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Marcus hated living at the edge of the Empire, and had quickly come to regret moving to Armenia. At the time, it had seemed like a good idea. As a retired soldier, he'd be given a rather large tract of land he could live on and pass down to his children.
But Marcus had no children as all the local women were too ugly to even consider the act. The land, while spacious, was difficult to work, and, worst of all, being at the edge of the empire meant he was last in line for the benefits of being Roman. This was especially salient now that there were reports of nomads from the steppes coming down from across the Caucuses.
Nomads that ate the flesh of the conquered, and performed strange blood rites. Evil men whose hearts burned black with disease and death. They were subhuman scum not fit to see the splendor of the Empire.
But they were ferocious fighters, and the Legionnaires were no where to be seen. Marcus considered packing his things and heading back to the Inner Empire. Maybe signing back on with the military as a mercenary. But, for better or worse, Marcus couldn't bring himself to abandoned his hard won land, as damnable as it may be.
Early one morning, when Marcus looked out over the terrain as he did every morning, he saw them. Or, more accurately, he saw the smoke. The local township was burning, and the stench of death filled the air, carried to him by the wind.
Hurriedly, Marcus went inside to fetch his sword and armor. If he were to die this day, he'd die with a fight - with Roman honor and a Roman flame burning in his heart, but something was off. His home felt oddly alien. Everything looked the same, and everything was in the right place, but he couldn't shake the feeling of wrongness. Ignoring the sensation, he quickly put on his armor, tying the clasps tightly before reaching for his sword.