Rome
Philippi

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Shall I Loot A Peach?

Meanwhile, Cassius raises his own hand, and then apologizes to Brutus. "Would you like the honor?" he asks. Dude, go for it. You've got birthday-power. Brutus tells Cassius to go ahead, and their army marches forward as well.

There's no music, just the sound of two hundred thousand boots hitting the ground, two hundred thousand sets of arms and armor moving inexorably towards one another. The camera lowers itself down into the closing gap, and then it's on. Shields clash, get pierced by swords, hit men in the face , the whole violent and brutal schmear. A man goes down with a sword in his chest, and then the hand holding the sword gets hacked off. A guy takes a sword point in the carotid, Cicero-style. A fallen man sits up from the ground, stabbing an enemy in the groin. A shell-shocked man stands staring around, helmetless, and then gets stabbed in the back. The camera rises again, and we see that this is going on for acres, if not square miles, while smoke and the inchoate din of shouting, killing, and dying men rise above the valley. It's much better than hearing about it after the fact from the Town Crier. Who, by the way, is getting his first episode off in the entire series. I almost forgot to miss him.

On the hill above the battle, Antony's having a little snack as he listens to the noise from below. Octavian asks him what's going on. "No idea," Antony says lightly, and then tosses away the remainder of his bread and draws his sword. Octavian nervously asks where he's going. "When in doubt, attack!" says Antony, galloping off with an entire cavalry unit. Octavian glances over at Agrippa, who is consumed with jealousy and champing at the bit harder than his horse is. Octavian rolls his eyes and tells his friend, "Go." Gratefully, Agrippa takes two cavalrymen and rides toward the fray.

The battle is still going on in full force, with swords piercing chain mail, denting helmets, and doing all manner of violence to flesh and steel. A man falls next to a dead horse, sending up a great red splash when he lands in a deep puddle of equine blood. It's both gross and awesome. Before long, the fighting stops and the chasing begins. Run away, run away!

A soldier rides back to Brutus and tells him that their right flank is gone. Brutus doesn't seem to think this is good news.

Out on the field, Cassius and a group of soldiers run out of a cloud of dust. Cassius observes, "Our right flank is gone! Send in the reserve cohort!" I don't know who he thinks he's telling this to, since it's just him and about twenty other guys by themselves out here right now. Just then, a flight of arrows from out of nowhere hisses into the sand at, and at least in one case through, their feet. "Testudo!" yells the Centurion at Cassius's side, dragging him back into the center of the unit as the men raise their shields skyward. They're certainly well trained, as they work like a Transformer that changes from a bunch of guys into a solid roof. More arrows come down from the sky, some of them poking holes through shields, and thence, hands and faces. After the hail of arrows stops, Cassius hollers an order in Latin and draws his sword. The men emerge from cover and advance at Cassius's order, into slow motion and frame rate and a cloud of black smoke that brings back unpleasant memories of "Pharsalus." Careful.

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Rome

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