The Centurion Cycle Book Five ~ Of Shadow and Fire

Chapter Thirty~Two: Declarations

Standing in the Grand Hall of the Field Marshals Jason stood on a tall stool in the middle of the speaking circle. Gathered in the hall were his friends, those elected by the Famulus as their new Elders, while those picked among the surviving Legatio looking quite out of place in their ill-fitting red robes.

"I welcome you all," Jason said once the hall was silent. "Know I have never wished to rule the Empire I only do so now because there is no one else who can and hope to succeed. All of us bear the wounds caused to us by the Oath Breakers. Know that the guilty will be punished, but the fact remains the Empire cannot survive without its Centurions. I do not expect you all to forgive them for their crimes for they are countless but the healing must begin now if we are to survive as a people. To help erase those bad memories I am ordering the leveling of the old Legatio Quarter. It will be turned into a park in remembrance of all we have lost. As for the worst of the Oath Breakers, they will be banished to the Valley of Bones in Qul Tos where they will be kept imprisoned until their fortieth birthday where if they yet live they will be executed for the crime of consuming the anima of a Legatio. To ensure they remained imprisoned until their deaths I appoint a company of Demon Spawn as their jailers."

"Demon Spawn as jailors... that should be interesting." Marcus chuckled to Philip as Jason continued to issue punishments.

"He wishes only to convince the Legatio and Famulus that justice will be done," Philip replied.

"And he's doing a good job," Marcus said looking at the relieved expressions on the people's faces.

"Finally, as one last punishment, the names of Xavier and Armageddon are hereby forbidden. May no child in the Empire be given such accursed names from this day forth?" Jason said before stepping off his stool.

"Now here's the important part," Marcus chuckled as Jason walked behind the thrones of the Field Marshals.

"Since you now have an Emperor, many of you question the need for Field Marshals. I was born a Legatio however and the ways of war are not for me to master. I must, therefore, have trusted and well-respected men who can advise me in such matters. For my first choice as Field Marshal I reappoint Field Marshal Marcus. Though he did not come to Domus' rescue in its time of need, I believe any effort he could have made would have only resulted in a noble death. He has kept his oaths and has the loyalty of the Eastern Army. He is, therefore, the only man suitable for the role of Field Marshal of the East."

"That's my cue," Marcus said proudly as he stepped through the crowds to stand behind the eastern throne.

"As all of you know the Western army is no more and it will be many years before we can form a new one. Still, Jadoor remains our greatest enemy and must be met with a force strong enough to defeat their vast numbers so never again will we face a similar humiliation. I know of only one force capable of achieving such a task and the one man who leads it. I therefore name Philip Helios Field Marshal of the West... May his children protect us all and do us honor on the field of battle."

Trying to look surprised Philip made his way to the western throne opposite Marcus.

Going to the throne of the Home Guard Jason let out a deep sigh before speaking. "The Home Guard has been declared Oath Breakers but Domus cannot survive without them. Once the guiltiest have been removed the army will be reformed. It needs, however, to be led by the right man... a man of integrity, who values the oaths with his life. I know of a man, though not born of the Empire who came to respect and love the ways of our people, who offered sanctuary to Famulus and Centurions alike who could not stand living under Xavier's rule, and when the time came and the opportunity arose joined me to help bring down Xavier. He is the only man to have ever defeated Armageddon on the field of battle. Though I promised him the governorship of Aquanos I find I have a greater need for him here. I, therefore, apologize in advance James as I name you Field Marshal of the Home Guard."

"What?" Marcus mouthed to Philip in surprised. They had not known who Jason intended to pick, but they had assumed he would at least be a Centurion.

"Jason?" James said looking as flabbergasted as the Centurions.

"I am sorry James but I find I can't bear the idea of you being so far away from me," Jason replied, patting the man on the back.

"If you put it that way," James chuckled as he leaned over the throne to kiss Jason on the cheek.

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