Arcadius and Honorius sat at the feet of their father’s throne. The former kept a brave face, while his younger brother cried beside him.
Before them stood Stilicho, the Germanic general, and Rufinus, the Gallic statesman.
Stilicho looked to the crying Honorius, rolling his eyes and sighing. “A fine mess we are in.”
Rufinus gave the army commander a sharp look, before speaking in a firm yet comforting tone. “I understand your grief at the death of your father, young man. No one wishes to lose their father when they are only eleven. But the fate of the Roman Empire now rests in the hands of you and your brother.”
Arcadius’ stern gaze passed across the two men. “And you both believe any right-thinking citizen of the Empire will consider myself or my snivelling little brother as capable rulers?”
The elder men looked to each other, seeing a small gleam of ambition in the eyes of the other. After the years that their homelands had been desecrated by the megalomaniacal men of Rome, they both saw a chance to exact the revenge long overdue.