Marcus Valerius Lexicanus (3.5e Deity)

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Symbol: A flaming sword which cuts through an unholy book.
Home Plane: Material Plane
Alignment: Lawful Good
Portfolio: Roman soldiers, paladins and those who desire the total destruction of human's evils.
Favored Weapon: Vae Victus, the longsword.

Roman-general-2998.jpg Roman historian's interpretation of Marcus Valerius. He is on the right, it appears.

(Please Note: The year numbers do not correspond to DR. They most likely correspond to Ab Urbe Condita in our world)

Marcus Valerius Lexicanus was born to King Lucius Valerius Crudelis and Queen Julia Valeria in the year 1146, in the city of Roma. Valeria died shortly after the brith, leaving Lucius devastated, as well as all of Roma. There was a national day of grief which encompassed the whole state of Latium, on the Italian Peninsula. However, Lexicanus quickly grew up into a strong, tough and intelligent young man. Lexicanus was then introduced to a young Elf, by the name of Haldor El'Anadar, and a friendship between them was quickly forged. Lexicanus' first taste of battle came at the age of 19, when he was part of a Roman force that besieged, stormed and sacked the Illyrian town of Molontos. Lexicanus came to the general's attention when he held off a determined counter-attack from the Illyrians on the walls of Molontos with only Haldor for aid. They slaughtered nearly 200 Illyrians before the rest of the Roman soldiers scaled the walls and drove away the Illyrians from the walls. When the wall had been cleared, to their amazement, the soldiers saw that Lexicanus was unscathed; there was not a single mark on him, from either sword or spear had even so much as scratched him. The soldiers celebrated this achievement, but then Lexicanus was suddenly attacked by an enraged Illyrian banner bearer, and he suffered a deep cut in his arm. Lexicanus swiftly dealt with the banner bearer, decapitating him and then kicking his headless body from the walls. The head he threw off the other side, into the town itself. The Battle of Molontos was swiftly followed by the Second Siege of Latium, which was a brutal campaign by the Drow of the Latin sub-continent of the Underdark against the rapidly-growing power of Roma. The Second Siege was not a siege in the military sense; rather it was a series of guerilla campaigns and eventual outright war between the Roman population and the Drow and their allies. Eventually, the Second Siege culminated in the enormous, brutal and bloody Battle of the Silvius River, where the Drow and the Roman Legions clashed in open battle. At the head of the Roman armies were King Lucius and Lexicanus, and Generals M'. Papirius Asinus and L. Septimus Longus. Septimus Longus was killed early on in the battle by a force of goblins that had allied with the Drow, and had ambushed the Roman left. The Romans dealt with the goblin attack, but not before Septimus Longus was struck by a thrown spear in the chest, which pierced his armour and his heart, killing him instantly. As the bodyguards watched him fall from his horse, they urged on the legionaries to continue the fight in his name; "For Roma and for Septimus" became Legio III Itulia's battle cry. In the centre, King Lucius and Lexicanus met the Drow commander, Jhulva Shadowstrider in combat. In the ensuing melee, King Lucius was killed by Jhulva, and Lexicanus was nearly overcome by Qilaste Shadowstrider. However, something inside Lexicanus snapped as he saw his father fall at Jhulva's hands. He slaughtered his way through Qilaste's bodyguards (Qilaste herself had retreated, sorely wounded by Lexicanus) and then through Jhulva' bodyguards, before finally reaching the Drow commander. She took one look at the Roman and laughed in his face and pointed to the dead King. Lexicanus was having none of it; he sliced through Jhulva's armour and then stabbed her in the chest. The Drow's last look was that of shock and horror as she watched Lexicanus withdraw his sword from the gaping wound in Jhulva's chest. The Drow commander collapsed to the ground, dead. But for all of this, the Battle of the Silvius River was not a clear victory for either side; 15,000 Romans were dead on the field, and no-one really knows how many of the evil elves fell in those six, long, bloody hours of combat. It was considered a massive victory for the Romans - they had stopped the attacks, due to Jhulva's death, but in the back of everyone's minds was the death of King Lucius. Lexicanus was approached to become King of the Romans, but he merely put it to the people. The people had had quite enough of the monarchy by now, and they demanded that Lexicanus be not a king, but a representative of the people, in an assembly. This was the first recorded mention of the Latin Senate, and Lexicanus became the nominal head of state. He was the primus inter pares, or first amongst equals. But Lexicanus never really stayed in Roma all that much - he was too busy leading her armies in the field of battle. He was made consul in 1171, at the age of 25. Normally, consuls were over the age of 30, and had served in the military and in a political office, but the people demanded that Lexicanus be made consul, and so, on the 14th of Mensis Maius (May in Common), Marcus Valerius Lexicanus was the first of the two consuls that were in power in the late 1100's of the Res Publican Era. Lexicanus was regarded by many as a true Roman; he was intelligent, skilled in war and in administration and he was a fearless leader. For the masses, he was a hero. For the senators, he was a political rival who held great power.

After the tumultuous years of 1165-1171, Lexicanus (and his friend, Haldor, who had fought with him at Molontos and throughout the Second Siege) was called into service by the Senate and People of Rome to defend them from the massed armies of the 'Rex Anglorum', which was bastardised Latin used to describe Richard IV, King of England. Richard had seen Latium as a great prize, and he wanted the riches of Latium for himself, and so, in 1176, Richard marched into Northern Italia and besieged the city of Mediolanium, which was an important fortress at the foothills of the Alpine Mountains of Europia. Lexicanus sent Haldor along with 8,000 men to assist the fortress, which had a garrison of about 7,500 men defending against a massive force of 22,000 English under Richard's direct command. Haldor and the Roman prelate of Mediolanium, Gaius Julius Magnus, marched out to attack Richard's armies in the First Battle of Mediolanium. The English were completely unprepared for a Roman attack on this scale; nearly 5,000 English died in a battle that lasted for three hours, and left Richard's armies badly bloodied. Yet for all of this, the Romans still lost a sizeable force of their own. Along with the 5,000 English dead, there were 3,500 Roman dead, which was a casualty rate that the Roman armies could not afford to sustain in an engagement of this scale. Lexicanus put the failure down to Julius Magnus, but the Roman general placed the blame at the feet of Haldor, who, Julius said, had acted rashly and with staggering incompetence as the English rallied and mounted a counter-attack. Haldor accepted the blame and was sentenced to three years without political office, which many thought was a surprisingly harsh punishment; Julius Magnus was the villain in the people's eyes. This was vindicated when Julius Magnus revealed his true allegiances - to Richard. Julius Magnus marched south and stormed the city of Arretium. Lexicanus, enraged by the 40-year old general's actions, marched north to confront him just outside the limits of Latium. The Battle of the Three Roads in 1177 was a particularly bloody battle in Lexicanus' career as consul. Lexicanus' men eventually overcame the stubborn resistance of Julius Magnus, but not without suffering grossly heavy casualties in the engagement. The Hastati-Principes-Triarii formations of Julius Magnus still had what it takes to beat the legions, but Julius Magnus' army was not professional - his soldiers had a lower level of morale in general than Lexicanus' professional armies, which contributed to Lexicanus' success in the battle, but also contributed to the staggering death toll on both sides as particularly stubborn resistance from Julius Magnus' army slaughtered many of Lexicanus' soldiers. The overall death toll from the Battle of the Three Roads was in excess of 40,000; 25,000+ from Julius Magnus, and about 15,000 from Lexicanus' army. Julius Magnus himself escaped the battle, ready to reforge his armies. He swore that he would take the fight to the very gates of Roma itself, but in a twist of fate, he was killed by a Drow assassin who escaped capture and arrived at the palace of Lexicanus, with Julius Magnus' head in her hand. She bowed and greeted Lexicanus, but would not tell him anything about herself, where she was from or why she killed Julius Magnus. All she said to him was, "We are watching, Marcus Valerius Lexicanus. If you succeed in completing your task, then you shall be elevated above and beyond mere mortality." When Lexicanus demanded an explanation, the Drow did not respond from beneath her hooded cloak, but instead turned away and left the palace.

Lexicanus pondered the message. What was this task that she had talked about? Who was she, and what did she want? All efforts to locate her came to naught. Not even Haldor knew anything about this mysterious messenger and assassin. Lexicanus decided that instead of thinking about the message, he would attempt to fulfil his goal. He marched north and retook the city with little effort. The population of Mediolanium and the remaining citizens of Arretium were heartily glad that Lexicanus had recaptured the city, and they implored him to attack the English presences in Marseille (Massilia to the Romans) and Bern (Vicus Helvetii to the Romans). Lexicanus decided he would split his armies - one splinter force would assault Massilia, and the other, led by Lexicanus, would attack Vicus Helvetii. By this time, the English armies in Marseille and Bern were beginning to suffer from an unknown affliction, rumoured to be some virulent disease that was quick to infect and even quicker to kill. In barely four weeks, 10,000 people in Marseille were dead, more than half of them English soldiers. Rumours of witchcraft and heretical beliefs spread amongst the populace, but it was discovered that there was a poison in the water supplies of Marseille and Bern, the makeup of which was never really discovered. Then, after Marseille had been ravaged by the poison, a considerable Drow army surfaced from the Underdark near Nice. The Drow captured Nice and then went on to attack Marseille, capturing the city two weeks before the Romans arrived. When the Roman army eventually did arrive in Marseille, the Drow handed over the city to the Romans and most disappeared back into the Underdark, but a sizeable contingent stayed on the surface. When asked to explain what happened, they said that they were working for a higher power that desired the Roman victory over the English forces in Marseille. However, they did not explain this 'higher power' when questioned about it.

In Bern, though, there was no Drow or outside assistance to help the Romans. Lexicanus' army, which numbered about 16,000 men, was confronted by Eadward Longbridge, Duke of Kent, and his massive force of 27,500 soldiers, most of them well-trained and funded by the coffers of the rich mines of Kent's coast. Longbridge was a skilled general; he defended the walls of Bern with a combination of heavy archers and heavy infantry to defend from attackers, and he placed several regiments of heavy infantry and spears in front of each gate to defend it from any attempt to break into the city through the gates. Lexicanus, however, had a plan that was to rely on Longbridge's defenders reacting how he wanted them to. It was a highly risky plan, but it could work if Longbridge played Lexicanus' game...

Lexicanus, at first, was content to wait and batter the walls with siege engines. Longbridge, though, was about to derail the whole plan. Longbridge sallied forth from Bern's walls and drew up his forces in formation. Lexicanus quickly formulated a new plan. Well, they say it was a plan, but in reality it was a desperate attempt to break the English on the field of battle. Lexicanus drew up his own forces, and then waited for Longbridge's response. It wasn't long coming. Longbridge's knights crashed into the Roman right wing, which forced Lexicanus' hand. The Romans closed the distance, and then engaged the English in savage hand-to-hand combat. The ferocity of the Romans surprised the English, but they fought back and inflicted heavy casualties. However, those few minutes where the English had cracked were essential for Lexicanus. He continued the meat grinder battle in the centre, and then sent out his spear detachments to guard the flanks from English cavalry, whilst Lexicanus and the Roman cavalry formed up on the English left. Longbridge was a headstrong, impetuous commander, despite his skill, and he immediately ordered the English cavalry to engage the Roman horsemen. This was a mistake that cost the English cavalry dearly, for whilst the English had the edge one-on-one, in group attacks, the Romans had a substantial advantage. The English cavalry were cut to pieces, leaving Longbridge's left flank wide open. Eventually, Lexicanus had his chance and he seized it with both hands, so to speak. He charged the English centre, and Longbridge and Lexicanus met in single combat on the final attack of the Roman cavalry into the English infantry. Lexicanus slaughtered many noble Englishmen before finally reaching the Duke of Kent. Longbridge, however, upon seeing who he was fighting, surrendered along with the remaining 8,000 Englishmen who were still fighting. Lexicanus treated Longbridge honourably, seeing him as a noble adversary and a worthy soldier. Longbridge was sentenced to death by King Richard IV for surrendering Bern to the enemy, but Longbridge, now the Duke of Umbria as opposed to Duke of Kent, said that "I am no longer an Englishman. I am a Roman, and in God's name, I shall stay that way. The King of England has no authority over me; I answer to one man and one man only, and he is Marcus Valerius Lexicanus."

Lexicanus was visited again by the Drow in 1179. At this point, Lexicanus was 33, and he was now married to Lucia Valeria Nobila, a high-ranking Roman noblewoman who was aged 24. The 9-year age difference was no barrier to the relationship, and Lexicanus had a son with Lucia in 1178, whom they named Manius Valerius Britannicus, after the Latin name for the British Isles. Manius was a year old by the time the Drow visited in Martius 1179, again with a message for Lexicanus. It was the same messenger, and she finally divulged information that Lexicanus wanted: The goal for Lexicanus was total control of the Italian peninsula and the securing of Rome's borders. Lexicanus responded that he had done so, but the Drow said that he was not finished; the Romans needed to expel the Norman presence from the south of Italia, which had only just arrived. Lexicanus, in turn, said he had not received such word, but just as he finished the sentence, a messenger from Rhegium burst in, saying that the Sicilian knights under Roger I had captured the Straits of Messina and had taken Rhegium. The Normans had also taken Tarentum by siege, and they were expanding outwards. Lexicanus swore that the Sicilians would pay for their arrogant ways in attacking the south of Italy. He also realised that the major powerbases of Arpium and Capua were under threat, and so he sent Brutus Cassius to Arpium to raise an army to attack the Normans in Bruttium, and he sent Tiberius Constantius to Capua to bolster the defences around Campania. Lexicanus decided to see if the new Duke of Umbria was worthy of his title, and so he sent Longbridge south with a force of 10,000 to investigate the Norman presence around Rhegium. Longbridge proved loyal to Lexicanus, and he found the army of King Roger I marching along the road between Rhegium and Capua. The Battle of the Highway was fought the next day, between the Duke of Umbria and the King of Sicily. The battle was, like most Roman confrontations, very bloody, but the Romans suffered comparatively few casualties, thanks to Longbridge's new tactic of attacking from unexpected angles and his unpredictable manoeuvring, and Roger lost about 6,500 men in the battle, whereas Longbridge lost a mere 1,250 men thanks to his tactics. Roger himself was killed in the battle, dragged off his horse and slain by a Roman legionary. The Sicilians had been dealt a heavy blow with the death of King Roger, and they retreated to Rhegium, where they mustered a force of 4,000 to match the 4,000 that had been able to retreat from the Battle of the Highway. With a combined force of 8,000, the Sicilians felt as if they were ready to fight the 8,500 men of the Duke of Umbria. However, Lexicanus had determined that the Sicilians were weakest without their supplies from Sicily, and sent Admiral Titus Flavius Callidus to blockade the port of Rhegium. Then, Lexicanus led out the whole of Legio I Italica against the Sicilians, cutting them off completely, and launching a two-pronged attack on Rhegium.


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