The Die is Cast

A cool mist rose from the slow-moving waters of the Rubicon. On the north bank of the river was Gaul and the legion of Gaius Julius Ceasar. To the south was Italy Proper and the seat of Roman power. The river was a dividing line: one that was forbidden to be crossed by any general leading forces. To cross would mean civil war.

The faces of the legion were stoic, unchanging; they stared blankly across the water and towards Rome, but their minds were all focused on the same thing. Would their general lead them across, would he order them to attack their homeland and wage war on their brethren? Or would their march end here?

Ceasar was more than aware of the misgivings of his soldiers. But he was also confident in their loyalty. He had depended on them to follow him as much as they had depended on him to lead them. Thus was the bond and the way of Legio XII Gemina and its leader. Ceasar knew, if he crossed, the world of Rome would collapse as he knew it and a war like none ever seen before would follow. The support he had was sufficient, and he was almost certain that, at the end of the bloodshed, he would emerge victor. This is what he deserved, and he expected no less.

A ray of sunlight broke through the cold mist, and when Caesar looked up toward the skies, an eagle eclipsed the sun, casting its shadow upon the river. The legion needed no more sign, and their doubts were almost instantly dispersed.

Julius Caesar took the first step into the river, breaking the mirrored surface.

“Alea iacta est.” He said. The die is cast. His eyes focused on the capital of the greatest empire that ever stood, less than six days march away. He would hobble the very empire he was born to serve and lived to protect; and this step would become the fall of the Republic of Rome and the rise of the Roman Empire. As he continued to wade forward, and the water churned as the legion followed, Caesar’s gaze never broke from Rome.

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