The Lost Legion

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The Lost Legion

THE LOST LEGION

The End of the Road From Rome

13 x 1 hour series for television

Table of contents

Episodes

  • Episode One The Last Emperor
  • Episode Two Sins of the Father
  • Episode Three The Traitor’s Life
  • Episode Four The New Governor
  • Episode Five The Bonds of Blood
  • Episode Six The Wrath of the Goths
  • Episode Seven The Poisoned Pill
  • Episode Eight The Secret Benefactor
  • Episode Nine The Gifts of the Patrician King
  • Episode Ten The Devil’s Kingmaker
  • Episode Eleven The Wish at Death’s Door
  • Episode Twelve The King’s Whore
  • Episode Thirteen All the Good Wives

Season One

A NEW SERIES FOR THE FAN OF ROMAN HISTORY

Bible sounds a bit lofty. Let’s call this instead the series handbook. It’s intended to define the boundaries and the possibilities, to establish the look, the feel and the tone of the show, the characters who inhabit it and the elements that will drive it through the first season and beyond. It addresses creative, structural and storytelling issues, and realities that, as with any show, will impose their own kind of boundaries. If not the complete blueprint, it’s hopefully a clear enough reference to convey all of the important “architectural” and dramatic features of the series. The detailed crafting and the specific breakdown of the episodes will emerge from the collaborative efforts of “the writers’ room”, using the guiding tenets in these pages.

Enjoy the read but please be aware that it is “R” rated.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Ask any European about his or her origins and depending where he or she lives, you will be presented with usually a story or quote about some mythical king from the Dark Ages, or some religious zealot who brought some Godly writings to the continent, however en large they miss one of the most interesting and fascinating periods of their history, their interaction with Ancient Rome.

Once it was said that ‘All roads lead to Rome’ but by 475 A.D. as the Roman Empire fell into decline, the roads that came from the outlying fringes of that empire were badly in need of repair, repair that would never come.

The Lost Legion ‘The End of the Road From Rome’ has been created in the style of “Spartacus - Blood and Sand and Gods of the Arena” but with some fascinating twists. The story takes place in a far flung outpost of the e Roman Empire almost 500 years later, for it was here, that the first dark portents of the Decline and Fall of that Empire were felt.

The Roman chronicles speak of fortresses north of the Danube all the way to the proximity of the Rhine and beyond. It is in one of such posts where much of our story takes place. Many archaeological investigations indicate that these fortresses had, at least the trappings of a so-called ‘civilization’ including public baths, central heating and a well equipped dispensary and surgery for the wounded. Being so far from any central authority, fortress towns like that have become small kingdoms in their own right where decadence and corruption thrived.

It is in this setting, that we tell the story of a group of people, complex in personality, and purpose, whose interwoven lives, and the almost inevitable and sometimes violent confrontations between them are about to begin.

The story is set in the Fifth Century. At that time, the northern Roman border had extended to Pannonia, which is today Austria and Southern Germany. Towns had been built north of the Danube and all the way around the mighty Rhine river into today’s Germany. It is in any one of these outposts, that our story could take place. Our walled City of maybe 10,000 souls is fictitious, but history shows that at the fringes of Roman Empire such cities numbered in the dozens. In one of them our stories take place.

This huge area had been then predominantly occupied by Suevi tribes, and to their north and west, were the Rugi tribes. Both tribes were under intense pressure from the Amal Goths, who resided on what is today’s Hungarian plains to the east. All of these tribes were in frequent conflict with each other and also were sometimes allies of the Romans. The Romans themselves were frequently in brutal wars with the Amal Goths, the Suevi and the Rugi. These historical conflicts and alliances give our story its historically realistic background.

Eventually the Amal Goths not only swept away both the Suevi and Rugi from the area but under their leader Theoderic at about 493 AD, drove the Romans from Central and Western Europe as well, driving the final nail into the coffin of the Roman Empire and directly causing the descent of Europe into the Dark Ages. Our story takes place about fifeen years prior to the beginning of that period that starts the Dark Ages, and which may become the subj ect of another series.

THE PLAYERS AND CHARACTERS

Throughout the series we meet, love or hate many characters. Some are fictitious and were created to make our stories to evoke emotions, yet others are real characters from ancient history. This seamless and exciting blend of both real and fictitious players gives our series the drama, the action, the conflicts and the debauchery and violence of the times and a strong factor of reality.

FICTITIOUS CHARACTERS

Maximus Antonius Albanis, the leader (‘Dux’) of a rag tag assortment of frontier troops left from once glorious Tenth legion and the main antagonist of our series. Powerful, debauched and insane, his aspirations include the imperial throne of Rome the rooting out of traitors. He is hated and feared almost by all.

Urbina Prima, beautiful but a shrewd and spiteful noble Roman woman, wife of Maximus Antonius Albanis, and the widow of the patrician Roman general of a mixed but powerful ancestry, Flavius Ricimer. Her evil and debauchery exceeds even that of her husband.

Argos Sertorius, a former Goth now “more Roman then the Romans”, is a deputy to Maximus and the lover to his wife, Urbina Prima, was brought up in a Roman environment as a child, part of the great migration ahead of the hordes of Attila the Hun. A brutish and scheming character whose only goals, beside replacing Maximus and fornicating with his wife and many of his slaves, is to maximize profits from his silver mines.

Taranis Maldras, the hero of our series. He is the son of Suevi tribal leader, seeking protection of the Roman garrison from the encroaching Amal Goths. His heroic character shows our viewers that it was not all decadence and pure evil in the Roman times. His complex character gives us hope. He is forced to work with the Romans in order to save his abducted wife Gisa.

Gisa, from the Rugi tribe, is the young and pretty wife of Taranis, hopeful that her marriage resulting in a union of Rugi and Suevi would strengthen both tribes’ position against the Amal Goths, distrustful of Romans and Maximus. Abducted by Argos and given to the Amal King as gift, she is the constant motive for goodness of Taranis.

Cassius Ricimer Albanis, 17 year old son of Urbina Prima and the late General Flavius Ricimer a usurper emperor with the shortest tenure on the purple throne ever.

Nora, a beautiful daughter of a Roman noble executed by Maximus for treason and enslaved into the evil and debauched hands of Urbina Prima. Friend and eventual love interest of Taranis.

Claudia, a young pretty widow of a Praetorian General executed by Emperor Nepos and the cousin of Urbina Prima. Scheming and dangerous, and even more lustful then her cousin, she becomes Urbina’s nemesis.

Priscus, a warrior of the Sciri tribe and an Ambassador at the court of Orestes the “Kingmaker of Italy”. Schemer in his own right, he plans the demise of Maximus and Urbina with the help of his secret lover Claudia.

There are many other fictitious dramatic characters appearing amongst the exiting individu al episodes.

TRUE HISTORICAL CHARACTERS

Valemar, King of the Amal Goths. Cruel and powerful, yet fair to those whom he considers his allies and a true nemesis of the Romans and of Maximus. In history, Valemar united many groups of various Gothic tribes into a large Ostrogothic Nation super group. He died in battle somewhere in Northern Pannonia. In our story, he is killed during the attack at our walled city at the hands of Argos.

Theoderic the Amal, Valemar’s nephew and the future king of Italy. In our story he is the new “husband” of Taranis’ abducted wife Gisa and a warrior in his own right. After the death of his uncle Valemar, he continued the Ostrogothic expansion all the way into Italy where he executed Odovacar, then known as “The Patrician King of Italy”. Theoderic ruled many years ( long after the ending period of time in our series). It is said of him, that with his emphasis on war and his dislike of any learning, he was the “author and the cause” of what is referred to as Dark Ages.

Flavius Ricimer, the first husband of Urbina Prima and the father of Cassius, a Roman general of mixed Roman and Barbarian ancestry. He became so powerful that he deposed and executed the Emperor Majorian. He only figures in our stories as a background character. He died peacefully in his sleep, a rare occurrence in those times.

Julius Nepos, a Roman emperor, deposed by Orestes and later murdered by unknown assassins.

Orestes, a wealthy Pannonian landowner, employed the Huns as an Ambassador to Constantinople. Orestes came to Italy after the death of Ricimer and became very influential. He is referred to as “The Kingmaker of Italy”. He deposed Emperor Nepos, but did not execute him. Orestes appointed his own son Romulus an Emperor, (referred to as Romulus Augustulus, the Little Augustus). Both the father Orestes and the son Romulus were executed by Odovacar a year later.

Romulus Augustulus, son of Orestes and the last western Roman emperor. Deposed and executed by Odovacar.

Odovacar, a prince of a Sciri tribe and Priscus’ liege Lord. Eventually, he did unite the Sciris and what was left of the Huns and by bribing and giving lands and wealth to Roman soldiers in Italy, he got them to come over to his side. He deposed Romulus Augustulus and along with his father Orestes executed them both. To avoid the wrath (and the duty to interfere) of the eastern Roman emperor Zenos for creating another usurper emperor ,Odovacar instead sent to him all imperial regalia and declaring that the western Roman empire is no more. The ruse worked, Zenos accepted the status quo. Odovacar then ruled Italy as king until Theoderic the Amal deposed and executed him 15 years later.

The story opens with an armed group of Suevi warriors headed by their Elder Chieftain and the Father of our hero Taranis on the way to celebrate Taranis’ marriage to the beautiful Rugi princess Gisa. The group is attacked by a horde of Amal Goths in the service of “The Scourge of Europe” at that time, the Amal king Valemar. After a fierce battle the Amals withdraw defeated, but Taranis’ father is killed and thus unwittingly Taranis becomes the new chief of the Suevi tribe. We then encounter Argos, the head trainer of the Xth legion , in a passionate encounter with Urbina Prima a widow of a Roman “kingmaker” Flavius Ricimer, but now the wife the Commander (Dux) of the Xth legion Maximus Antonius Albanis. The legion is posted in a walled city in what is now the fringe of Western Europe just north of Danube river, then a Northern Roman province of Pannonia. Both are utterly given to their passion with the assistance of some slave women. The brutal sex they are engaged in however does not stop either of them in plotting the death of Urbina’s husband Maximus and the assent of her teenage son by Flavius Ricimer to the throne the Roman Empire, a move which Maximus opposes.

While his wife is cuckolding him, Maximus is visited by an Ambassador from the Amal King Valemar. The Ambassador Theobald, accuses Maximus of cowardice, yet offers him peace and security. In turn Maximus must not only disarm his legion but also allow Valemar’s armies to invade the Central plains of Italy and receive many pounds of gold and silver. To adan insult to injury Theobald presents Maximus with the rotting head of the former garrison commander and Maximus’ predecessor who died in a losing battle with the Amals. This ugly edifice full of maggots, worms and with desiccated eye sockets running puss when Maximus squeezes them with his thumbs, has an opposing effect then intended. Instead of shudder in fear Maximus beats Theobald to death with the scull mixing the scull’s brain matter with that of Theobald’s. After killing the Ambassador, Maximus quickly realizes that h is legion and he, needs to avoid the fate of his predecessor. How? His legion must be trained not in the classical Roman way as Argos does but in more sly and rough as the “barbarians” do. He has heard of Taranis and the defeat of the Amals in his hands an d invites Taranis to become his new trainer the “Dottore”. After some hard negotiating, Taranis agrees to train the legion. Argos and Urbina soon discover that Argos has been replaced and their plot has a new enemy- Taranis. They realize that they need to rid themselves of Taranis fast. Argos and his selected group of warriors will attack Taranis’ village dressed as Amals and kill him. However, Argos fails in killing Taranis who is not present when the “phony” Amal attack happens, yet Argos succeeds in not only killing many Suevi but also by abducting Taranis’ bellowed wife Gisa. But this is NOT enough for Urbina and she chastises Argos severely for this failure and as a punishment for him she weaves an elaborate plot where Argos must go and see Valemar himself and solicit his help. Argos for his failure takes a revenge on Taranis’ wife Gisa whom he assaults in front of Urbina. Urbina’s debauched senses edges Argos on. While Argos is negotiating with Valemar, Taranis begs Maximus to allow him to take some troops and free Gisa from the Amals. Maximus of course denies this but promises Taranis that once his training shows sufficient improvements in the legion fighting spirit and technique he will authorize the war against Valemar and his Goths. Taranis then ca n save his Gisa. Taranis has no other option then wait. He of course does not know that Gisa was all this time kept by Argos, and does not know that during his recent visit to Valemar Argos gave Gisa to him as a gift. Valemar in turn gave her to his nephew Theoderic as a concubine wife. More conflict develops between Maximus and Urbina when Maximus finds out that Urbina paid five hundred pounds of silver to Ricimer’s successor and the current leading warlord in Italy Orestes, to depose the current Roman Emperor Nepos and thus make a room on the thorne for her son Cassius Ricimer Albanis. Maximus paranoid of being executed as a traitor by Nepos takes his anger out not only on Urbina, but also on Urbina’s son whom he sends to Taranis to be hardened as a soldier and to become a fodder for the Amal steel and not for a purple toga of a Roman emperor. Taranis is forced to oblige and slowly, from a spoiled and effeminate teenager, he starts to create a young soldier and to a degree Taranis’s friend. When a messenger arrives from Orestes announcing that Nepos has been deposed and is on the run. Maximus is finally starting to see that he, as a step father of an emperor can be defacto emperor himself due to his stepson’s youth and obvious effeminacy. He finally supp orts Cassius’ accession to the throne with all his might. What of course Maximus does not know, that Argos promised to Valemar Maximus’ head, as soon as Cassius becomes the emperor, he (Argos) the new Dux and Urbina his wife. Both Urbina and Argos will kee p their promise to Valemar. Maximus will be executed. Soon all is ready to have Cassius declared the emperor. After all :”It’s the boy’s birthday” declares Maximus. A lavish ceremony is being held in the city with all participating in the celebrations and all are “friends” again. Maximus as the Dux and the step father of the new emperor to be, is about to declare Cassius the emperor, when he asks Cassius to adopt him as his son. Cassius after some hesitation does so and in front of all assembly declares Ma ximus his adopted son. Maximus is touched and promptly declares Cassius the Emperor to the cheers of all present. The even quicker kills him using the ceremonial sword. He then declares himself an emperor being a lawful son and heir of the dead one. Urbina is thrown into a slavery at the mines and Argos, who did betray all to Maximus, becomes the winner of the whole struggle and the emperor Maximus’ right hand man. Taranis accused of treason for befriending Cassius and jumping to his defense as he was being killed, will be given to Valemar to be sacrificed for killing Valemar’s Ambassador. Argos have set all that up earlier. Given to Valemar Taranis finally sees his wife Gisa now very pregnant by Theoderic. Taranis professes his undying love to her, but Gis a must reject him to save her life and the life of the child she is carrying. She also saves Taranis’ life by swearing to Valemar that Taranis was with her when the Ambassador was murdered. Valemar then releases Taranis to go and seek his revenge.

A Final Word

The key to the series’ success is that we respect that an audience who has been weaned on some very successful cable series such as the recent Spartacus Blood and Sand, Gods of the Arena and even some epic undertakings such as Games of Thrones, will find in The Lost Legion series as much, if not more originality, high production values, a superb cast and above all skillfully crafted, twisted yet understandable stories which will rivet each viewer to his or her seat each week, yearning for the next episode. We have created completely original stories differing from many others, however that doesn’t mean we can’t or should not learn from what makes those work, because the key to success is learning from success and that then is the fundamental verity in the creation of The Lost Legion, a world of love and war. Powerful, engaging storytelling, likeable heroes and “despicable” villains, beautiful maidens and just as beautiful, but reviled villainesses are key to engaging the audience week after week. Most of all, we must and will transport viewers to a place which they will want to return to again and again even though they may fear its brutality, they are drawn to learn and see it through to its conclusion.



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