[4:21] [Instrumental]

Spring, 196 AD (C.E.)

CENTURION DECIANUS VARUS: Alea iacta est! Emperor Publius Helvius Pertinax has fallen victim to the assassin's blade. As I stand gazing out across the massed ranks of our Pannonian legions, Septimus Severus duly strives to consolidate his newly acquired control of the Empire. Pescennius Niger is slain, his forces expelled from Cyzicus, Nicaea and Issus, and yet Clodius Albinus has sailed from Britannia and is raising an army in Gaul in his own bid to seize the throne. Severus intends to engage that northern host at Lugdunum once his campaigns here in the east are concluded. Behold Byzantium! We now prepare to lay siege to this ancient and splendoured city. Strangely, the order has been given that the Byzantine library is to be searched thoroughly following our victory. Rumour has it that Severus's aged soothsayer Angsaar is searching for a collection of arcane scrolls said to be of the utmost importance, scrolls which are reputed to be hidden somewhere here in Byzantium. Something about that wizened old shaman unnerves me... there is something strangely unnatural about him, something... sinister. Feh! What are those scrolls supposed to be called again? Ah yes, The Chthonic Chronicles...