(1874-01-17) The Firebrand and the Pathfinder
The Firebrand and the Pathfinder
Summary: Darius goes to speak to Rutilius Fulgentius Durans about the fate of the empire.
Date: OOC Date
Related: Any Vir Sidus logs
NPCs: Rutilius Fulgentius Durans


Limitanei headquarters, Valesca, Imperial Remnant
A library turned military Headquarters.

Like many headquarters of Imperial organisations in Valesca, the Limitanei have been forced to lower their standards. Unlike others, however, they have chosen to give up entirely on any pretence of importance, though of course they remain some of the Remnant's most crucial sensors and actors. The Limitanei occupy a humble building in a non-descript mostly commercial part of town, far away from the Senate and the Chancery - even from the Legion. Even their guards are non-descript, abjuring the pomp that has described the Vir Sidus Empire for near 2,000 years and choosing instead for strong defensive positions - odd, given their location. No sign declares who occupies said building, but those who need to know, know.

Once one has been shown into the headquarters, they would be led past an internal guardpost which is most definitely occupied by heavily armed and armoured soldiers on duty, and into a vast library like area that evidently is the nerve centre of said headquarters. Deeper in this room sits the solitary figure of one of the Limitanei's tribunes. He's got a half full bottle of wine in front of him, next to a likely empty ceramic jug. Rutlius Fulgentius Durans, late the Primus Pilus of Legio XIV and discoverer of the true Qatunax savagery sits in a plain, terracotta tunic, looking solemnly at his glass.

To say that Darius navigated all of that without assistance would be a lie. He will of course tell his cousin he did, but for now he is escorted by one of the Limitanei as they wind through the maze like structure until eventually the soldier nods to Darius and gestures to the room. Darius nods and claps the man on the shoulder. "Thank you soldier." Then heads into the room.

The Princeps looks around the room. Noting the layout, the structure and the plain style setting. He also notes the wine bottle and walks toward the tribune. "Ah. Working hard I see Tribune." He says with his slight smirk on his face. He holds up a hand to let Durans know he is only jesting and then stops a respectable distance from the man's desk. "Are you too bust to take a guest?"

To say that Durans looks tired would be an immense euphemism. More than tired, he appears to be worn, morose. Once, this officer was highly favoured and in the running for eventual promotion to the top … maybe even Consul of the Legion? That was when the Empire still stood. Strong. Proud. Holding the banner of history and always pushing forward civilisation. Now they were humbled, weak. Uncertain. Durans does not look uncertain, but he does look sad. Still, the Tribune rises from his seat, bowing from his neck in the restrained Vir Sidian manner. Obsequious Westerners they are not. "My prince. Of course not, and I've wine, too. But it is not the beautiful Falernian of our youth." He extends a hand towards a seat nearby. His voice is steady, but one can tell he has been drinking for some time.

Darius smiles and takes the offered seat, even accepting the wine. He sips it and looks at the red liquid. "It …. Most certainly is not." He clears his throat and regards the man carefully. His blue eyes scan every inch of this fabled Vir Sidian officer. He sets the glass down and leans back in his chair. "I want to recruit you." He says casually. "You and however many Limitanei you can muster without nuetering the Remnant's ability to scout and combat the Barbarians."

The Prince takes a deep breatha nd lets it out slowly. "I am taking the Thirteenth, bolstered considerably West in the Colonial territory. There my mission is to engage and route the Barbarains that took Colonial lands. I don't know yet if we're returning them, but we will free them from the savages. We are going by way of Lakes Constantius and Divinity, using this time when it freezes to march across to the West. By taking this path I hope to avoid the Green Skins and the Barbarians alike. We can make contact with the Aequor Colony Noble of the region, establish a base camp and then teach those sons of whores how to war." He smiles darkly. "To do that I need you. I need pathfinders to clear the way for me and the Legion. I believe you are the only person who can do this. I can make do mind you, but I believe you cna save Imperial Lives on this march."

Durans looks up from his wine for the first time in a day or two with hope. As a man, he is not prone to descending into his cups, but despair has driven him lately so to do. He swallows almost nervously. "The southern route… the southern route is the dangerous one. The northern route has snow and ice plenty. It would kill many, most likely, no matter how slowly you go. It is not hospitable for humans now. Not really. But the south… the south bears opportunity." The Tribune rises from his seat and walks, half stumbles, over to a shelf in the library-cum-command post. Out comes a series of old maps, dated 1757.

Unrolling the maps and ensuring that they line up properly, Durans nods. "I will of course accept. I'm not here to mope forever, my Prince. These maps were made by our Legions just after Marinor decided to be cheeky with us. They were accurate then… and I don't think much has changed. Here." A finger points to the north edge of Lake Constantius, still within the current Empire. "We've two fortresses. In the winter, we occupy the southern one, only. The savages have shown their ability to cross frozen features at… Henius." He looks away, embarassed to be bringing up the sack.

Darius nods as the man speaks and looks over the maps carefully as the Tribue goes over the details. He is internally embarassed to discover he did not know about only occupying one of the forts in the winter, but keeps that silent. Instead he taps the map. "Truth to those words Tribune. However I think wiht us coming along the shores of Constantius, we'd have the whole of the lake between us, and hopefully that will keep them at bay." He frowns. "However, the Southern one is more hospitable." He sighs and nods. "South it is. We'll have to risk the Barbarians. We need to arrive with as much of the Over Sized Legion as we can intact if we have hope of reclaiming the Colonial territories." He nods once. "Would you agree?"

Durans ponders the idea, hand held to his mouth and chin deeply in thought. His dark green eyes remain firmly fixed on the map, as if doing so would divinate what actually lives along the shores of the dual Lakes of Constantius and Divinity. "Yes. Yes, I do. The ice is thick there, right now. We can drag our kit on sled, and our men can ski. If they know how to." He smiles thinly. The Limitanei do, at least. "If not, we can teach them! It is quick, once you learn, much quicker than walking. But they must know how to ski and then get out of skis if enemy arrive. And of the OTHER enemy… the green ones."

Nodding Darius grins. "Ski. Clever. I'll get to training the men on it now while we continue to gather plans and supplies. The faster we travel the better." He nods once and offers his hand to Durrans. "I am honored to have you with the Thirteenth Tribune Durans. With men like you we WILL restore the Empire." He smirks. "As for the green ones. What are they but some myth turned real? They steal children, they'll find soldiers of the Empire much harder to take on than babes in their beds."

With purpose returned to him, Fulgentius Durans seems reanimated, and not only by good wine. "My Prince, I would be honoured, and I know that what Limitanei I bring with me shall be too. Since I laid eyes on the savages south of our border I had despaired. The years that followed made this no better. But now, we have hope, thanks to you." He dips his head, genuinely grateful. Durans then says, "The green ones. They are real. They are savage. They come in large numbers, and they despoil with their claws, their weapons… most are small, some are big. They inhabit places in the Ergonian mountains that we know not. Come out of nowhere. We know not where they are strong, nor weak."

Darius frowns on hearing about the green skin threat. He looks to the map. "Well. Let's hope we can avoid them. I want war with this Melekete, not this … Goblin Kingdom." He gestures to the map as if the two were on the hundred plus year map. He then thinks and adds, "Have some of your men make copies of this. Add what we know of both the Goblins and the Quatenex. Good maps are worth the boots of an entire Legion when they march. Once you have one made up, I'll have copies made and distributed to every Tribune and Centurian in the Legion. We'll know the route at least."

"We don't even know if they do war, your highness, just that they attack. They seem to leave alone our little merchant caravans in that Rhone pass, but we don't know if there are even green skins there. To the south, we have not traded for over twenty years… and we know not there, either. I am sorry that the Limitanei cannot provide you with any more information on them." Durans grimaces. "Like so much since the Empire has been hurt, we simply do not know." He rubs his hands together, not despairing now, but eager to work. "Of course. We've scribes too, you know, and will get them working on modern copies. On vellum, that can withstand warm and cold and wet."

"Excellent!" Darius says clapping the man on the shoulder. "What we don't know we'll discover together my friend." He nods and squeezes the man's shoulder. "And from that knowledge we will strike at our real foe, these barbarians and burn them from Tirth like a plague." He grins and nods once. "And then," he winks to Durans, "We'll get some damn real wine eh?"

"I'm sure those poor Colonials must have kept at least one real vine shoot, right?" Durans says, good cheer in his voice.

Letting out a laugh, a real laugh, for the first time in a long time Darius grins and heads towards the door. "It wouldn't surprise me if they did! They have to have SOME culture over there right? I mean. They cna't be boorish and drink rum or brandy right?" He bows to Durans, lowering his head respectfully. Then is gone. The Princeps has more to plan, and lots of work to do.

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