The First Chapter
The year was 216 B.C. There was a small island in the middle of the sea known as the Acopolis. For the inhabitants of this island, they were fortunate as they were overlooked by many mighty empires that had ruled many lands surrounding them at the time.
The island was ruled by a king named Julius. The queen was named Theodora. The son was known as Julius II, and he had yet to marry. Julius ruled the island with a mighty hand. No one would ever go against any decree that was made by him. The royal family was protected by the King’s Royal Army, a band of soldiers who gave their lives not only for the royal family, but also for the people of the Acopolis.
It was springtime. The people of the Acopolis were doing what they normally did throughout the course of the day, but many of them became ill. They were falling to the ground, and many of them were dying in the streets. Julius was sitting on the throne. One of the servants entered the king’s presence, and he said, “Your majesty, a sickness has come upon the land.”
Julius became concerned, and he asked, “How many ill are there?”
“Many,” said the servant. “Some have died, and more are near death.”
At that time, one of the soldiers entered and said, “Your majesty, Lars has become very ill. This sickness has overtaken him.”
Julius became concerned for Lars as he was the leader of the soldiers. He said to the servant, “Gather all the sick. Have the physicians work on a cure.”
The people infected with the illness were getting worse. As they were being gathered, many of them died. In a short period of time, every single who had acquired the illness had died. Among them was Lars, the leader of the king’s defenses.
Later that day, the bodies were gathered and burned.
The very next day, the people were gathered at the square. Julius stood in front of them, and he said, “People of the Acopolis, a great tragedy has come upon us. We had lost many people. Among them was Lars, the leader of the army of the Acopolis. The reason for this gathering is to see who among you is willing to be the leader of the army of the Acopolis. Those who want to be the leader of the army must pass a test. The one who best passes this test will be the leader of the army of the Acopolis.”
After Julius finished speaking, many people came forward and said, “I desire to be the leader of the army of the Acopolis.”
Julius replied to them saying, “You will meet here first thing in the morning. The test will begin then.”
The people went home for the day. Among those people were four men named Colius, Pulte, Saritan, and Tarsus. They signed up to become the leader of the army of the Acopolis. As Tarsus was signing up, Colius said to him, “You cannot be leader. You are nothing.”
Tarsus asked Colius, “How do you know that you would be the leader?”
Colius replied, “I am mighty. I can take down an army alone.”
Pulte replied, “I have the strength of a thousand men.”
Saritan replied, “Whatever the test is, I will pass.”
“We shall see,” said Tarsus. “It could be any of us.”
“Wrong,” replied Saritan. “It will be me.”
“Wrong,” said Pulte. “I am stronger than you.”
Tarsus said to them, “It will only be one of us. Whoever it is, I know not, but many have come forward. Do not boast about yourself. The boastful will be humbled.”
“I know one thing,” said Colius. “It will not be you.”
Tarsus just walked away leaving Colius, Pulte, and Saritan to boast among themselves.