Part 10 - A Demon Revealed
The next day, Clemens and Cosmo paid a visit to Pliny the Younger, and told him what had transpired at the Temple of Jupiter. Pliny explained that it was likely the girl was a blood sacrifice to activate the glyph. Unfortunately, when Metulis killed the girl, he likely did exactly what the sorcerer wanted.
Hybrida visited the Senatorial Library. There she found Beto Kalvus. She described the girl to him, and he remembered her. He recalled that she said her name was Ufie. His first inclination was to send her away, as the Senatorial Library was no place for a 10 year old girl. However, she began to ask him questions about history, and historical records. She proved to be far smarter and more curious than most adults, so he granted her access to the library. She had looked at a couple of texts and then was on her way.
Hybridia asked to see the books Ufie had looked at. Beto was hesitant to go fetch books for a woman, but he was not about to deny a senator’s wife. After a few minutes he returned with a text on sacred stone carvings and a military record on the Armenian War. She asked him to set those aside and she would return to look at them later.
The next day, Hybridia returned with Clemens, and they examined the books. From the one on sacred stone carving, they found the description of a stone that matched the one at the Temple of Jupiter. It seemed that when the glyph was activated, it would help draw together the scattered energy of a disparate entity help it regain physic form. It seemed that the purpose of the stone would be to try to summon Baphomet, an act that would likely destroy the city of Rome.
The next book was on the Armenian War, some 75 years ago. The 43rd Centuria, commanded by a man name Kato Vetruvious, had been hunting tribal raiders. His unit happened upon the town of Kerenda, which had recently been decimated by plaque. Most of the survivors were young children.
Then word came that several of the raiding tribes had banded together under a war master named Yergen. Yergen began systematically destroying towns, and Kerenda was next in his sights.
Kato made a request for more support from the legion to defend Kerenda. Rome did not deem a town of mostly children worth fighting for, so Kato was ordered to leave the town and rejoin the legion. Kato knew what the fate of the children would be when Yergen arrived. He refused to leave and instead, he and his Centuria decided to make a stand.
Soon Yergen’s war band arrived and prepared to attack. Kato again sent a currier to the legion, begging for assistance. The legion would have a chance to strike the war band from behind as they attacked the town.
When the attack came, Kato’s men fought hard, but were hopelessly out numbered. Ultimately, Kato and his few remaining men holed up in an old temple with the children. They held out for a couple of days, but the legion never came. Kato, his men, and all of the children were slaughtered.
Hybrida and Clemens concluded their work at the library and left. They next inquired with Rillian to see what he could learn of Kato Vetruvius. He said he would find out what he could learn.
The group met a couple of days later, along with Hermeticus and Rillian. Rillian explained that Kato was a decorated officer, one who dedicated his life to Rome. He was a brilliant strategist, and would likely have led his own legion one day, had he survived the Armenian War.
After much discussion, they concluded that there enemy was this Kato Vetruvious. Perhaps he felt betrayed by the legion when they left him and his Centuria to die in Kerenda. Perhaps now he sought to destroy Rome as an act of revenge. It seemed extreme, but it was the only motive they had.
The records said he died at Kerenda. Even if he survived, he would have to be over 100 years old today. But their last encounter with the sorcerer seemed to indicate that he was some form of demonic undead, which would explain why he had seemed not to have aged.
Could Ufie have been Opheilia’s daughter? She was clearly doing the bidding of Kato, although it seemed not by choice. She may have intentionally left the clues she did, so that Cosmo and the others could learn what was happening.
Many things were still unclear, but they knew their next course of action. They would travel to Kerenda and find the place where Kato Vetruvious “died”.