ready to prevent my death, this head of mine shall not fall alone—by the dead and the stars I swear it. The blood of another shall be mingled with mine.


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I will not go unaccompanied to the waters of Styx nor shall the victor be free to exult in my death. Meanwhile Stilicho, exulting in the thought of advancing upon the foe and of the narrow stretch of country that separated him from the fortifications, inflames with his words the hearts of his troops already thirsting for battle. On the left wing are posted the Armenians, farther to the right the Gauls. A beholder might have seen bits covered with warm foam, clouds of dust uprising, and on all sides waving banners bearing the device of a scarlet dragon; the very air seemed to teem with these fierce flying monsters.

https://tisulhamar.tk Hearts beat high with a courage that is lavish of life. Neither precipice nor deep river could check their advance: their headlong speed would have overthrown all barriers. If the two armies had then joined battle in this temper ruined Greece would not have witnessed such disaster as she did, the cities of the Peloponnese would still have been flourishing untouched by the hand. Burning Corinth would not have heated the waves of her two seas, nor would cruel chains have led in captivity the matrons of Athens. That day might have set an end to our disasters and destroyed the seeds of future calamities.

For shame, envious Fortune, of what a triumph didst thou rob us! His wavering mind ponders the uncertain issue: shall he continue his advance or fail his brave beginnings? Loyalty annuls the prickings-on of valour. Shall Rufinus be your tool? O the grief of it!

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Cities marked out for the flames, walls doomed to destruction, I call you to witness: see, I retire; I leave the unhappy world to its fate. Turn your banners, captains; to your homes, soldiers of the east.

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Needs must we obey. Silence, ye clarions; men, forbear to shoot. At these words an unanimous roar went up from all the companies. They will not separate, and demand the battle of which they have been defrauded. East and west claim the leadership of that illustrious chief. Who strikes the lance from our hand and bids us unstring the bent bow?

Who dares dictate to an army under arms? Valour once roused knows no abatement.

Rise of the Steam Goddess (Arcana Imperii Book 1) Rise of the Steam Goddess (Arcana Imperii Book 1)
Rise of the Steam Goddess (Arcana Imperii Book 1) Rise of the Steam Goddess (Arcana Imperii Book 1)
Rise of the Steam Goddess (Arcana Imperii Book 1) Rise of the Steam Goddess (Arcana Imperii Book 1)
Rise of the Steam Goddess (Arcana Imperii Book 1) Rise of the Steam Goddess (Arcana Imperii Book 1)
Rise of the Steam Goddess (Arcana Imperii Book 1) Rise of the Steam Goddess (Arcana Imperii Book 1)

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