Early Life Edit
Theron Xanthos was born to Andreas and an unnamed woman in Corinth, Greece. Theron's mother was Roman, but his father, Andreas was Greek and the three of them were very close. Some time when Theron was four years old, his family moved to Rome to live in a safer environment of Roman cities. The move was hard on Theron at first, barely able to speak Latin and being Greek, he was mocked and ignored by the children around him simply for being Greek. Theron only had one friend growing up who accepted Theron's Greek heritage and would even take time to teach Theron how to speak Latin. But even with that one friend he could call his own, Theron loved spending time with his family the most. Theron's mother was the one who would do anything to protect her son, no matter the cost. Andreas was a more caring father who would make tiny wooden figurines that Theron would play with for hours on end. When Theron was six years old, he would sometimes learn Latin writing from a tutor that his parents would pay for, this helped Theron be able to connect more with the other children, and he thought this would help him get more friends, and it did and Theron was happy for a time. Theron's happiness would soon disappear like his mother did. Theron's mother left the house for her farming job one day and never came back, no warning, no expectancy. Theron would lay down in his bed every night, waiting for his mother to return, each night he was only more sad when she never did. With that happening, Andreas became more protective of Theron, going as far as to bring him with to his farming job and kept an eye on Theron as much as he could. Despite this, Andreas still took time to be as best a father he could, teaching Theron how to hunt, how to count and spell, and how to be the best person he could be. Theron and Andreas were very close their entire lives, even though it was to take a strange turn.
The Ones In Hoods Edit
It was 24 BC when it happened. Theron and his father Andreas were in a local market, getting groceries for that night's meal. Andreas, as always, let a now ten year old Theron wander a bit, but made sure to keep him in sight due to the paranoia he had developed ever since Theron's mother disappeared. Near the end of their shopping, Andreas led Theron to a local blacksmith so that they could get some nails to fix their roof. While Andreas was speaking to the blacksmith, Theron couldn't help but notice someone walking around the market. This person seemed female, she wore a white hood that covered her face. She had on strange looking gauntlets and Theron could've sworn that she was missing her ring finger. Theron was curious, was she some kind of ghost watching the world of the living? Theron couldn't put his finger on it, but decided to pay her no mind as his father spoke with the blacksmith. The blacksmith was the kind of Roman who didn't see Greeks as equals, even with their history in philosophy or the likes of Homer. The blacksmith flat out refused to give Andreas the nails needed, even after being offered a price 10 percent higher than the original. The blacksmith reacted violently, shouting for Andreas and Theron to leave his stand or he'd call the guards. The shouting drew attention from and equally narrow-minded crowd, who began to yell and degrade Andreas and Theron. Andreas put his hand on Theron's shoulder and nudged him forward and told him to walk quickly, and they did, only to be blocked by the crowd. Andreas pulled Theron close, telling him that everything was going to be okay. The crowd continued to shout at the two, some even throwing things at them. Eventually, a middle-aged man pulled out a dagger and walked up to Theron. Andreas saw that Theron was in danger and stepped in front of Theron and grabbed the man's hands, stopping the knife in it's tracks. Theron watched his father struggle against the man, then the man pushed Andreas back a few feet and Andreas landed on his back. The man turned back to Theron and raised his dagger in the air. Theron closed his eyes and awaited death, only to hear a strange sound. Theron opened his eyes and saw a blade protrude from the man's chest before being pulled out. The man fell dead and the same woman Theron had seen earlier told Theron that he and his father were safe and free. More people from the crowd began pulling weapons, seven people in total. The woman seemed unscathed and made the cry of an eagle, and arrows were being shot at the people with weapons, killing them. After this was over, Andreas went up to the woman and couldn't express enough gratitude for her. The woman revealed herself to be Caecilia and said that protecting the people of Rome was their job. Theron looked at the roofs and saw several other people in white hoods wielding bows looking down to him. Andreas asked Caecilia who they were. Caecilia asked Andreas and Theron to accompany her to an undisclosed location, stating she would answer all their questions on the way.
A New Cause Edit
Theron followed along with Andreas to whatever destination Caecilia the hooded one had in mind. Along the way, Caecilia explained that she was part of a secret group called The Hidden Ones. The Hidden Ones were a group of warriors from different parts of the world united in the cause of killing anyone who would dare to take away the freedom of humanity. It was their responsibility to make sure humanity's freedom to choose their lives as they see fit. Theron then asked why the Hidden Ones kill, despite their ideals of peace and freedom. Caecilia explained that while it is never easy to end someone's life, the fact remains that sometimes people need to die in order for there to be change. Andreas then asked why Caecilia had the two follow her, to which she said that the two of them could be members of the group. Andreas asked why they could be in the group, to which Caecilia said that the two of them showed strength and strong will, something not easily expressed in most individuals. Andreas was skeptical, what about Theron? Andreas asked Caecilia what would happen to Theron if they joined the group. Caecilia explained that the two of them would be trained by members of the group either separately or together. Andreas didn't like the idea of Theron being trained by himself without Andreas there, but ultimately kept on. He was intent on joining to give the people freedom.
Eventually, the group made it to the destination: The Pantheon District of Rome. Then, Caecilia led them all to a tall building bearing a strange insignia on the front. Theron and Andreas stepped inside and were lead to a big room full of scrolls and books, along with a woman sitting on chair reading something. Caecilia told the woman that they had possible new recruits. The woman stood up and faced them. She was an old woman of about fifty years, with some freckles on her face, long dark hair, and a white hood like the others had. The woman took a look at Theron and Andreas then welcomed them and introduced herself as Amunet, the Mentor of the Hidden Ones in Rome. Amunet then asked Andreas if he wanted to join the Hidden Ones, to which he said yes, but then asked what would become of Theron. Amunet understood Theron's concern and said that he would have to be trained by himself, it was the only way Theron would be able to develop fast. Theron was scared of the idea and told it to Andreas, to which Amunet said that it was okay he was scared, but it was the only way. Andreas then asked if the two would at least be able to see each other regularly, just so they wouldn't forget about each other. Amunet said yes as that was what she had intended. Andreas then knelt down to Theron and told him that them becoming one of the Hidden Ones would help many people and told Theron he had to be strong. Theron nodded and accepted his fate as Andreas gave Theron his thin armband and tied it around Theron so that he wouldn't forget about Andreas. Andreas got up and told Amunet that they were ready to begin training. Amunet turned to Caecilia and told her to get Ayanda. Caecilia bowed her head and went to get whomever Ayanda was. A few minutes later, Caecilia came back with a tall man with dark skin and thick muscles, he introduced himself as Ayanda from Egypt. Amunet told Theron that he would be apprenticed to Ayanda and Ayanda would train Theron. Ayanda told Theron that they should get started, so Theron walked to Ayanda, as well as his new life.
Beginning Lessons Edit
The first few days of training were simple for Theron. He was being taught about the Hidden Ones and that they were to make sure everyone had their own free will, and to get rid of anyone who dared to take that away. Slowly but surly, the lessons Ayanda would put Theron through as he began to make Theron run certain routes around the Pantheon and would make him do the route all over again and again if he didn't make it back within three minutes. By the end of the first day of route running, Theron collapsed in his bed in his quarters and was amazed that one could be so sore and tired. Andreas came in and asked Theron how the training was going, to which Theron said he hated it and wanted to go home. Andreas understood Theron's pain, but said that it was necessary if they were to serve the Hidden Ones. Theron was able to endure the pain and suffering and was eventually able to run the route Ayanda had in mind int he appropriate time. Once that was done, Ayanda told Theron that the next lesson would be the worse thus far. Theron didn't like the sound of that and regrettably asked what it was. Ayanda said nothing and told Theron they were going for a little walk. The two walked to a nearby lake, a clear one with not a strong current and was around eight feet deep. Theron dropped down to his knees and drank some of the water of the lake. Ayanda then said to Theron to kick his legs and that if he didn't come up within thirty seconds, Ayanda would get Theron. Theron was confused and was about to ask what Ayanda meant, but couldn't when Ayanda kicked him into the lake. Theron fell into the lake and sank nearly to the bottom. Theron was terrified, he screamed but that just took all the air out of him. Theron kept sinking, he couldn't hear or think clearly. He knew he was going to die. As Theron was preparing for death, he remembered Ayanda's words of kicking his feet. Theron did this, and he was propelled up a ways. Theron, while calmed that he knew what to do now, was still feeling the emptiness inside him consume him more and more. Theron kicked faster, but that made him fatigue even more. Theron got and cramp and couldn't kick anymore. Theron closed his eyes and just waited for death. Suddenly, a had grabbed Theron's arm and pulled him up. Theron opened his eyes and was rewarded with the air of the surface. Theron gasped in air as though it was all he knew how to do. He laid down for a time before looking up at Ayanda. Ayanda was still glistening and told Theron that he failed. Theron snapped, berating his teacher that he almost died. Ayanda didn't even flinch and told Theron that he had kicked, had he not? Theron admitted that he had kicked a little bit before felling pain in his legs. Ayanda let a look of approval escape him and said pointed out that kicking was exactly what he had told Theron to do. Theron allowed himself to calm down when he realized the advice Ayanda gave him worked, and would only get better as Theron did. Ayanda could see that Theron was calming down and said that they would try again in a moment. This time, Theron would just jump into the lake himself and was reminded of Ayanda's advice once again. Theron jumped into the lake and sank to the bottom again, he kicked his feet as before, and it helped him more, before he got too tired and sank again. Ayanda saved his apprentice once again and said they had work to do.
Months passed and Theron was able to perfect the art of running and swimming. Ayanda continued to be the teacher who would always push Theron to his limit, but at the same time never put him in a situation he felt Theron couldn't handle. One day in 24 BC, Theron went down to Ayanda and asked what their plan was for that day. Ayanda told Theron to follow him, so he did. Ayanda led Theron to a nearby apartment building in the Patheon District and the two stopped in front of a building some 10 ft (3.048 M) tall. Theron was confused, they didn't stop in front of a shop, in fact they didn't even stop in front of a door, they were just facing the wall. Theron asked Ayanda what they were doing there. Ayanda took a few steps back, pointed at the wall and said "Climb". Theron stood frozen, he always hated heights and not to mention he wasn't sure how to climb. Ayanda could see his apprentice's fear and encouraged Theron to climb. Theron was motivated and looked at the wall and asked Ayanda how he was supposed to get to the top. Ayanda told Theron to look around the wall and search for objects protruding from the wall. Theron did and sure enough, there were some protruding parts of the wall from windows, window sills, some plants and many more. Theron was confident now and grabbed onto a part of the wall and pulled himself up. Theron kept on climbing up more and more, always stopping to find places to put his hands and feet before pulling himself up. Theron kept this up for several minutes carefully placing one hand, then the next, before finally felling the top of the roof and pulled himself up. Theron turned around and was taken aback at how beautiful the city of Rome really was from where he was standing. Theron then looked down at Ayanda, who had started to climb up the building himself. Theron took a few mental notes on how Ayanda moved up the wall. Ayanda's head and eyes were always moving, searching for where to place his hands and feet. Ayanda got up to Theron and congratulated him, saying that he had never seen anyone complete the exercise so quickly. Theron appreciated the compliment and he and Ayanda spent the rest of the day climbing up houses and buildings. At dusk, Theron and Ayanda just sat next to each other on the top of the Pantheon building watching the sun set. Theron felt a new wave of confidence flow in him, he truly felt he could live the live as one of the Hidden Ones. Ayanda sat next to him and he also knew Theron had a bright future in the Order.
Theron's skills and age began to grow. His ability to climb had become fully synchronized in his mind and his relentless training under Ayanda made both his mind and body flourish. On Theron's eleventh birthday, Ayanda came up to him after morning meal and told him that day would be different. Theron was intrigued and followed Ayanda, who didn't lead him outside as usual, but to a large room. The room was full of practice dummies, targets, weapons, and people training with all of them. Ayanda told Theron it was time for him to learn how to fight. Ayanda asked Theron what he knew about fighting. Theron thought it was simple, just throw punches. Ayanda chuckled at his apprentice's naivety and explained that there was more to it than just aimlessly throwing punches. Ayanda began to teach Theron how to properly throw punches, using a practice dummy and using the old watch and learn tactic. Theron was eager to learn and was always keen on picking up how to correctly use his fists to cause damage. The first day was sloppy as Ayanda noted but there was some kindle in Theron's abilities.
Months passed and Theron was becoming more and more proficient in hand-to-hand combat, greatly impressing Ayanda. One day, Ayanda knew it was time. Theron was lead to a section of the training room with a tall fence forming a circle with chairs surrounding it. Theron asked Ayanda what they were doing there, to which Ayanda said that Theron was to fight another apprentice. Theron was both shocked and excited, finally it would be time to see how his skills had developed. Ayanda walked up to another Hidden One and began talking. Theron walked to Ayanda and noticed that the other Hidden One was Caecilia, the one who introduced Theron and his father Andreas to the Order in the first place. Caecilia greeted Theron and told him she was impressed with the progress he made. Theron accepted the compliment when he noticed the other boy standing next to Caecilia. Caecilia introduced the boy as Horatius, her own apprentice and the one Theron would fight in the ring. Theron and Horatius took notes on each other and awaited the fight. A few moments later, the two were put into the ring and a bell ringing signified the start. Theron walked up to Horatius with fists up in the air. When the two got close enough, Theron threw a right hook punch to Horatius' side. Horatius shuffled back in time and responded by a right hook of his own to Theron's shoulder. Theron grunted in pain as Hortius followed with another hook on the left to Theron's rib. Theron used his arm to block the punch and threw a punch to Horatius' face. Horatius backed up and winced in pain and put his hands to his nose, which was full of blood. Theron advanced to his target, but was blindsided when Horatius punched Theron in the ear like a bolt of lightning. Theron fell down and looked around in a disorientating fashion. Theron briefly forgot where he was, but then he saw his father. Andreas was eyeing Theron with a look that gave Theron the motivation to show his father how he had progressed. Theron go up, ran to Horatius, tackled him to the ground and gave hims several face punches until he was out cold. Theron then collapsed from exhaustion and his own injuries, which included a broken rib and cracked eardrum. Ayanda couldn't stop congratulating Theron once he woke up in a bed and was excited to see where else Theron would succeed in.
Months passed and eventually became six months, then eight, until finally twelve. Theron had been training with Ayanda for a full year and he had been used to the way things were now. Theron's skills in running, climbing, and fighting were progressing fast, much faster than anyone ever expected. Theron would still get time to see his father, Andreas, who had also been developing his skills fast and the two dreamed of going on missions together whenever the time came. Theron was also forming a closer bond to Ayanda, who had started to see Theron less like a student, and more of a friend or maybe even a son he never had.
One day after he was eating morning meal, Theron was lead back to the training room by Ayanda. Theron just expected the usual working regiment of running or fight training that usually started off the day. As they got closer to the training room, Theron noticed Ayanda was carrying a medium sized bundle over his shoulder and was officially taken aback. Theron asked that exactly they were going to do that day, to which Ayanda said it was time Theron knew of the weapons he was to use. That statement put Theron in a state of excitement, he had wanted to start using weapons ever since he was brought into the Hidden Ones, now it was time. Ayanda and Theron made it to a section in the left side of the training room and Ayanda dropped the bundle onto the ground then unrolled it. The bundle contained wooden swords, an actual dagger, and a bow with a quiver full of arrows. Theron looked at the bundle with disappointment, he had hoped to start off using actual weapons as it was something that he had wanted for so long. As if he could sense Theron's thoughts, Ayanda explained that Theron was still young and that it would take time before he would become a full fledged Assassin. Theron understood and waited for Ayanda's orders. Ayanda picked up one wooden sword and handed Theron another, then simply said "Hit me." Theron was taught to never disobey Ayanda, so he swung his sword at him. Ayanda parried the swing with absolute ease. "Again." Ayanda demanded. Theron swung to Ayanda's side, but his sword was once again stopped by Ayanda. Theron didn't wait for Ayanda to say it again and simply kept on swinging his sword at Ayanda, and all of his sword strokes were deflected of parried by Ayanda. Eventually, Theron got tired of being beat and swung faster and harder, but his strokes were continually blocked by Ayanda. After a few minutes of this happening, Ayanda locked swords with Theron and swung them in a circular motiong until Theron let go of his sword. Ayanda told Theron to always concentrate on what he's doing, but added that there was some potential. Theron and Ayanda spent the full day working on sword strokes and blocks and it was the most fun thing Theron had experienced since joining the Hidden Ones. Theron ended the day knowing that that day was just one of many.
First Taste Of Life Edit
Weeks turned to months and months eventually became years. Theron continued to grow and develop not only his skills, but who he was as a person. The road of becoming one of the Hidden Ones had had its good and bad times, but overall, was something Theron wouldn't take back for anything. He had become a skilled swordsman, as well as a variety of weapons that the Hidden Ones used. Theron primarily found himself in love with the spear, it was the perfect for keeping your enemies at bay while still dealing blows with it. Theron had also became a respectable archer, though he found himself not using it as much as the spear.
Theron was seventeen years old, looking over the building he and Ayanda had just climbed up, of course with a certain time limit that they had met. Theron looked at the endless masses of buildings and was full of wonder of if her would see more of the city, or maybe even the world. Ayanda somehow sensed what his apprentice was thinking about and said to Theron that they were actually going on a mission in the coming days. Theron was full of excitement and expressed how he couldn't wait to start doing work for the Hidden Ones. Ayanda appreciated Theron's excitement, but also stated that it would be much harder than he could think. Theron listened to his teacher, as it was proven that Ayanda was usually right and just waited for what was to come.
First Mission Edit
It was 17 BC and Theron was on a building rooftop overlooking the town square, Ayanda was in the town square, looking for their target. Ayanda had explained earlier to Theron that the target was a shop owner who refused to deal with people of Greek citizenship, denying them the freedom to buy the supplies needed for life. The shop owner had even begun killing any Greek who walked in the town square more than three times, and he would kill them violently, not even sparing children. Amunet believed the mission perfect for Theron's first mission and specifically told Theron that to truly become a Hidden One, he needed to perform the kill. The plan was simple: Ayanda would go into the town square in search for the target and would cry like a bird that told Theron the target was near. Theron was to go into the specified area and find out who the target was and kill him with a dagger.
Theron looked around himself for the person. After a few minutes of thinking, Theron was hit with the reality that he was supposed to end a life. For the first time, Theron was nervous for carrying out that act, just knowing that it would deny the person's life. Theron tried to shake these thoughts, stating that it was good for the people and that the show owner's death would change. Suddenly, the cry came and Theron jumped down and began walking to the place Ayanda had signaled. While walking to the signal, Theron kept both his eyes and ears peeled, waiting for a sign of the owner. "You lost?" a voice said, Theron turned to his right and there he was, the shop owner in his own stand looking at Theron with a suspicious look. "No." replied Theron and was immediately questioned if he was Greek by the Owner. The owner claimed that he could identify a Greek just by listening to them and began spitting out anti-Greek bigotry. Theron, with his target standing in front of him, reached for his dagger. Theron held the dagger tightly in his hand, almost causing his palm to bleed. He looked at the bigoted man in front of him and knew what he had to do. Theron counted down from three in his head, and when he hit one, swiftly lunged forward and stabbed the owner in the stomach. Theron laid the man down and looked the man in the eyes. The man cursed Theron and questioned why he had done this. Theron pointed out to the man that his actions had consequences. The denial of Greek shoppers denied them the supplies they needed in order to live, caused them to starve or even die. That, Theron explained, why the man was to die. The man looked at Theron with fear and anger, and eventually stopped breathing. Theron looked at the dead body in front of him, and was mixed with a feeling of regret and a small feeling of pride for doing the work for the Hidden Ones. Ayanda went up to his apprentice and told him he did well. Theron accepted the compliment, as he would need it more as years passed.
Second Mission Edit
It wasn't a few weeks later and Amunet already had a mission in mind for Theron and Ayanda. The mission was to stop bandits in the outskirts of Rome who had been raiding and stealing from supply caravans for territories across the Empire. Theron, while still eager to do work for the Hidden Ones, was still uncertain about how he felt that he would have to end the life of not one, but several people. Ayanda was always sure to motivate Theron, which always worked.
The day came and Theron was lead by Ayanda to the stables the Hidden Ones operated and the two began riding out of the city. By the time they reached the edge of Rome, Theron was shocked at how wild the outside world looked, no buildings, roads, or bridges anywhere. The two Hidden Ones rode for a few more minutes before Ayanda ordered for them to halt. Ayanda then told Theron to dismount along with him, so he did. Ayanda could tell the bandits were nearby, all the years of tracking animals in the deserts of Egypt certainly came in handy. Ayanda knelt down to the ground to examine the footprints he noticed, they were clearly human, but the question was how long ago where they there? Theron asked his master how he knew the tracks were of the bandits, to which Ayanda explained that the prints were embedded further in the ground than usual, insinuating that the bandits took the same steps of their leader to make people think there was only one bandit. Ayanda drew his bow and told Theron to draw his spear and the two began following the tracks. Minutes passed with Theron remembering all the endless stealth training sessions, in which he would have to sneak up on Ayanda and if he was heard, he was to start over until he succeeded. This wasn't that different, Theron just needed to watch his footing and not make noise. Eventually, the two stopped when Ayanda noticed the tracks just stopped, they were gone. Theron noticed this and began thinking about how this was possible. Then in the near distance, Theron could smell smoke, smoke from a fire and pointed it out to Ayanda. Ayanda gave Theron the usual compliment and the two stealthily approached the smell. Eventually, the two came across a camp full of bandits eating, sharpening weapons, or socializing. Theron asked Ayanda what the plan was, to which Ayanda said it was time for Theron to learn actual combat. Theron was going to protest, but Ayanda told Theron that there shouldn't have been more than twelve bandits, a low number in terms of bandit camps. Theron took a deep breath, swallowed with nervousness and charged into the camp with Ayanda
The two caught the bandits by surprise with Ayanda stabbing a sitting bandit through the back with his sword. Theron did the same with his spear to another. Nausea filled him, but he knew he had to keep going. Two more bandits came rushing to Theron and Theron stood in ready stance. One banding swung his sword in an overhand slice toward Theron, who blocked the sword with his spear shaft. Theron kept on deflecting the next four blows the bandit threw at him. Once the bandit was finished, Theron thrust his spear forward, burying a part of the head into the bandit's stomach. The bandit shouted in pain from the broken rib he just suffered. Theron wasted no more time, tripping the bandit off his feet and without thinking, buried his spear into the man's chest. The second bandit looked at Theron with anger and waited for Theron to strike first. Theron swung his spear to the bandit's side, and was met by a sword parry that threw Theron off balance. The bandit then bashed Theron in the face with his shield, knocking him back with a bloody nose. The bandit once again swung his sword to kill, but Theron was able to dive roll out of the way in time. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Theron thrust his spear in the bandit's ankle, causing him to fall. Theron then stabbed the bandit in the back of the head. Theron rejoined Ayanda and the two killed the remaining ten bandits, with Theron killing four. Theron found that killing never got easier, but knew this work was necessary for the goals of the Hidden Ones.
Learning The Enemy Edit
Theron turned 22 years old and had become a full fledged and respected member of the Hidden Ones. Theron could remember the look of great pride in his father, Andreas' eyes upon receiving the branded finger the Hidden Ones required. In 12 BC, Andreas came up to Theron and told him that he was to perform a mission on his own for the first time. Theron reacted to the news the way everyone expected, which was with poise and respect. The mission was for Theron to investigate Raetia, more importantly, the Rätikon, a mountain range that sat of the border of the main Roman Empire. The reason the Hidden Ones wanted Theron to go there was because strange people and trading caravans with illegal contraband were being allowed into Rome. This was strange as the guards normally there never would've allowed those people or things to enter the Empire and knew something was wrong, and since it didn't have too much danger, the Hidden Ones sent Theron to investigate. So in early 12 BC, Theron took a horse and rode all the way to the Rätikon.
Nothing Ayanda had taught Theron could've prepared him for this kind of assignment, the ride took a long time and into unknown places. Theron was taken aback at how truly large the world was after spending most of his life in the inner city of Rome. Things didn't get much easier for Theron once he finally reached the Rätikon, it was cold, windy, and stretched higher than Theron could've ever imagined. Theron rode for a few more hours, trying to reach the guard towers that had been told to him by Ayanda. Once Theron finally found the towers, he dismounted and snuck up to one of the towers. Theron knew he couldn't be seen by the guards, they would kill him, so he climbed up the towers, in hopes of being able to observe the guards stationed. After climbing for a few minutes, Theron found an open window and entered it, being sure to check if there were any guards, which there weren't. Theron appreciated the warmth of the inside, but he had a job to do and continued on. Theron snuck around the towers, looking for guards for information. Theron traveled up the stairs and noticed a small hallway leading to an oval shaped room with two guards and a third person inside. The man looked like a commoner, so why was he talking to the guards. Theron eavesdropped in and heard the commoner ask if everything was set up, to which one of the guards said that it was and that the others were waiting downstairs. As the three talked, Theron noticed that the guards uniforms were odd, instead of the traditional red Roman colors, these guards were wearing grey uniforms, and the Roman army always wore red no matter where they were stationed. The commoner began walking out the room, causing Theron to hide behind a piece of the wall that protruded out. Theron followed the man downstairs, and was lead to the man entering a room and close the door behind him. Theron knew that opening the door would be suicide, so he began thinking of ways to find a way to eavesdrop on whatever the man was doing. Theron then exited the tower through a window when the idea came to him to go to the window of the room the commoner had entered, so he did. Theron climbed down and found the window, noticing that there were no people in the room, Theron entered. Theron snuck around before noticing another small hallway which lead to a rectangular shaped room, with a table at the center and people sitting in them. Theron listened in to the start of a new chapter of his life.
The Meeting Edit
Theron listened in and took a few looks whenever he could to see what his targets looked like. There were five of them, all with different looks and builds. One of the men, the one he had seen outside, wore fur clothing for the snowy climate. He wielded a bow and had looked of a large build to accommodate for the cold temperatures, but somehow looked like a commoner. The second man was short and looked as though he had done nothing but run his whole life and would never stop. The third man looked of noble status, given his illustrious robe and jewelry he wore. The fourth man looked as though he was in the Roman Senate, given his white robe that they always wore. and finally a man who was facing away from Theron, looked as though he wore the Roman Army uniform of a general. The General stood up and declared that a so-called "Father of Understanding" would guide them, to which the others raised their swords and repeated the phrase. The General sat down and asked the Commoner if everything was going to plan. The Commoner said that within a month, all Roman strongholds on the Western borders would be under their control, giving them the power to decide who could enter or leave Rome. The General complemented the Commoner, then asked the Messenger how things were going in the Eastern Provinces of Rome. The Messenger stood up and said that Emperor Augustus was due for a war meeting with the local senators, leaving the heart of Rome with no leader. The Messenger then explained that he had messages to deliver to the north, and would report back as soon as he returned. The General turned to The Noble and asked how much gold he had gotten for them. The Noble reported that his men intercepted many tax carriages containing in total, 20,000 pounds of Gold, and after paying off the mercenaries, would leave them with 15,000 pounds of gold left. The General turned to the Senator to verify the Messenger's report, to which he did. The Senator then added that Augustus wasn't due back to Rome for another four months, and all the people he left in charge in his absence were incompetent to defend Rome. The General rose from his chair and stated how pleased he was how everyone had done their jobs so well, stating that all their brothers in Egypt would be avenged by taking down the biggest city in the world. The Senator then asked if the ones in shadow would be a problem. Theron put together right away that The Senator was speaking of the Hidden Ones due to the obvious disdain in his voice. The General brushed them off, stating that unlike their brothers in Egypt, they were not public at all and no one suspected a thing, but added that the Hidden Ones would all die in due time. Theron had heard enough information, he traveled back to Rome, he'd find out about their names later.
Mission For Life Edit
Theron arrived back to Rome in a few days, still in wonder of how truly large the world was. While riding back, theron couldn't shake off all the questions in his mind. Who were those men? What did they want? What did they mean by "Brothers in Egypt"? And most importantly, how did they know of the Hidden Ones, and why did they hate them? Theron arrived back in Rome a few days later and was greeted by Caecilia, who asked how Theron's mission went. Theron promptly responoded that a meeting of the Council was needed. Caecilia called all council members to the meeting room. Theron entered the meeting room a few minutes later. Sitting there were Amunet, Caecilia, Wealdmaer who was a Saxon, Faustinus who was a high ranking member, Ayanda, and Andreas. Amunet asked Theron what he had found that caused this. Theron explained everything, from the people he found in the fort, what each of them looked and sounded like, and what they all had said. Once done decribing what he had witnessed, Theron noticed a pained expression on a now ever-aging Amunet. Amunet rose from her chair then said to herself that it had finally happened. Ayanda noticed this and asked Amunet what she meant. Amunet then told the Council that the individuals sounded like a group known as the Order of the Ancients. The Order of the Ancients were a group that instead sought to have all in the world be subjected to their rule full of order, instead of freedom like the Hidden Ones strived for. Andreas could see that Amunet knew more than she lead on and asked what it was, which lead to Amunet admitting that she knew of the Order before. Caecilia asked how she knew of the Order, to which Amunet said that thirty years prior, she and another associate had killed all the members of the Order in Egypt. Despite this, Amunet knew that the Order would continue to show up in different places and would ultimately never die. They would keep coming back as all their Order needed to survive was for the world to be as it is. Amunet then thanked Theron for the information and told the entire council that they were all to hunt down and kill the members of the Order. All the members agreed, then Ayanda asked for Theron be the one to lead the hunt, since he had discovered them in the first place. Amunet accepted and aked Theron if he was up for it, but doing so would have Theron hunt the Order no matter how long it took. Theron knew that this task would take months, years even due to the fact that all of the members of the Order would be all over the place. Nevertheless, Theron accepted and was met with praise by the Council members. Amunet had one more thing in mind for Theron, and asked him to follow her to her study. Theron did as he was told and entered Amunet's study.
A Weapon Edit
Theron entered Amunet's study and asked what it was she wanted. Amunet told Theron that she wanted to give him one last weapon before sending him off on the hunt for the Order. Theron asked what more weapons he would need, he had his dagger, his trusty spear, and not to mention he was skilled with a bow. Amunet explained that this weapon would serve him well. Amunet opened a tiny chest on her desk and opened it, revealing a wrist brace of sorts. Theron asked what it was and Amunet said it was a hidden blade, the weapon of a true Hidden One. Theron was intrigued and sought to put it on. Amunet then revealed that if she were to give the hidden blade to Theron, it would require a sacrifice, the sacrifice of his ring finger. Theron was taken aback, the noticed that Amunet herself was missing her ring finger on her left hand, and felt more at ease. Theron took a deep breath and accepted it. Amunet took out her dagger and waited as Theron placed his ring finger on the table. Theron closed his eyes and looked away before feeling the pain. Amunet immediately began applying pressure on the wound and did so for ten minutes before the bleeding stopped. Amunet put some gauze on Theron's stub in case it starting bleeding again, then put the hidden blade on Theron's wrist. Theron was intrigued at the design, then asked how to trigger the blade. Amunet explained it simply, tense a muscle in your upper arm and simultaniously flick your wrist. Theron did so and the blade extended quickly. Theron took a few more minutes to marvel at the weapon, surely it would do well by it's wielded. Theron thanked Amunet for the gift then stepped outside to begin his hunt.
The Commoner Edit
The first and foremost thing Theron had to do was figure out who to hunt first. After that, he would have to learn their identities, and of course, find out where they were hidden. Theron decided the first person he should take out was the man who had the looks of a common man. The question was how was he to find him? Theron chose to start his hunt the same way it began: The Rätikon. The fortress there would have to have something that could help Theron, so he got a horse and went on his way.
Finding Clues Edit
While riding to the Rätikon, Theron was once again astounded as to how truly large and ever-changing the world was. The roads were busier this time with it being summer. The mountains were a little less windy, but no less cold. Theron realized at that moment, that there are some things in life you simply never get used to. Days passed, and Theron arrived at the fortress that was under the control of the Order of Ancients. Theron knew he couldn't just enter in the front as it would be suicide, so once again, he climbed the walls. The walls were easier to grip this time without the threat of strong winds making it hard to hold on. Theron found an open window and entered it. Upon entry, two guards spun around and looked at Theron in surprise. Theron didn't waste any time and tackled both of them and then stabbed one of them in the head with his new hidden blade. The other put up a bit more of a struggle, punching Theron in the gut before being met with another stab in the head from Theron's hidden blade. Theron was left catching his breath from the punch, but also filled with amazement at his new weapon, so simple yet so deadly. Theron caught his breath and continued his job. Theron snuck around the fortress, looking for a room that looked as though it contained letters, documents, or anything that could point him in the right direction. Eventually, Theron saw a guard enter a room, and Theron thought he could see shelves of scrolls inside, so he followed the guard inside. Once he entered the room, Theron approached the guard, put his hand over his mouth, and killed him with a stab to the back with the hidden blade. Theron felt the knots in his stomach tighten as he claimed another life, and found it hard not to look at the man whom he just killed. Theron shook off those feelings and began looking for some piece of evidence. Theron sorted through documents of supplies, people, banking records, and other things, but none that related to the Order of the Ancients. After searching a few more letters, Theron picked up one rolled up piece of paper held together by some string. Attached to the string, was a square of paper that held a strange symbol, maybe this was the thing Theron was looking for. Theron opened it and read it. The note wrote to The General, stating that the writer had taken over three more fortresses, making it seven total. The writer then explained that within a few months, all fortresses on the western borders of Rome would be under their control. Finally, the writer explained that he had some business to take care of back in his home located the southern district of Rome before returning back to work. The writer signed the letter with the phrase "May the Father of Understanding guide us." and signed their name as "The Commoner." Theron took this clue and decided to go after The Commoner first, the fortresses could wait.
Needle In The Haystack Edit
Theron wasted no time to travel back to Rome. He had a location, all he needed was a name. While on his way back to Rome, Theron couldn't shake the thought in the back of his head that the letter he found was possible written months ago, and maybe The Commoner had already taken over the western border front of Rome. Despite this, Theron knew that nothing was certain and continued on his merry way.
Upon arrival to Rome, Theron rested for a few hours before making his way to the southern district of Rome. This district was a hotspot for farmers and craftsmen, and the most heavily populated district. Theron never truly understood until the moment he arrived how many people lived in Rome. A population of hundreds, maybe even thousands, and The Commoner could be any one of them Theron spent hours looking for any sign, any suspicious activity, anything that seemed out of the ordinary or different. Theron found nothing, everyone was the same, going about their lives as they would any other day. After four hours with nothing of note being found, Theron knew he would need help from another Hidden Ones and knew how to get one. Theron made his way back to the Pantheon and swiftly went to Amunet. Theron explained everything he had found and how it would be utterly impossible to find The Commoner on his own and needed help. Amunet knew the perfect person to help Theron with this mission and sent for them. A few minutes later, someone walked in. Theron could see it was a woman of average height and wearing blue robes. The woman took off her hood and showed her to have long, brown hair, and with eyes as though Poseidon himself had gifted part of the ocean to her being. The woman introduced herself as Aelia, the person that would help Theron with his hunt. Amunet explained that Aelia had a great ability to find targets in the most hidden of places, and with a skill of archery unmatched in the Hidden Ones. Theron accepted the help from Aelia gladly and the two set off to find out whoever The Commoner was.
Cat And Mouse Edit
Theron and Aelia chose to rest for the night to have full energy for the search they both knew would take a while. Theron woke up the next day just a little after dawn to Aelia shaking him awake, stating it was time to leave. Theron, while slightly annoyed, found himself liking her devotion and determination. She was ready to get this done, and Theron had to respect that. The two Hidden Ones made their way to the southern district of Rome. Along the way, Theron got to know Aelia. Aelia revealed that she was actually born in the southern district, so she knew that area very well. Aelia also revealed things about her childhood, her family was extremely poor and she was forced to grow up at the age of just seven. Her mother worked as a tailor and her father was a carpenter, while she herself collected rocks to sell to make some money. Aelia then revealed that she was introduced to the Hidden Ones after her parents were recruited by Amunet for standing up to a soldier threating foreigners from Gaul. Theron felt sympathy for Aelia and her family and was glad that Amunet gave them an opporutnity for a new life.
The two Hidden Ones entered the southern district, once again surrounded by people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Theron asked Aelia what they were to do first. Aelia explained that it would be hard to look for any suspicious activity, but hearing or hearing of suspicious activity from the locals would help significantly. Theron was shocked that he had never thought of that and complemented Aelia about the idea. Aelia accepted the complement as she began to think of where to go first. Aelia suggested that the two of them split up, Theron to the western end of the district, and her to the eastern end, there they would listen in on local conversations and see if anything matched The Commoner's description. Theron decided that was the right decision and wished Aelia luck on her mission, which was returned by wished luck from Aelia to Theron. The two Hidden Ones made their ways to their ends of their mission.
Theron entered the western section and took a look at where to look first. Theron noticed two men sitting on a nearby bench, talking in a hushed tone and it seemed like something was important. Theron walked near them and stood a few feet away, trying to look as normal as possible. Theron could make out the two men saying things like how the people aren't making enough money, the state of the Empire, and how their families were doing. Theron stood for a few more minutes, but his time was wasted away with endless chatter about things not important to his mission. Why they were talking in hushed tones was something Theron couldn't place his finger on, but nontheless, he moved on. A few feet away, Theron noticed two blacksmiths speaking to each other, and decided to take a look. After listening in on conversations of placed orders the two blacksmiths needed to fill out, the conversation took a strange turn. One of the blacksmiths spoke of a man who came in wanting a large supply of swords and other weapons delivered to a compound near the mountains. Now that wouldn't be so strange, but the man who placed the order wore fur clothing though it was a hot day, and the man paid for all the weapons on the spot, but the blacksmith knew the man and the man did not have that kind of money. Then when the blacksmith asked how he got that much money, he just said it was given to him by his financier. Theron connected the dots and felt that the man described had to be the commoner. The fur clothing, the order being delivered close to the mountains, and all the weapons would be supplied to the soldiers working for the Order of the Ancients. Theron continued to listen in, starved for any kind of information on who the man was or where he lived. One of the blacksmiths then asked if he had seen the man before, to which the first blacksmith said that while he didn't know the name, the man lived in the northwest section, the area famous for making radishes. With that piece of information, Theron started on the trail in search of his prey.
Final Piece Of The Puzzle Edit
Theron went to the northwest section of the district and sure enough, the area was littered with raddish farms. Once Theron arrived, however, he realized that he would need Aelia's help due to her ability to find people in plain sight. Almost as if she could read his mind, Aelia ran up to Theron from behind to tell him the important information. Theron was slightly startled however, and when Aelia grabbed Theron's shoulder to turn him around, he immediately arm dragged her over his back and landed her on the ground. Realizing his mistake, Theron apologized profusely and helped Aelia up. Aelia accepted the apology and even laughed with Theron about it with him once the shock wore off. This moment would forever cement itself in Theron's mind, the moment he first felt love for someone. It was good and he wanted to go further, but the mission wouldn't allow it. Theron cut the feelings short by asking Aelia what she had found out. Aelia said she, just like Theron, found out The Commoner lived the northwest section of the district, but also found out he shared the surname Fulvius. Theron was sure to give Aelia many complements on that information and the two continued on.
First Target Killed Edit
The two Hidden Ones moved quickly, as they couldn't know for sure if Fulvius was ever there. Aelia seemed as though she could read Theron's thoughts by reassuring him that radishes take time to grow, and Fulvius was no doubt working on them. With that thought in mind, Theron had an idea, since they would need to see which garden he would be in, they should travel by roof. Aelia agreed, and the two climbed up to the top of the roofs and began running from roof to roof while looking down to see if they could spot something out of the ordinary. As expected, Theron found nothing unusual, everyone was tending to their gardens or doing other work around their household like any other person would be doing on an average day. After ten minutes of gliding across rooftops, Aelia stopped Theron, stating that she found something they should look at. Theron couched down with Aelia and saw two men in a radish garden, one tending to the plants and the other reading a scroll of paper nearby. Theron was confused, they looked like everyone else. Aelia then pointed out that every other house they've observed, there would be only one person tending to the gardens, as most folks around the southern district were farmers, not enough money to have servents or slaves do the work for them. Not to mention that no farmer would be taking any kind of break with harvest coming up, no matter how physically or mentally exerted they were. Theron was shocked that he had never thought of any of those, Aelia really could spot targets in the most uncommon places. Theron then asked Aelia what the plan was, to which she said they were to just wait for any kind of confirmation that one of the men was indeed Fulvius. Two hours after waiting, they finally got their answer. The man tending the gardens informed the other that they needed more seeds to keep up with harvest demands, with the confirmation being that the man working referred to the other as "Sir Fulvius." With that information, Theron got up to attack, only to be held back by Aelia, killing Fulvius would result in the worker calling for the city guard. Aelia said they would kill Fulvius in the streets, as doing their work in plain sight was part being a Hidden One. Theron knew Aelia was right and forced himself to be patient. The two Hidden Ones tailed Fulvius until he was just outside of the marketplace, the perfect place to kill him. Aelia told Theron that since it was his mission, he was to kill Fulvius, but she would be watching from the rooftops with bow ready in case he started to run. Theron nodded to her and made his way down to the marketplace, all the while keeping his eyes of Fulvius constantly. Fulvius waited in a line for seeds, and Theron picked that the perfect place to carry out his mission. Theron walked through the crowd as normally as possible, careful not to draw attention. Theron got closer, and as he did, hesitation grew. Theron still wasn't used to taking life, and found himself forcing himself to keep walking at the pace he originally was. Theron didn't even want to have to look at Fulvius, but with the information he needed, he knew he had to. Theron got even closer and extended his hidden blade, it was time. Theron walked passed Fulvius slightly before he stabbed him in the back, then carried him to a bench where they shared some words.
Fulvius: "Why? Why have you done this?"
Theron: "You took over forts along Roman borders. Forts that control who comes in or out for some unknown purpose. I would like to know what the purpose is and why."
Fulvius: "We simply want what's best for Roma, we wanted to allow more supplies to come into the city to make sure all had enough food and supplies for the people, people like me!"
Theron: "So it's vengeance you want? Against Augustus for your social class?"
Fulvius: "Not vengeance, but justice. For the commoners who have no chance of making it up the class system! It would've helped us with our ultimate plan."
Theron: "Ultimate plan?! What more do you and your brothers have planned for Roma? What is it that you want?!"
Fulvius: "I'll never tell! Father of Understanding guide me!"
Fulvius dies from his wounds
Theron: "Intelligentia recondita, ut salutaret una tibi. Tu quaeris, ut invenias in pace. Requiesce in pace." (May the Hidden One greet you. May you go find the peace you seek. Rest in peace.)
Time For Healing Edit
Theron stood up and looked into the eyes of Fulvius. Fulvius continued to stare at Theron with cold, lifeless eyes that seemed to pierce Theron's very soul. Aelia went up to Theron, took his hand, and gave him a look that told him that everything was okay and that he did well for the Hidden Ones and himself. Theron looked her back into her sky-blue eyes and gave her a look of thanks. The two Hidden Ones traveled back to the Pantheon and straight up to Amunet. Theron and Aelia told Amunet of their success in killing Fulvius, taking off one target on the list of five. Amunet congratulated the both of them and asked the two if they wanted something in reture. Theron declined the offer, killing those who dared rob humanity of its freedom was reward enough. Amunet liked the humbleness of Theron and to thank him, told him to take some time to rest, as he would need it for killing the rest of the Order. Theron refused, he needed to get the work done and started to argue with Amunet. However, just as he was about to sound off his disbelief of rest, Aelia took Theron's hand once again, causing him to stop. Theron looked once again in the sky-blue eyes of Aelia, and listened as she told him that rest was needed even if it was for a little while. Theron sighed and said that he would take a week's rest, which Amunet agreed with.
Theron took the week to massage his feet, which ached endlessly from the non-stop travelling he had been doing for months. He also took the time to plot out his next move: He decided on the one who looked of noble status, The Funder. He knew that if he took out the person who funded the Order of their money, they would be crippled of their power. Theron also took the time to get to know some of his fellow Hidden Ones, meeting people with all different backgrounds, faces with flesh of all different colors. Theron was really taken aback at how truly large the world was. While chatting with his former mentor, Ayanda, Theron learned from him that his father, Andreas, had recently turned thirty-six years old. That news hit Theron like a sack of bricks, he had bearly spoken with his father for years, he missed all of that time and he didn't know how much time his father had left. Theron wanted to talk to his father immediately after learning of his age, but couldn't as Andreas was on a mission in Egypt. The news of his father put Theron down temporarily, but the short time he was down, it was hard. Later that evening, Theron was looking outside a window, taking in the view of Rome and still feeling sad, when Aelia walked in. Theron looked at Aelia once again in her sky-blue eyes and his feelings of sadness vanished immediately. Theron and Aelia spent the next few hours talking to each other, trying to get to know each other better. Theron never really had a true connection with someone before, but he felt one between him and Aelia, and he could feel she felt the same thing. Theron and Aelia spent the night together and once morning came, Theron set out to find The Funder, his week of rest was up and he was eager to get back to work.
The Funder Edit
Theron knew that the first thing he needed to find out was who The Funder was, where he was, and what part he played in the Order of the Ancients. The question was, how to find out all of this information. Theron contemplated going back to the Rätikon again, to see if any information was still there, but after a few months, the fort there had to have been retaken by the Roman Army, and no doubtedly the scroll that contained information would be lost. Theron had to take a different route, and a different one he did. Theron went to his former mentor, Ayanda for help. Ayanda told Theron that sense The Funder looked of noble status, he obviously resided in the wealthier neighborhoods of Rome. Theron knew this, of course, but it seemed just to simple for a man in control of such wealth and a part of such and order, so he expressed this doubt to Ayanda. Ayanda rudely discredited Theron's doubts, of course The Funder lived in the wealthy part of Rome and there was no way that was true. Theron, though irate, chose to humor his friend, it would give more satisfaction for when Ayanda realized Theron was right. Theron, being the clueless apprentice he was to Ayanda, asked him what ever should they do first. To which the great all-knowing mentor Ayanda said they were to simply walk into the wealthy district of Rome, and eavesdrop on people's conversations to find out who The Funder was. Theron thought that plan was stupid, but the great Ayanda knew all and so the two ventured to the wealthy district of Rome in search of blood.
The Search Edit
Theron and Ayanda made their way to the wealthy district of Rome. The buildings, white and blinding yet pleasing to the eye. All of the pillars were too many to count. Theron saw for the first time, how truly seperated the people really were. The rich didn't have to worry about when and where they were going to get their next meal from, if they would ever get schooling, if their house was going to get broken into, or anything that the poor had to worry about. Theron looked around at all the nobles getting fanned by servents and talking to each other about how perfect their life was. As he continued to look around, Theron began to feel envy toward the nobles for not even caring for any of the people doing all their work for them. Ayanda noticed Theron's glances and told him that there's nothing he can do, it's how life works. While Ayanda was right, Theron couldn't shake the thoughts from his head: Why are things like this? How did this all start? Why can't everyone just be equal? Just as Theron was about to sound off these thoughts to Ayanda, his mentor stopped Theron and told him the plan. The two were to search around the homes and search for some kind of clue that linked someone's household to The Order of the Ancients. This time, Theron couldn't hold it inside him. "That's the worst plan I have ever heard!" Ayanda paid that comment no mind, as long as he was mentor, Theron was to do what he told. Theron once again decided to humor his friend and started walking along.
Theron checked around for hours, and of course he couldn't find anything that linked anyone in the neighborhood to The Order. Theron was about to just go back to Ayanda and fully fight him on how stupid he was acting, when he heard something suspicious. Theron turned and saw three guards walking to the path that lead out of Rome. It wasn't just the fact that they were leaving their post that intrigued Theron, it was the things they were saying. They were talking about the tax convoys they were to attack that night and how much of the gold they wanted to share. Then one of the guards, a young man it sounded like, asked why they were stealing from the Emperor's taxes, to which the others said that they were hired by someone who lived in Pistoria who planned to use the taxes to fund his own private army. While it didn't make a lot of sense, Theron agreed to himself that there was enough information to tie this to someone who wanted or needed a lot of money for an unknown cause, like the Order. However, Theron needed to be sure and chose that that night, he was going to follow those guards to the convoy raid and stop it from happening. Once that was done, Theron would find a house in Pistoria that looked of noble status and see if the inhabitant was enraged at the news. So without telling Ayanda, Theron set his own plan into motion.
Theron followed the guards for miles, always being mindful to never let them see him. After an hour, the guards finally stopped at camp full of men who doned dark red uniforms sharpening their weapons, preparing to raid the money convoy. Theron took cover in some nearby bushes and looked for someone, anyone who could give him some kind of information. One of the guards that Theron had tailed walked up to a man wearing a uniform like the others, but with a cape with a golden fastener and golden helmet, surly he was the captain. Theron moved closer to them, still under the cover of the bushes and keeping to stealth. The captain asked the guard for status, to which the guard responded by saying that everything was finalized, that the Roman captain didn't notice them leaving and that they were ready for the raid. The captain said that that was good and that they would attack at dusk, which was not far away. Theron knew he was going to need to get a horse nearby as he decided he would follow the soldiers on horseback and kill them one by one once the raid started. Theron snuck around to find where the horses were, and found them in a nearby clearing. There were two guards keeping an eye on the horses to make sure they wouldn't get stolen. Theron made his way to the two guards and covered the mouth of one as he stabbed him in the neck with his hidden blade. The other guard noticed too late as Theron quickly covered his mouth, too, then also stabbed him in the neck. Theron hid the bodies in some nearby trees then made his way back to the horses. He took one horse at random, a tan horse with white spots everywhere and waited for the raid to begin.
The Chase Edit
An hour passed and the soldiers finally began moving out. Theron mounted his horse and waited until he was a safe distance from the group of soldiers before beginning to ride. Theron had no problem keeping track of the group with the thick plume of dust that was being kicked up by at least 30 horses. Theron, while ready and prepared to do this task, found himself wondering when to make the move. He wondered and wondered and wondered a little long when the caravan of money came into sight. The group of soldiers split into two groups to flank each side of the caravan. Theron chose to go after the left side first and drew his bow. Using the little light of dusk to his advantage, Theron aimed for the back of one of the soldiers and released. The arrow penetrated the soldier's back as his shield was in front of him. Theron wasted no time, loading, aiming, and shooting two more soldiers. After the third soldier was shot by Theron, the soldiers started realizing that they were under attack. One of the commanders shouted orders, and four soldiers, with their horses still running forward, turned around, bows drawn. Theron cursed himself for not bringing a shield and veered his horse back and forth to dodge the incoming arrows. Theron kept on shooting his bow back at the soldiers, some would find their mark, others would pass by them. Theron knew if he were to win this battle, he would need to get closer. Luck finally came to his side when a few riders from the right flank started veering their horses to Theron to fight in close quarters. Theron drew his spear and awaited. A soldier lined up next to Theron, sword in hand, and swung it to his head. Theron ducked in time, shifted his spear to his left hand and thrusted it into the man's chest. Theron quickly freed his spear from the man's body as another soldier to his left thrusted his sword to Theron's side. Theron once again dodged the attack just in time and started his attack by bumping his horse into the other. The blow hurt Theron's knee, he should've thought this through. Theron then got closer to the soldier and thrusted his spear into the man's side. Theron examined his surroundings. There were six other soldiers flanking all around him, but none of them were attacking, but why? Theron figured it out immediately, they weren't supposed to attack, they were just to distract him while the rest attacked the caravan. Theron sped away to the caravan to continue the fight.
Theron made his way to the carriage, all the while arrows sped by hum from behind, somehow missing. Theron drew his own bow and unloaded four arrows, with all four making their target. Theron quickly assesed that there were at least 10 more guards left. The guards flanked each side of the caravan, swords drawn and demanding that the driver stop. Theron realized that he was the only reason the driver wasn't stopping, and he knew he had to win if he were to live. Theron sped up, drew his spear, and forced it into the spine of one of the guards. Two guards flanked Theron on each side and Theron quickly knew what was to happen. Theron waited until the guards were about to stab him in the sides to jump from his horse and on to the carriage. Theron grabbed onto the carriage and refused to let go despite the endless rocking and bumping. Theron glanced behind him, to see a guard preparing to stab him with a sword. Theron thrusted himself from the side fo the carriage on to the top of the carriage. Theron struggled to get up, but eventually did. Theron eventually was able to position himself where he wasn't constantly wobbling around. As expected, soldiers surrounded the carriage and a few even jumped onto the carriage. Theron used his spear to kill every single soldier that dared jump onto the carriage. After a few more kills, only four soldiers remained trying to take downt he carriage. Theron drew his bow and drew it before firing, and it missed. Theron kept on shooting at the soldiers, all of them missing their targets due to the unbalanced footing Theron was in. Theron reached for another arrow in his quiver, only to find it empty, he would now have to fight the old fashion way. Theron waited until a soldier was close enough, then jumped onto the back of their horse. The soldier was completely stunned to where he couldn't stop Theron from slashing his neck with his hidden blade. Theron then pushed the body off of the horse and drew his spear. Theron rode closer to the remaining soldiers and immediately killed one of them with a spear to the side. The other two soldiers flanked Theron again. One soldier thrusted his sword to Theron's side, while the other did the same. Theron thought quickly and pulled the reigns on his horse and after the swords missed their marks, Theron did an overhand swing at the swords with his spear. This knocked the swords out of the hands of the soldiers, leaving them defenseless. Theron gained up on them and it was no contest in killing them with his spear. Theron glanced behind him to see if the other soldiers were still there, to which they were riding away in retreat. The carriage came to a stop and so did Theron. The driver dismounted and thanked Theron profusely, Theron accepted the compliments and finally allowed himself to relax. The driver continued on to his first destination and talking with Theron for awhile. Theron rode back to Rome to tell Ayanda what had happened.
Mentoring a Mentor Edit
Theron was cut, bruised, and utterly exhausted from the fight, but he ultimately had a job to do. Theron traveled for hours until he reached the main city of Rome. But once it seemed like he was in the clear, the question arose in him: Where would Ayanda have gone? After all, it had been untold hours since he had last seen him, and even Theron's mentor wasn't that stubborn in a mission. Theron ultimately decided to make his way back to the Pantheon District to see for himself. When Theron arrived, he was greeted with the gasps and points and gawks of his fellow Hidden Ones, all of whom had clearly thought he was dead. One of the Hidden Ones called away to Amunet, saying that Theron had returned. Theron dismounted from his horse and started up the stairs to the Bureau entrance, when the door burst open and he saw his master Ayanda, mentor Amunet, and the sky-blue eyes of Aelia. Aelia was the first to greet Theron and she did so with a close and tight hug, one that Theron could feel had a great amount of worry for her companion. Next, Theron greeted his mentor with a gentle hug of her own, and listened to her say how relieved she was to see he was still alive. He then looked into the scowling face of his master Ayanda, who greeted Theron with a stone cold slap across the face, reprimanding his stupid apprentice for going off uninformed. After things calmed down, Theron told everyone all that he had seen and heard, as well as the details of his fight with the bribed soldiers. He told the Hidden Ones that a wealthy man in Pistoria was using the money he had to send hired soldiers to steal taxes from Emperor Augustus and use the money to fund his own private army. Amunet was taken aback, with a look of confusion and wonder as something seemed to click in her. She produced a name: Photios Artemius. She believed that he was the one who was doing these things. When asked how she knew, she responded that Photios was actually a trusted advisor to her, and she noticed how he always seemed to point her in the wrong directions when it came to asking about the Order of the Ancients. She first thought it was just ignorance, as both orders were hidden from the public eye, but certain individuals could be trusted, and Photios was one of them after he had repeatedly helped point her in the right directions for her contracts in the beginning. Amunet also explained that Photios had exhibited strange behavior as of late, as he seemingly always had to do money work whenever she talked to him in the last few days, and he seemingly knew nothing of the two orders anymore, and he also was severely distancing himself from the Hidden Ones as of late. Theron was skeptical, what were the odds that his own mentor knew who a member of the Order of the Ancients personally? But the facts added up, so Theron accepted Amunet's mission to spy on Photios in the coming days, looking for proof that he is part of the Order of the Ancients, and if he found said proof, he had permission to kill Photios at once. Theron knew he needed help, and looked into the bright blue eyes of Aelia, and she nodded her head, for those two already had a deep connection that would only get bigger.
Tracking Coins Edit
Theron took the next few days to rest up from his mission. His legs ached as he had never ridden a horse for that long, never mind the fact that it was running like hell during the chase. He had received cuts and slashes that needed patching up, which he did with the help of his beloved Aelia. The two always were sure to spend as much free time as possible with one another, though their versions of a meet up between lovers was simply talking in the library for the Hidden Ones. Theron remembered seeing the love his parents felt for each other, or what little he still remembered, and knew he and Aelia had the same connection. However, there was a job to do, but thankfully, they could do it together. Theron and Aelia presented themselves to Amunet for her blessing to continue their mission, to which she abliged. Theron and Aelia spent the next three days on horseback making their way to Pistoria. Once they got there, Theron was once again taken aback at the amount of villas that occupied the countryside, all of them teaming with wealthy nobles to had to worry about nothing in their perfect lives. Theron also saw the common folk being used as household servants and slaves, serving food and drink for the nobles and they constant guests. Aelia also felt the same feelings, for she had grown up the daughter of a slave in the main city of Rome. Her parents never had enough time for her when she was young, so she never felt the same kind of parental love that her beloved Theron felt. That revelation only made Theron want to protect Aelia even more. Theron and Aelia eventually decided to dismount their horses and split up to find out where Photios Artemius was. The information of his appearance was described by Amunet as an old man, overweight, with graying hair, wearing a royal looking toga with a purple sash. Theron and Aelia agreed to meet up back to their horses at dusk to discuss what they had found.
Theron looked, and looked, and looked some more, but he never found anyone matching Amunet's description. All of the nobles looked eerily similar and not similar at the same time. One of the nobles would be old, but fit with a regular toga, another was too old and very frail, while another was a young man with no hair on his body whatsoever. As dusk neared, Theron started making his way back to his horse, when he noticed an eagle circling around him and seemingly calling to him. Theron didn't know what to think, but as the bird kept on circling and calling to him, Theron decided to act like a madman and follow this bird. He jumped across rooftop to rooftop, following his feathered companion, until the bird shot straight up into the air and flew away. Theron looked for a time in confusion, until he noticed Aelia looking at him from his side, trying hard to contain laughter over how foolish he had just looked. Theron laughed it off and asked Aelia what that bird was. Aelia brushed him off right away and pointed out the villa right across from the one they were on top of. Theron looked and saw a man that fit the exact description of Photios Artemius. Finally, their prey was in their sights.
- "Theron" (prounounced Th-eh-run) is Ancient Greek meaning "To Hunt."
- "Xanthos" is Ancient Greek for "Yellow."