The Massing of an ArmyLinet was tired of being told what to do time and time again by the many tutors her father hired for her. She was the princess after all, and her father's heir at that! But as she looked out upon the bustling streets before her, she realized that he didn't need to be told that she couldn't do something just because she was a girl. Linet could do anything she wanted to! She would show those men that thought the world revolved around them and all girls could possibly do in life was knit and sew.
She looked out from her hiding place in the shade and noticed that there were less guards than usual on patrol. My father or brother must have found an intruder or something, Linet thought to herself. But just in case, I should go check what is the matter. My father's life could be in danger, after all. So Linet casually walked to her brother’s barracks.
As she came into view, the guard patrolling the outer wall of the tower yelled "Halt, who goes there?!"
She replied, "It is I, Princess Linet. Let me pass, I wish to inform the captain of the guard of something that has troubled me greatly." It looked for a moment that the guard wasn't going to let her inside, but then he thought better of it and reluctantly raised the gate to let her pass.
As soon as Linet walked through the gate, the strong and unpleasant odor of sweaty men hit her like a wall. Ew! I have to get out of here as soon as I can, and I am not going to spend another second than necessary in this dump. I can’t imagine how my brother can stand the stench of this place all day. Linet thought to herself. She shook herself from the depths of her mind and realized that the captain of the guard was speaking to her. "I am sorry, what were you saying brother?"
"I was merely asking what it is you are doing here. The gate guard said that you were here to talk about an urgent matter, so what is it?"
"Oh, right. I noticed that there were a lack of guards on patrol today. Is there a reason for that?"
"Yes, of corse. My men were delivering an intruder to the barrack dungeons. You shouldn't worry too much about it."
"Yes, I just thought that it could be something important. Can you take me to see the prisoner please? I am most interested to know how he made his way into the city at all."
The captain just shook his head. This was how Linet acted all the time, so it was to be expected. She made everything that happened in Athens her business just because her daddy was the emperor. That couldn't be helped, but it would do her good every once in a while to remember that the emperor was his father too. He just led her down to the dungeons to interrogate the prisoner.
"Who are you?" Linet looked into his eyes as she spoke, desperately trying to find out everything she could about him. "My name is Linet, and I merely would like to know yours."
He gazed up at her through the bars of his cell, as if trying to figure out what her motives were and how much to tell her. After the longest time he replied, "If you do not recognize my uniform, you are more stupid than I realized. You should learn to respect the uniform, as it is probably the last one you'll see in this lifetime. I am but the first of almost five-thousand men wearing this uniform and heading this way. You'll see, the tide will turn, and you will be the one in the cell before too long." The man laughed hysterically at this, and his eyes gleamed with the crazed glow of the newly insane. Linet left him for the captain to sort out and set out to the palace to warn her father of the danger.
She arrived at the palace just in time. It appeared that her father was about to go hunting. "Wait! Father don't go, I need to tell you something!"
"What is it Linet?" He yelled back from across the courtyard. "I am just getting ready to leave for my weekly hunting trip."
Linet finally arrived at her father's side. "Father, I beg you not to go. There is an extreme danger about. An intruder was found inside the perimeter this morning. He did not reveal his identity but he did say that there is a host of almost five-thousand men preparing to lay siege to our city."
Her father’s eyes gleamed as he thought of the upcoming battle. He then became very serious, saying,"We will ready the siege weapons and prepare to fight for our lives. Linet, swear to me that this isn't one of your tricks. It is a serious matter when the safety of our citizens become jeopardized."
"I swear I am telling the truth. I wouldn't joke about something this serious." As soon as she finished speaking the warning bell sounded. She and her father exchanged worried glances and sprinted in the direction of the barracks.
When Captain Theseus spotted Emperor Aegeus and Linet, he hurried over to them. "The situation has only gotten worse. It seems that the prisoner spoke the truth, sadly. Enemy troops have been gathering in front of the city all day. It appears that they are preparing to make siege to it. I have no idea who they are, but you might, father if you see their banners. Come, I will show you a place I know of with a good view of the army’s stronghold.
So the threesome headed towards the tallest tower in the city of Athens. From their perch in the sky the Athenian royal family gazed down at the massive army before them. "There's no way we'll hold out for long." The emperor said in despair. "We need to think of something, some way we could possibly defeat them. I do recognize their banners, and I fear they will not be defeated easily. What we look upon is the great army of Rome. Their leader, if I am not mistaken, is the great general Marcus Brutus."
"Father," Linet replied calmingly. "We are strong, and we will find a way to defeat the Romans. No matter what, we will find a way. Although I know both of you will be against the idea, I think that if I lead a quest to Sparta, I can gather together the most worthy of heroes to come aid our cause. I will gather the quest members together so that we can set off right away to Sparta, where I am told the great King Leonidas the First is ruling.”
“But nothing, Father. There is no reason to fear the Romans, and I can deal with this Marcus Brutus, just give me some time.”
Emperor Aegeus glanced worriedly down at the red banners with SPQR embroidered on them. “Take as much time as you need, but beware. The city will not hold out for long. We will try to give you as much time as we can, but in the end it is up to you.” He met his daughter’s determined gray eyes. “Do what you must.”
As the three of them contemplated this for a moment, a horn sounded from below. Startled, Linet and her family looked in the direction in which it was coming from. A single man stepped forward and yelled, “King Aegeus, we will meet in the morn, when the sun is at it’s highest point in the sky under a flag of truce. Send a messenger to tell me if you agree. I will be waiting.” With that, Marcus Brutus, for it was he, melted back among the sea of soldiers.
The Athenian royal family looked at each other in shock, until Linet spoke and broke the silence. “Father, this could be the opportunity we have been waiting for. I could pose as the messenger and get close to Marcus Brutus. Maybe I can convince him to somehow delay or stop his attack. My face is not known to the Romans, or even some of the Athenian court, so I won’t be caught. Perhaps my brother can lead that quest to Sparta in my place, so should I fail the city will not fall. Please Father, I must do this.”
Glancing worriedly at his daughter, Aegeus finally agreed. “Very well, I can see it is what is best for the kingdom. Be safe, my daughter, and may the gods watch over you. Both of you.”
She glanced determinedly at Marcus Brutus’s army, and then back at her father. “I can do this.” Linet then hugged her brother and father, and sprinted in the direction of the servant’s quarters, as that was the best place to find a messenger’s uniform.
Linet changed quickly and was soon on her way out of the city on a black stallion. Galloping into the midst of her enemy’s army, she soon found Marcus Brutus’s tent.