| Videssos |
|Appearance(s):|| The Misplaced Legion|
Swords of the Legion
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Nationality:||Empire of Videssos (born in Roman Republic)|
|Religion:||Agnostic, raised in Roman polytheism|
|Occupation:||Soldier, epoptes, yposevastos|
|Spouse:||Helvis (divorced), Alypia Gavras|
|Children:||Malric (stepson), Dosti, Emilia|
|Affiliations:||The Gavras dynasty (by marriage)|
Marcus Aemilius Scaurus was a Roman army commander. During the conquest of Gaul, he and his legion were magically transported to the Empire of Videssos, where he became an important figure during the reigns of the Gavrai emperors, the wars between Videssos and Yezd, and the defeat of the wizard-prince Avshar.
Marcus Scaurus had been elected a praetor in his home of Mediolanum but he had ambitions for higher office. It was customary for young men aspiring to Roman political office to have some military service and so Scaurus enlisted for Julius Caesar's campaign in Gaul, during which he obtained a rune etched longsword from a defeated druid. Thus Scaurus found himself the military tribune commanding three cohorts during a "reconnaissance in force" when they were magically transported to the Empire of Videssos sometime in year Zero+1200. His forces were set upon by a larger army of Celts under the command of Viridovix son of Drappes. As his forces were losing the battle, he engaged in single combat with Viridovix, whose sword bore the same Druidic enchantments as Marcus' own. When the blades touched a dome of light sprang into being around the surviving Romans, sweeping them, Scaurus, and Viridovix to the world of Videssos.
Upon being transported to Videssos he was able to learn the Videssian language fairly quickly, negotiating the Romans' service as mercenaries to the Videssian Emperor. The sword borne by Scaurus (as well as its twin, borne by Viridovix) had uncommon power in the world of Videssos. Every blow struck with the weapons was extra-strong, and the blades each had powerful spells of warding that protected Scaurus from even the most powerful spells. After arriving in the capital he quickly made a personal enemy of Avshar, Videssos' chief foe, by accidentally spilling wine on Avshar's robes at a palace reception. He defeated Avshar in the ensuing sword duel, and Avshar attempted to have him assassinated by a Khamorth using a blade enchanted with the spirit of a demon. He was, in a way, a reason for the declaration of the War Against the Yezda (as Avshar had killed several other Videssian soldiers while escaping from justice for his assassination attempt).
Upon the declaration of war against the Yezda, many Namdalener mercenaries arrived in the capital, and religious tensions exploded into violence which plunged the city into rioting and chaos. Scaurus and his troops went into the city to cordon the Namdaleners from the orthodox Videssians, and saved Helvis, a Namdalener woman, from being raped by bandits. Caught up in the moment they made love and rapidly entered a romantic relationship, which eventually resulted in two children.
He commanded his troops under Mavrikios Gavras during the first campaign against Yezd. On the march into Vaspurakan he met Senpat and Nevrat Sviodo Vaspurakaner scouts who later became his close friends, and fought with distinction in the first defeat at Maragha. He was one of the few Imperial officers (though he had great deal of help from Gaius Philippus) who was able to keep his command in being after the route, and the Khatrisher horse archers of Laon Pakhymer attached themselves to his command at this time, where they would remain for the remainder of the Legion series (except when Scaurus's forces were part of a larger battle). The Vaspurakaner troops under Gagik Bagratouni also attached themselves to the Romans as a maniple during this time.
In the following spring, he linked up with the forces loyal to the true Avtokrator, Thorisin Gavras, who had wintered in Vaspurakan, and was with him in Across. He crossed the Cattle-Crossing along with the rest of Thorisin's forces when Nepos and the other mages used a spell of camouflage to distract the attention of the Videssian navy, participating with his troops in the subsequent siege of the city. His troops attacked the Silver Gate during the assault, which failed, and afterwards Scaurus and his officers met with the Namdaleni, with Scaurus and others deciding to leave the Empire and live in Namdalen.
This decision was obviated as internal unrest within the city brought the Sphrantzai down, and Scaurus moved quickly with his troops to sieze the palaces. There they found Rhavas' bandits putting up a hard defense, and Scaurus figured out that Rhavas was in fact Avshar (Rhavas being an anagram of Avshar; ironically Avshar's original name was Rhavas when he was a Videssian priest).
With Thorisin restored to the throne, Scaurus was placed in charge of the bureaucrats after coming to the defense of a treasury official being grilled by the soldiers. With the vague title of "epoptes" he oversaw the imperial bureaucracy the following winter.
He advised Thorisin against using Drax to counter Baanes Onomagoulos' rebellion, which proved prescient when Drax himself rebelled after crushing Onomagoulous' troops. Scaurus was part of the force sent under command of Mertikes Zigabenos to contest Drax's control of the westlands, and participated in the defeat at the Battle of the Sangarios River. He then retreated with his troops into the hills, carrying out a campaign of guerrilla resistance to the Namdaleners, and was able to negotiate with Yavlak, a Yezda chieftain, for the return of the Namdaleners (and Zigabenos) after the Yezda defeated the Great Count's troops.
After these accomplishments, Scaurus headed for Videssos the city with his important prisoners in tow, as well as his wife Helvis, pregnant with their second child. The two had been increasingly estranged, fighting and bickering more and more often, with Helvis' deep religious faith jarring with Scaurus' skepticism, and Helvis' support for the Namdaleners conflicting with Scaurus' loyalty to Videssos. This came to a head when Helvis murdered a Roman sentry and escaped along with the prisoners, rendezvousing with a ship at the coast and travelling back to Namdalen.
This failure decreased his esteem in the eyes of Thorisin Gavras, and he was removed from field command, instead serving at his post at the head of the bureaucracy. Thorisin arrested him and Nepos gave him a truth serum, under the influence of which he confessed everything to Thorisin. When Thorisin had finished he realized the Scaurus had been honest and trustworthy from the start, allowing him to continue in his post (but still not trusting him with command).
With the betrayal of his wife and his fall from grace in the Imperial court, Scaurus entered a period of deep depression, frequently drinking himself into a stupor. His friends Senpat and Nevrat Sviodo helped him through of this troubled time in his life, and the next Midwinter's Day he met Alypia Gavra near the amphitheatre, going with her to eat at a nearby Makuraner inn, and ending up sleeping with her. The two had been mutually attracted since before Helvis left, and the relationship continued until Provhos Mourtzaphlos exposed the couple to Thorisin, who was furious at what he saw as disloyalty. In truth Marcus had no imperial ambitions but Thorisin could afford no chances, and sent Marcus to single-handedly depose Zemarkhos, the rebellious prelate of Amorion: a virtual death sentence. Gaius Philippus defied the Avtokrator and accompanied Scaurus on his journey. Against all odds, Scaurus succeeded in deposing Zemarkhos, using the defensive magic of his sword to turn Zemarkhos' hate-fuelled sorcery. Zemarkhos was killed by his own dog, and Amorion rose up in riot and chaos. Scaurus and Philippus got news of a barbarian army approaching from the west and took service with Tahmasp's trading caravan, which, against their expectations, ended up travelling to Mashiz, the very lair of the Yezda beast. When he and Philippus rescued Tabari, the Yezda Minister of Justice, he became a guest-friend of the Yezda ruler, Wulghash. He witnessed the overthrow of Wulghash by Avshar and was almost imprisoned but managed to escape through the palace's underground catacombs to the Arshaum host hiding in the hills outside the Yezda capital.
Along with the Arshaum, he made it to the Videssian border, fought in the Final Battle against the Yezda and was instrumental in the death of Avshar. By locking swords with Viridovix next to the wizard, he transported Avshar to Skotos' frozen hell.
After the climactic battle, he got married to Alypia and settled on the estate forfeited by the traitor Baanes Onomagoulos in the westlands, given to him by the Emperor. The land was broad enough for his legionaries to receive land grants as a reward for their service.
He was different from the other mercenary captains in the service of Videssos, as he admired its tradition of benign rule and its accomplishments in protecting its people from invaders. He was also a civilian administrator in Rome and thus had a better idea of the necessity of the bureaucrats than his fellow soldiers and mercenaries.