Stakes & Fangs8(New)

“Beginning as the Emperor of Rome, and so ruler of the known world, I could earnestly boast a whole host of titles to you and impress you that way, but to be perfectly honest, I’m not really all that impressive!” …

The man is sitting in a candle-lit room, the shelves are filled with scrolls and texts, and he looks old and perhaps world-weary—like he’s already read them all, and already re-read them all by now too…

Claudius: “Everybody in the world knows it.”

Claudius: “In old age, they propped me up and made me Emperor. I was afraid for my life. I didn’t want to be the damn Emperor. I made that no secret to them, but they made me anyways. And so, around the time period of where ‘you’ people, or posterity, might call year ‘zero,’ AD, I was told to be Emperor; and so I was…”

Claudius: “…and so now it can be said that I,…Claudius; ‘Tiberius-Claudius-Caesar-Augustus’ am yet now afforded another honorary title.”

Title: ‘Claudius the god’

“It’s a title of which I’m the most genuinely proud—even though the world at large will probably never know about my involvement—if all goes according to the plan they shouldn’t—and I am nevertheless most proud, prouder maybe still because of my anonymity in it all, but it’s a secret indulgence which I have bristled with excitement many times to witness and be involved.

“…the anonymity of this magnificent work itself is for the betterment of mankind, and of restoring nature to her rightful state because we are not the source of the corruption! We know we are in the right, because we are only undoing what’s been done by others, certainly sinister forces, and as such this tampering they’ve managed to have over the course of events across history have lead to radical discrepancies in the natural timeline to where our prime directive is to undo the target points which they have gone after, and meet them in kind in a secretive battle—and any warriors we procure in our cause are sworn to strict secrecy—and new members of the ‘Temple to the Hidden Face of Janus’ join and our organization grows exponentially…

“…of what will be explained soon enough to you, contained herein: where these pages are concerned you will learn what has happened, in secret, during these periods of time, and as to what goes on to allow for this ability to move across time is particularly spectacular, and will come to be heard of soon enough, and those super-human exploits and subsequent efforts made by the people involved to save all of mankind.

“We save mankind from Hell, different Hellworlds ushered in as a result of these evil creature’s tampering. There are splintered timelines where we meet them in battle, once we eliminate the threat we establish a small presence there, but ultimately leave the time period alone to go on as it would.”

“…the title I have been granted is regarding this enterprise, which is most fascinating amongst all my duties in service to Rome…of being the Senior Officer of the ‘Janus Nexus’…”

Title: ‘The Temple of the Hidden Face of Janus.’

Janus, also known as ‘Janus Bifrons,’ or “two-faced Janus,” would be regarded by the Romans as a primordial deity…the new priesthood of the Temple to the Temple to the ‘Hidden Face of Janus’, as some of the more cult-minded Roman members like to call it, can within its halls do something that’s truly special—I’ll stop holding it back now and tell you it’s primary function: is to travel across time…”

The Apple key, Janus doorway. There are two stone faces of the god Janus right next to each other on a stone wall, the left-side face is where you place the apple.

When you get the Apple, given to you by the Janus administration, once you’ve shown yourself worthy of entry, by placing said Apple into the mouth of the left-side stone face on the wall, placing it into the mouth gaping wide like a pomegranate, will immediately trigger the Apple to roll out from the other side, causing, and rather miraculously, said Apple to have been eaten and seemingly chewed up and spit out of the adjacent mouth…

Somehow, of note, this Apple comes out of the right-side face and mouth completely chewed—down to the stem—and there is clearly a key bursting through the seams as if shoved into the Apple a little carelessly after eating it, revealing subsequently that there is a key inside of that apple and there always was…it’s just in the future….

Claudius: “The first place we traveled to, anyhow, during our course of work in the experimentation phase of this new technology, the secretive Temple of the ‘Janus Nexus,’ was far, far forward into the future and more accurately Fourteen Centuries ahead of where I stand today in year 0 AD at Rome—‘the eternal city.’

“This area or period of Time will be termed by academics of the future as—the rapidly approaching future— the 15th Century.”

Title: ‘Transylvania, 15th Century, Bran Fortress’ (maybe).

Claudius: “It was a place in my day called ‘Dacia’, a region bounded in the south by the Danube River, and to the East by the Black Sea, and a River bounded there as well.”

Claudius: “So in this area is time, far forward from the Rome I’m aware of, and into this: the 15th Century, in the land once inhabited by the ‘Dacians’, as were called in my day, and called ‘Romanian’ now,

…and some ‘Moldovan,’ and some smaller sections having a presence there called Hungarian, Polish, Serbian, Slovakian and Ukrainian.”

The mountain range at the center of Dacian territory is now called the Carpathian Mountains range, and the religion is not our Roman one, but it was yet named about the same: Romania and the religion ‘Roman Catholic’, but also they were ‘Eastern Orthodox’ which was some kind of competing brand of the same religion.”

So it would be that Rome would go on…at least in some form. I like that. Anyhow, it seems that the Dacian state arose as a tribal confederacy which was united solely by charismatic leadership. There is a symbol of the Dacian Draco that was around in my day, popular by the inhabitants of this exact region, and I find it interesting that in this day, Fourteen Centuries later, far in the future there is a kind of Dacian Draco present. His name is Vlad the Dragon.

The Principal members… The two primary characters involved in the activities of the Janus Nexus are to be, for now, to remain nameless, but I will tell you that they are an Old Man and a Young Man. They asked me privately if we could herein refer to them simply as “Old Man” and “the kid,” a request which I acquiesced to them. The duo had been on many adventures, and most of the scribes working in the Nexus details and categorized their work and the adventures recounted by them upon their return to this time period.

***(theyre both named Octavius)

Their story started during the Festival of Saturnalia around the Winter Equinox…

Title: ‘Iron Ravens.’

His older sister was Agrippina the Elder who was 14 years old at this time.

Another of our group who was also 14 years old was named Castor, and was also the son of Tiberius. Tiberius was my grandmother Livia’s son by another marriage, and Emperor of Rome at this time.

Tiberius was 42 years old at this time, and would die 37 years later.

To keep things brief, I was 10 years old at this time and wouldn’t be Emperor for 41 years, Germanicus was our senior at 15 years old, born in May, Agrippina the Elder was born in 14 BC, so she was 14 at this time, Livia Julia, “Little Livia,” was 13, and my close friend for virtually my entire life, the future king of the Hebrews Herod Agrippa, just a year older than me and so 11 years old at this time.

The trouble-maker Sejanus was born in 20 BC. Julia the Elder, Augustus’s beloved, tragic, daughter was born in October of 39 BC.

She will die in 29 AD, after 20 years in exile having been sent by her father Augustus to a tiny and remote island, she was also specifically instructed to not be buried in the Mausoleum of Augustus by the Emperor himself before he died…

(Interestingly the birth date of Livia Drusilla, the grandmother of Claudius, is split amongst scholars between 59/58 AD. Numerologically obscured, you would think the second most important person in the heights of the Roman Empire’s glory would have had her birth date more regularly documented…)

(Claudius had promised to make her a god one day, like Augustus—so as to join her husband, as well as receive what she believed was her due, for services unto the Empire rendered).

When we were kids

When we were kids our favorite thing was a comic book called ‘Iron Ravens.’ A comic book was an invention of my grandmother Livia, and it was a series of scrolls which depicted, muck like Egyptian Hieroglyphs, a series of pictures which usually involved a few of the characters of the story involved in something, and then the image will be accompanied directly by a few Roman words—the character speaking has a kind of bubble attached to himself, which will have a large Roman Numeral in the center of the dialogue bubble, or thought-box, and the text relating to the bubble or box will be either at the bottom of the page, generally if there are only a few words on the entire page (an example would be for an action-intensive scroll) the accompanying dialogue or text will be at the bottom. If it is a dialogue or text-intensive segment of the story, then the accompanying text will usually be provided on the following scroll, which is all-text.

Livia had developed this clever medium of artistic endeavor for the specific target audience of our age group. She hired some of the finest philosophers and scribes, from our Alexandrians, our Greeks, Jews, and of course our own Roman poets and authors. She had made a frenzy of new culture amongst the youth in Rome at this time, and nearly every child you saw was playing with those characters in mind—forgetting Caesar, Alexander the Great, Augustus even…but the shameful breach of our childish attentions was not known to anybody then…”

“Germanicus was the natural leader, being 15, and the most athletic and fairest of the lot of us, and so was deemed without anyone uttering a word the captain of the vessel, Lorg Iron Raven.

The crew traverses the Heavens above, and though our own Roman gods never knew about them, they had arrived finally to Earth, and they told mankind when they arrived that there were many more worlds like ours out there, and that their job was to wipe the slate clean, removing all semblances of a history, and leaving only traces and mystery on Earths, like ours, which they have tasked themselves with “resetting.”

They are anti-establishment, to say the least, and are more German, in spirit, to be honest, than Roman! It is peculiar how this comic book got so popular within the walls of Rome, and one wonders if anyone else other than Livia had written it, if they would have been left alone, un-executed, by command of Livia herself. She was a kind of propaganda minister to Augustus—but she also lead the Empire in many ways, so she was a propaganda minister for herself, and Augustus in his old age is a kind of figurehead and symbol only; Livia has the reigns of state in her capable hands—more than capable— in reality.”

Title: ‘Iron Ravens’

Germanicus: “

Claudius: “My role therein is somewhat honorary, I suppose the director is the true ‘senior officer,’ …and I am primarily concerned with only the military presence required by the Temple dedicated to the Roman god Janus. My duties in running the empire have stretched me thin, so I have allocated what I can to my trusted associates of this secretive organization.”

Claudius: “It is a deep interest of mine to know everything I can about what goes on in that temple, and I will tell you now, it is also one of the great wonders of life itself. You see, the priesthood of this particular Temple has within their midst a true miracle.

Claudius: “Anything within my power to provide the organization is theirs, like I’ve said, and Rome’s resources have indeed been made readily available to their bourgeoning enterprise.”

Claudius: “An enterprise which we have so equated with the monicker given in tribute to the deity—our exclusively Roman deity, that is—named Janus.”

…Janus, which is a ubiquitous presence within each and every home in Rome…

***Claudius briefly gets into his own history, but the first thing he brings up (after explaining the Janus Nexus) is the first place they went, upon experimenting with their find…

*** “I will start the story of my family, and the Claudian line of nobility within the history of Rome, with young Posthumous. I’ll ask my audience this: what year could be better to start a narrative than the year 0? Posthumous was 12 years old at this time. He was the youngest son of Marcus Agrippa and, hence, will sometimes be referred to as Agrippa-Posthumous m, as when some of the repetitive names of Roman families and individuals in my era may have otherwise made things a bit jumbled and confusing.

****Introduce Iron Ravens

A Dacian King increased his power in the Carpathian basin after defeating the Celts at the beginning of the 2nd Century AD. In the day of Julius Caesar the Dacian tribes in 82 BC to 44 BC were led by Burebista. He convinced the military men to give up drinking wine. He helped push the boundaries of the Dacian kingdom and conquered the Greek town of Apollonia on the Black Sea. In 53 BC Caesar had announced the Easter demarcation of the Dacian territory as being on the eastern border of the Hercynian Forest. …

A Dacian kingdom of variable size existed until the Roman final conquest in 106 AD, and after the Romans had destroyed the capital city they had added the name to that of the new city. I know that, also, after my reign my successor, Nero, will withdraw troops from the Dacian border, leaving the empire vulnerable. When Nero will be overthrown in 69 AD, the empire will be plunged into a turmoil, an escapade known as the ‘Year of the Four Emperors.’ The Dacians formed a few alliances and took the opportunity to launch and invasion.

The invasion was ill-timed. The Dacians unexpectedly encountered an army returning to Rome, led by a supporter of the Roman Vespasian, and happened to be passing at that instant in order to overthrow the Roman Vitellius. The Dacians accidentally encountered his forces and were pushing back, suffering a major defeat.

…and the Dacian kingdom died out after Roman conquest at around 106 AD, from what I was able to learn from our adventures in this time period.”

Claudius: “Like I said…I had made myself the largest backer of the organization possible, and had overseen payments to cover the costs of their essential endeavors and lent building experts to them for temples and various facilities, and continue to lend to them the best medical professionals of our age.”

If something needs getting done, you name it, and good old Claudius will get it done—if the argument is sound—as I liked to say in the law courts, and sometimes at turtle speed, but if they ever come to me in need of help I will give whatever it is within reason of course.

“It doesn’t hurt, after all, being the Emperor…that is, at least ‘some’ of the time, it can be alright.”

“The abode of the Temple of Janus is, as they say, at the limits of the Earth, and at the extremity of Heaven, according to Roman mythology. Janus presides over the beginning and the endings of all conflict.”

“As a primordial deity, this would make Saturn, or Cronus to the Greeks, one of its siblings…”

“The gate of a building dedicated to Janus, which was not a temple but merely an opened enclosure with gates at each end, were opened during times of war and then closed to mark the arrival of peace.”

“They were not closed very often.”

“Janus the god had a ubiquitous presence in religious ceremonies throughout the year.”

“As such, Janus was ritually invoked at the beginning of each ceremony, regardless of the main deity honored on any particular occasion. Starting a business venture would be a circumstance, or perhaps a Roman soldier going off to campaign, or even a gathering group of theories plotting—each of these circumstances would be appropriate to appeal to the Roman god Janus.

The ancient Greeks had no equivalent to Janus, it turns out, whom the Romans therefore claimed distinctively as their own.

While the fundamental nature of Janus is unclear, in most’s view the god functions as a kind of invocation to luck, presiding over all beginnings and transitions whatever, moral as well as otherwise; whether concrete or abstract, sacred or profane it is the duty of primordial Janus, a god of motion, to looks after passages or causes in actions to start, and to preside over all beginnings personally.

In general, Janus is at the origin of time as the guardian of the gates of Heaven: Jupiter himself is able to move back and forth because of Janus’s working…

The connection of the notions of the beginning (‘principium’), of movement, of transition (‘eundo’), and hence time, was all clearly expressed by the Roman statesman Cicero, but that was a long time ago in the story of Rome. Cicero, after all, had been a rival of Julius Caesar.

Palatine Hill – in the day of Claudius

The organization now forming at the Palatine Hill located outside of Rome was deeply disturbed by something.

…didn’t like the idea that there were now forces at play which had an ability to open portals spontaneously;

there were now understood to be at play forces, which answered to no one, and those which can open up portals, in reality like unraveling string, which can take said-agencies to any place or any time in which they choose…

He seems to be able to cross time, forward or backward, as well, unlike what we can do at the Janus Nexus,

whereas for us this ability seemed far more constrained

and the discrepancy in what we could do and what they’re able to do was a mystery that we had certainly grappled with for quite awhile during the starting phase of the organization.

The similarity between us is that we both have seemed to have come across this ability by simply stumbling upon it—as if over night we had procured this potentially utterly complicated system, and so had they, and we both Im sure felt just like children with a new play-toy, and nowhere with which to use it, not properly, so that we could actually test things, and get actually get some data slowly first and carefully.

We didn’t have time for that.

We acquired it during the invasion of the Carthaginians in the Second Punic Wars. This was Roman ancient History, even for me. It was the continued contest between the bitter and near-equally impressive rivals, Rome and Carthage, a showdown for mastery of all sea trade and routes within the Mediterranean Sea.

The portal which we had uncovered that led to the formation of the Janus Nexus was a kind of mega-portal. By a certain method we had deciphered a way in which to reach different destinations in the continuum, but at first only about fifteen.

They were already there…carved out before us, we merely tapped into them.

The mega-portal we had found had taught us little about creating new portals of our own, but it’s good this technology was not available for all of mankind, in my opinion, and we ensured that that would remain the case.

Maybe no one at all should tamper with such things, even if they believe it to be for the better…

There seems to be a great network which this mega-portal seems to be routed. It’s tentacles seemingly reach out all over the place along the continuum—but to particular, traceable coordinates, and we were able to set into fixed places and times.

The whole entity, the mega-portal from Carthage, exists all at once. It looks like a horrible tentacled monster—if one could somehow view it, in it’s totality—and thereby existing within its own space-time continuum, in a fourth-dimensional place, apart from our own, yet not completely and still yet connected like a barnacle latched to the bottom of the great whale of time.

It wasn’t any sort of ‘being’ certainly not any sentient type of organism, and the channels are being referred to here as “tentacles” only in metaphor, and it could indeed just as easily be described as a sort-of stablized, pre-existing “worm-hole” assemblage like a rhizome, grass for example, networked together by a common central mass—which is larger and resembles a creature yet merely has its root in the same location.

All of this technology had been uncovered after the systematic decimation and dismantling of Carthage, even salt was spread on its ashes, and Rome had accidentally uncovered this providential and mysterious new discovery like it was that of a curious underwater diver uncovering a deep-sea cavern during an oceanic dive.

It’s strange to consider, but none of these portals actually ‘exist,’ not in any ‘real’ sense, not until that precise moment in which it is utilized. The pattern is there, and the limitations are there. They are set in a strange sort of stone, beyond matter, and in it’s own time.

“The Carthaginian god Melqart, or Baal Hammon*?, as it is known by the Church in later times which we serve, had itself opened this mega-portal system which we were able to commandeer from them after conquering the ritual specialists of Carthage.”

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